THE body charged with managing Oxford’s waterways has come under fire for failing to move on illegally-moored boat dwellers.

In June, a group calling themselves “Friends of Castle Mill Stream” took over a 100-yard stretch of Oxford Canal’s banks.

They said it was unregistrered land and they were claiming it as their private property.

The Canal & River Trust has said it is seeking to clarify land ownership, then try to obtain a court order to get the land back. The Land Registry describes unregistered land as “a complex area of law”.

Its guidance said that all land is owned by someone, but it is possible to claim unregistered land by occupying it for at least 12 years without permission.

Susanna Pressel, who is a member of Jericho and Osney for Oxford City Council, said: “I am very cross about this and so are a lot of residents.

“They said they were dealing with it but it is grinding through their legal department.”

The trust’s Neil Owen told her in an email on July 13: “We are still resolving the ownership issue through our legal team.

“This is coming to completion at the moment, at which time we can then resolve the other issues via a court order.”

The trust had yet to comment further when contacted by the Oxford Mail last night.

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