Agencies try to confirm owner of canal land

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First published in News

TWO authorities have failed to stop boat dwellers occuyping canal land illegally because they cannot decide who owns it.

The Canal & River Trust (CRT), the waterways body which replaced British Waterways in 2012, and Network Rail said ownership of land beside Castle Mill Stream, in Jericho, had changed hands in 2000.

That is problematic because neither of the bodies existed before 2002, Network Rail spokeswoman Victoria Bradley said.

She said: “We are trying to clarify ownership of this land.

“We believe that in 2000 the ownership changed, which is why we are trying to establish with the CRT who owns the land.

“Changes in land ownership happen because sometimes we give or sell pieces of land to other organisations.

“The issue may take a little while to investigate.”

Sarah Rudy, from the Canal & River Trust added: “We are working with Network Rail.”

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

Arguing it was unregistered land, they roped it off with signs claiming it as private property.

The CRT said it will seek a court order to get the land back, but only once the issue of ownership is resolved. The Environment Agency would be responsible for the eviction, it added.

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