RESIDENTS say they are worried about another attempt by boat owners to grab land alongside waterways in the city.

People living in Abbey Road backing on to the River Thames, near Botley Road, say they have had leaflets claiming that the land is unregistered and so therefore open for boaters to create mooring points.

They said an area was roped off on Thursday and yellow paint was also used on the grass. The group is believed to be the same which in June claimed land off the banks of Castle Mill Stream, in Jericho.

A spokesman for the group was not available for comment but one member said they wished to remain anonymous because they had “received threats”.

On a note tied to ropes, the boaters wrote: “Communities Land and Boat Organisation has claimed this land to be owned...for local communities both afloat and ashore to assure its future environment protection and location to residential boaters.”

They have not yet moored at the site, but Christopher Gasson, of Abbey Road, said they are concerned the situation at Castle Mill Stream could be repeated.

He said: “I was out for a morning run on Thursday and there was this rope starting from by Cripley Place right up to where the bridge is. Attached to the rope was a notice saying the land was being claimed by the Communities Land Organisation for the benefit of boat users and residents. And on Saturday one of my neighbours saw some guys come round and measure plots and spray some of the land with yellow paint.”

Someone took down the ropes soon afterwards, he said, but residents met over the weekend to discuss what their response would be.

Mr Gasson added: “People feel very strongly about this but we will have to wait and see if something happens.

“The section that has been grabbed at Castle Mill Stream is slightly different, because you can’t see the boats from the path as easily, whereas this is something that will put boats right at the bottom of our gardens. Some people here are worried that will bring with it the prospect of all sorts of noise and nuisances.”

Mr Gasson claimed that Oxford University college Christ Church owns the land.

He called on its officials to help remove any boaters.

He said: “They have not historically claimed the land and that has made it easy for people to come along and squat on it.”

But a college spokesman said that although it owned “a number of properties”, and associated land in the Abbey Road area, it did not own the riverbank.

Christ Church treasurer James Lawry told the Oxford Mail: “We do not own the land, someone else does, although we do own a number of properties in the area around Abbey Road.

“There is nothing we can do about boaters parking their boats there.”

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