Would Inspector Morse have caught all those baddies if his Jag had kept getting stuck behind tourist buses in St Giles’? Would J.R.R. Tolkien have dreamed up Middle Earth if his muse had had to compete with the wheeze of a 75-seater idling outside his house in Northmoor Road? Would Harry Potter have made it up the steps to Christ Church Hall on a busy day in summer, or would he have given up and flown home to Privet Drive?

More seriously, is it safe for our children to share the cycle lanes in St Giles’ with tourist coaches?

I have recently had the pleasure and honour of chairing a cross-party City Council review into tourism in Oxford. We heard from a wide variety of stakeholders, professionals and residents alike, and looked in detail into the sometimes conflicting pressures on our beautiful old city. We looked at historic cities across the country with similar issues to ours. We found a number of key threads, and have made a series of recommendations.

Perhaps the most visible instance of current failure is around coach management. The heavily-used drop-off in St Giles’ is just not fit for purpose. Asking coaches to move on, without giving them somewhere suitable to move to, just leads to them parking up on residential streets and all sorts of other unsuitable locations. Our review calls for proper thought to be given to two things: drop-off points and lay-over locations, now and in the future.

We talked about wayfinding: too many tourists, especially large groups, move around our city in ways which suit neither them nor us. Signage is not great.

We looked at the overnight versus the day trade, including how to encourage more people to stay, how to capture the benefits of that for the city as a whole, and how to deal with new developments like the short-let market.

Crucially, we looked at the work of our excellent Destination Management Organisation, Experience Oxfordshire. The City Council has just reduced its financial support for Experience Oxfordshire to zero. It was made very clear to us that there is no such thing as a successful DMO without public support of some kind.

Half a million visitors go through EO’s Information Centre on Broad Street every year- if it has to close because of a sudden and unexpected budget cut, where will all those people go? We also heard some great examples from elsewhere of partnership working with the business community, taking in things like events, extra street cleaning and patrols, marketing and support for small businesses. Oxford has none of this.

The response of the Council’s cabinet to our recommendations has been pretty disheartening. We started by asking them to come up with a vision for tourism, and suggested what it might cover: not necessary, apparently.

We proposed Cabinet-level representation on the Board of Experience Oxfordshire, something which happens elsewhere and works well: not needed in Oxford, we’re told.

Perhaps most strikingly, we went into a lot of detail around the issue of coaches. Our recommendations are based around gathering a good evidence base and best practice elsewhere. Cabinet’s response, astonishingly, was “we already know” what the issues are, which rather makes a mockery of our three months’ work.

What should tourism in our city look like in the future? What should our visitors’ first impression of our beautiful city be? How should they arrive, and where: St Aldate’s? St Giles’? Somewhere else? Keble Road? A new, purpose-designed location?

Clearly these questions have to be considered as part of a holistic view of strategic planning of traffic, infrastructure and much else, as our report makes clear: one of our speakers remarked plaintively “What a pity this wasn’t thought about when the Westgate Centre was being planned”.

Visitors don’t always see the best of Oxford. Compared to other cities, satisfaction levels are low. At the same time, the real issues identified in our report affect our residents as much as tourists.

We set out with the aim of making things better for both. Our ideas are designed to manage the impact of tourism better, and make the shared experience of being in our wonderful city richer and more enjoyable for all.

I hope our ideas will stimulate debate. I hope they will get a receptive hearing. There is much in our report designed to help us get this right. We need to.