An authority has been given permission to ban contact with unreasonable people or those that are "persistent" or "abusive".

The city council now has a formalised policy for "managing vexatious behaviour by members of the public" who "because of the nature or frequency of their contacts with the organisation, hinder the organisation’s consideration of their, or other people’s, complaints".

Cabinet approved the new strategy at a meeting on April 17.

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Labour councillor and council leader Susan Brown said: "This is one of those policies that you wish you didn't have to have and that you hope you'll never have to use but that we probably do need to have.

Oxford Mail: Susan Brown at the cabinet meeting.Susan Brown at the cabinet meeting. (Image: Oxford City Council.)

"It sets out rules by which we will take action if necessary in order to try and maintain services and good behaviour."

A meeting paper states "if the citizen continues to behave in a way which is deemed unacceptable" (after other options have been explored) then the council "may decide to refuse all contact with the citizen".

Finance chief Ed Turner added he thought need for the policy was "regrettable" but that "vexatious contact to councillors can be very distressing".

Oxford Mail: Ed Turner.Ed Turner. (Image: Oxford City Council.)

Details of specific cases were not discussed in the meeting or in council papers.

The news comes after campaigner Chaka Artwell’s attempts to address Oxford city councillors were thwarted twice last year upon which the council said his emails had been "accidentally redirected to an unmonitored inbox".

An apology was subsequently issued and the council said the issue had been fixed.

Oxford Mail: Ed Turner.Ed Turner. (Image: Ed Nix.)

On a separate occasion, a councillor said a question Mr Artwell had asked at a meeting "did not deserve a response".