WORK was completed yesterday on controversial safety work on an Oxford waterway.

The £90,000 project on the Castle Mill Stream, near Isis Lock in the city centre was started in November.

But while the work has been welcomed as positive by some, critics have described it as unnecessary.

British Waterways has teamed up with the Environment Agency on a number of changes in the area, which included a new landing platform. Yesterday a series of booms were stretched out to stop boats from getting swept downstream towards the weir.

Chris Wardley, chairman of the Oxfordshire branch of the Inland Waterways Association, believed the work would improve safety.

He said: “I think it is essential and it will really help to improve the environment here.

“Most of our members would agree with me as well, and say that the work is a positive thing.

“Boaters tend to be independent people so it does split opinion a little, but this project will certainly help to make it safer here.”

The Oxford Mail reported in November that the scheme had angered some boat users who said the project spoilt the waterway.

Mike Hamblett, from Summertown, said the work was unnecessary and a waste of money.

He said: “How dare they come and ruin a beauty spot.

“It is over-engineered, ugly and it does not do the job properly.”

The 56-year-old added: “Boats have been turning there for 200 years and it has been fine. It is just a terrible waste of money on a problem that was not really there.”

British Waterways said it carried out the work after feedback from local boaters who wanted easier access for longer length boats.

In November, Jeff Whyatt, from the organisation, said: “Some of the comments we have received have made us aware that sometimes boats may be using this water at a time when there are high flow or flood warnings – at a time when Environment Agency advises against navigation.”