STRICTER rules on lingering boaters have come into force on Abingdon's riverside in a bid to solve long-running issues over people outstaying their welcome.

The changes, agreed by Vale of White Horse District Council in April, also include plans for new moorings and signs by the river to draw more tourists into the town.

The previous Vale policy stated that mooring on council-owned spots at Abbey Meadow, Hales Meadow, Rye Farm Meadow and Wilsham Road weas free for people staying up to five days, with fines issued thereafter.

This has now been shortened to three nights, along with the introduction of an annual permit scheme for esidents to moor their own boats along Wilsham Road.

The permits cost £500 and will run from 1 January to 31 December each year.

A document agreed by district councillors in April also sets out dozens of rules, including one that prohibits boaters from setting up a barbecue or fire on land or pavement alongside their mooring spot.

It also dictates that people cannot camp on the land or pavement next to their boat, and must not carry out any major maintenance work while they are there.

The changes have been a long time coming for the town, with the same report admitting that they had been set back by confusion about which organisation was responsible for the mooring land.

It said: "The delay in finalisation of the policy has been due to the delay in the registration of the Vale council owned lane with Land Registry, which has been ongoing since 2013."

The council did not receive confirmation that it was indeed the registered land owner until August last year.

Abingdon Town Council leader Mike Badcock, who previously described the situation as a 'complete mess', praised the new rules, saying: "It will certainly please residents who live in Wilsham Road.

"A lot of places charge for people to moor along the river and we still won't so I think that is a good thing as well."

He added that the hope was businesses in the town centre would also get a financial boost thanks to new visitors’ moorings, which are designed to encourage tourists on boats to stop and explore Abingdon.

New eye-catching notice boards will also soon be installed to inform visitors where they can moor, along with a map that shows them where the best local attractions are and where they can find the shops, pubs and restaurants.

The boards will be in place ready for the busy summer months.

Mike Murray,district council cabinet member for regeneration, economic development, and property, said: “We know that many tourists come through Abingdon on boats each year and, with the new clear mooring sites and signage, this will encourage visitors to spend time and money whilst staying in this historic town.”

The policy and application form for a mooring permit are available from and applications for a 2018 permit close at midnight next Friday.