The long-running issue of Mr Simon Courtney-Worthy’s boat, landing stage and wooden house alongside the Thames next to Ward’s Field continues to be mired in legal wrangles.
The case has been going on for nearly twenty years. South Oxfordshire District Council and the Parish Council say the development is illegal because it does not have planning permission. The councils also claim that Mr Courtney-Worthy does not own the land. According to Land Registry records the land belongs to a man in Hertfordshire. Repeated attempts however to track down the man have proved fruitless. Mr Courtney-Worthy disputes the councils’ case and says he owns the land and is there legally.
Three years ago Mr Courtney-Worthy was issued with two enforcement notices and last year he appeared before Oxford Magistrates twice to answer the charge of illegal occupation and failure to comply with enforcement notices issued by SODC. He had been told to quit the land and remove the structure and boat. On both occasions the hearings were adjourned to allow further investigations.
In 2013 Mr Courtney-Worthy claimed that he originally rented the land at a peppercorn rent from the late owner. He said he had developed the area which had become overgrown and the mooring site was derelict, and that he was on the site legally.
At the March meeting of Long Wittenham Parish Council district councillor Sue Lawson said that Mr Courtney-Worthy would be issued with another enforcement notice in an attempt to bring to an end what has been a protracted and contentious issue.