Campaigners gave councillors a standing ovation after they unanimously rejected British Waterways' planning application for the so-called 'Wall of Jericho'.

The controversial 10ft razor wire fence was erected around Castle Mill boatyard after British Waterways evicted boaters in May.

But Oxford City Council's Central, South and West area committee last night said it must come down.

Council officers had recommended that planning permission be granted, for 18 months instead of the requested three years, on the conditions that the razor wire was removed and the wall was decorated.

Campaigners who spoke at the meeting, held at the West Oxford Community Centre in Botley Road, compared the fence to a concentration camp and said painting it was like "asking children to clean the cars of drug-dealers".

The council received 27 letters objecting to the application.

Jenny Mann, of Victor Street, said, "This is not just a fence. This thing is experienced by people as something aggressive and confrontational simply by it being there and it makes people very upset and angry.

He added: "Little compromising measures like painting it would be rejected utterly by the local community. It should be taken down immediately."

British Waterways claimed the fence was necessary for public safety. Police had advised that derelict buildings posed a risk and should be secured.

A spokesman for British Waterways said: "The site does need protection and a secure boundary is a necessity."

But committee chairman Colin Cook said this did not seem relevant as there was no longer anything in the boatyard.

He proposed refusing planning permission on the grounds that the fence was damaging to the setting of nearby St Barnabas Church, a Grade B listed building, and the effect on the local amenity.

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the proposal. They also supported the use of enforcement action if British Waterways does not take the fence down.

Speaking after the meeting, campaigner Pat Schlueter, of Barnabas Street, Jericho, said: "It's great news. I haven't met anybody who isn't opposed to the fence.

"If British Waterways wants to win back a modicum of respect they would take it down immediately, but they probably won't. It may stay up for a little bit longer, but that thing is coming down."

Outstanding items from the committee's agenda will be dealt with at 5.30pm today in the Town Hall, St Aldate's, Oxford.