Masterplan for Jericho boatyard is welcomed by wharf’s trust

The Oxford Times: Phyllis Starkey at the Jericho boatyard Phyllis Starkey at the Jericho boatyard

THE community trust fighting for the future of the Jericho boatyard has welcomed the approval of a masterplan for the site.

Oxford City Council has formally adopted the new planning document for the derelict Castle Mill boatyard.

And the Jericho Wharf Trust (JWT) has said it will help it fight for the site’s future.

After four unsuccessful attempts to develop the site, the JWT hopes this masterplan will give developers a clearer idea of what can be built there.

And the group says it will ensure the next proposal is successful and is what the community wants.

Former city council leader Phyllis Starkey, who is now chairwoman of the JWT, said: “We are impressed with the effort that the city council has put into this planning document, and especially the lengths to which they have gone to accommodate everyone’s views.

“The JWT believes this site has enormous potential and could serve as a lively community hub, bringing much-needed new facilities for Jericho and North Oxford, as well as attracting many more visitors to this distinctive part of the city and its canal heritage.”

Development company Strategic Iconic Assets Heritage Acquisition Fund (SIAHAF) is currently in discussions with PricewaterhouseCoopers over buying the site near St Barnabas church.

The site found itself in the hands of an administrator when developer and landowner Spring Residential went into administration in 2009 after failing to get planning permission to redevelop the boatyard. It ceased officially to be a working boatyard in 1992.

Jericho city councillor Colin Cook, who is also the executive board member for city development, said: “The purpose of the document was to give greater clarity to anyone developing the site, so with the new people coming along they will hopefully come up with a good plan.

“We recognise there has got to be a commercial return for the developers but at the same time we also want to see the community facilities that the people of Jericho want to see.”

The Jericho Wharf Trust, which is composed of several local bodies including the Jericho Community Association and the St Barnabas Church parochial church council, had submitted a bid to buy the site.

Trust spokesman Peter Stalker said discussions were still ongoing between the community and SIAHAF over the development of the site and how it can balance community and commercial interests.

The Oxford Mail contacted SIAHAF for comment, but it did not respond.

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