There cannot have been few gatherings in the Sheldonian Theatre down the centuries where the university has indulged in self-examination of the kind seen on Tuesday, and then found itself to be badly wanting.

It was always certain that the opponents of Castle Mill, led so effectively by Prof Diarmaid MacCulloch would highlight the mistakes that have so damaged the university’s reputation.

 What came as a surprise was the extent to which the university accepted that that it had failed to listen and engage when it came to Castle Mill. When it came to “the human factor,” the University Registrar Prof Ewan McKendrick told the packed Sheldonian, Oxford University had been deficient.

 The university had allowed itself to appear “remote and aloof” he admitted, before setting out in detail the various reforms that had been put in place to ensure there should never be a second Castle Mill development.

 While after so many warnings, many of them appearing in the letters pages of this newspapers, it is difficult to know why the lessons had to be learnt so very damagingly late.

And it certainly should not be forgotten that the university actually won the vote and the bid to reduce the height of the blocks lost, even if Prof MacCulloch and his supporters, like the post referendum SNP seem to have emerged from defeat invigorated having secured what should be lasting changes.

 Identifying and communicating with key neighbours is one of the key pledges. We must hope this has, and will continue to be the approach, as the JerichoCastle Mill boatyard development passes through the planning process.

By chance on the same day the Congregation was considering whether to cut a storey off the Castle Mill blocks, Oxford City Council’s west area committee was considering the scheme to create a piazza square between St Barnabas Church and Oxford Canal, bordered by a community centre, boatyard, nursery, restaurant and homes. This is in fact the fifth attempt to redevelop  the derelict site over a decade.

The fact that the committee members approved the proposals only in principle and attached 45 conditions suggests getting it right and meeting the needs of the local community is the priority, rather than a speedy solution that would create housing but lasting environmental damage.

 The meeting was followed by Johnny Sandelson, chief of the developers behind the scheme, expressing his desire  to repair relations with the Jericho Wharf Trust. In the case of Jericho there is now time to repair bridges, with the time to deliver on promises still to come. Ensuring that all those  conditions are properly met  will surely try the patience of developers, council officers and community leaders But hopefully neither side in the boatyard development will have cause for the kind of regret so widely felt in the Sheldonian on Tuesday.