THE leader of Oxford City Council has weighed into the negotiations over the future of the Jericho Boatyard.
Bob Price has written to accountants PwC which is currently in talks with the Jericho Wharf Trust over the future of the derelict site.
He has pledged to make more land available for the redevelopment of the site, but only to an organisation which meets “the needs of the city and the local community”.
Since the site, at the bottom of Cardigan Street, ceased operating as a working boatyard in 1992 there have been a number of proposals to redevelop it.
In 2009, the boatyard went into administration after a buyer, developer Spring Residential, acquired the site but failed to get planning permission to redevelop it.
Local people formed the Jericho Wharf Trust with the aim of buying the site themselves.
Writing to PwC, Mr Price offered to include the Dawson Place garages – on the other side of St Barnabas church – in the development, but only on certain conditions.
He said: “There is mounting concern that a developer may again come forward with unacceptable proposals for the site, leading to more delay and further waste of precious res-ources. Please therefore be aware – and ensure that all potential purchasers of the Spring Residential portion of the site are aware – that the city council will only make available the Dawson Place land, on any terms, to a developer who meets – in the council’s opinion – the needs of the city and the local community.
“I hope that this makes the council’s position quite clear.”
The people of Jericho formed JWT – made up of bodies such as the local community association, St Barnabas Parochial Church Council and the Jericho Living Heritage Trust – to buy the land and develop it according to their wishes.
Negotiations between PwC and the JWT began in January and the trust’s Peter Stalker welcomed Mr Price’s intervention to avoid “misunderstanding”.
He said: “It is a question of trying to make sure all potential buyers are aware of everything. There is a danger that buyers will overbid and only discover afterwards the full implications. That would be disadvantageous for everyone.
“We don’t want anybody to think the value of the site is greater than they think it is.”
The area of the city council-owned part of the site at Dawson Place is nearly 600 square yards.
Council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We are drafting a supplementary planning document for the site which will set out council’s expectations in the form of design parameters.
“The SPD will be a material consideration against which any planning application on the site will be judged and will be used to determine whether or not the council is satisfied with the proposal.
“It will include aspects on design, community amenities and canal-related activities.”
PwC refused to comment.