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Boatyard makeover meets with community approval
RESIDENTS have welcomed plans for the complete transformation of a canalside site in Jericho, with a new community centre, public square and boatyard.
A swing bridge providing a new route into Jericho is among proposals going to the city council’s executive board on Wednesday, in a document detailing facilities developers will be expected to deliver.
The Draft Jericho Canalside Planning Document has been welcomed by the community trust which is in “advanced negotiations” to buy the site.
It says Jericho should now get the development that residents want.
Jericho resident Adrian Arbib, who has campaigned for a new boatyard to replace the one which closed in 2007, said: “I think most residents will think the city council is trying to do the right thing.
“We need to make sure that the footprint of the new community centre building is big enough and that we are not being short-changed on that as the old community centre could be sold for housing.”
Jacky Sadones, who helps to run the Old Bookbinders Ale House in Victor Street, said: “A new community centre and boatyard would be great.”
Jericho Wharf Trust, made up of community groups, hopes to buy the site from administrator PwC.
With potential developers also faced with providing 50 per cent affordable housing, the trust hopes the council document will deter other bidders by making alternative schemes unviable.
Peter Stalker, a spokesman for JWT, said: “We believe it is a good, solid document.”
Tony Joyce, chairman of the Jericho Living Heritage Trust, added: “Hopefully we will now end up with something that Oxford wants, not what some outside developer might think is profitable.”
Colin Cook, board member for city development, said: “The document gives greater clarity to developers.”
A planning inspector said the community centre should be at least two storeys high.
Twenty homes have been proposed for the site but the document says the final figure could be different. If the document is approved there will be a six-week public consultation before it returns to council to be approved in December.
WHAT'S BEING PLANNED
THE new community centre, housing and a public square in front of St Barnabas Church big enough for public events, such as markets, are among the requirements in the document.
A new boatyard must also be created on a site that has seen boat building and repair since the 1840s.
The closure of the Castle Mill boatyard sparked widespread protests with the boatyard occupied by campaigners.
And the community centre should be built directly on the new public square, with the city council ready to contribute £100,000, plus £100,000 from developers.
A new bridge is proposed over the canal, providing a direct route for pedestrians and cyclists from Oxford rail station to the Oxford University’s new Radcliffe Observatory Quarter.
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