Group defends scale of new Wharf centre

Oxford Mail: Pictured at the boatyard are Jericho Wharf trustees, from left, David Feeny, Fr Jonathan Beswick, chairwoman Phyllis Starkey and Peter Stalker Pictured at the boatyard are Jericho Wharf trustees, from left, David Feeny, Fr Jonathan Beswick, chairwoman Phyllis Starkey and Peter Stalker

A RESIDENTS’ group has responded to criticisms levelled on a design for a community centre included in plans for the £16m redevelopment of the Jericho Wharf.

Concerns were raised by English Heritage, which claimed plans for the building to be erected above a boatyard facility would block views of St Barnabas Church from Oxford Canal.

In comments which questioned the need for the number of rooms planned for the building, the Government-funded public body called for it to be scaled back.

But Peter Stalker, Jericho Wharf Trust member and treasurer for the Jericho Community Association, said the design was necessary for the building to be self-sustaining.

The trust is understood to have worked closely with developer Strategic Iconic Assets Heritage Acquisition Fund (SIAHAF) on the designs before they were submitted.

Mr Stalker said: “This has to be a sustainable community centre. This means that it has to generate sufficient revenue to pay its way and not rely on public funds.

“That is what drives our business plan and, given the shortage of available land, the proposed scale and design of the community centre reflect this imperative.”

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