Half a metre of land blocks £20m Jericho boatyard plan

An artist’s impression of the Jericho plan

An artist’s impression of the Jericho plan

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

A STRIP of canalside land just 50cm long has led to disagreements over a much-anticipated redevelopment of the Jericho boatyard.

The Canal and River Trust has called for a re-design of a bridge on a small parcel of land it owns for the £20m plans for homes and a community centre.

It said a proposed swing bridge would be too close to where boats turn and the boatyard entrance and called for a fixed bridge at a higher level.

It has threatened to not give the developers permission to use the Castle Mill boatyard land, which the bridge connects to, if concerns are not addressed.

Oxford City Council is considering a planning application that includes a public square, community building, and 22 homes.

Trust planner for the south area Jane Hennell said: “The applicant has failed to prove that a bridge in this location would not have an adverse impact on the navigational safety of waterway users.

“The trust does not wish to frustrate the development of the site but it has always made clear that we oppose certain aspects of the proposal.

“The trust will withhold consent for works which will adversely affect the navigation safety of any user of the waterway or towpath. Therefore we suggest in the strongest possible terms that the applicant amends the plans to overcome our objections.”

The boatyard has not been used commercially since 1992 and five attempts have been made to redevelop the site, including for 54 flats.

Strategic Iconic Assets Heritage Acquisition Fund bought it in 2012 but the trust – which has succeeded British Waterways – kept the small parcel of land.

Fund spokesman Nick Band said it is prepared to provide a fixed bridge but this would mean one home would have to be smaller.

He said: “If would be a great shame if half a metre of soil stood in the way of realising the vision for a revitalised Jericho Wharf, but we are confident it won’t come to that.

“Although we have already spent many hours in detailed consultation over the bridge and other aspects of the scheme, we are happy to keep talking and invite the Canal and River Trust to further discussions at any time.

“This development is all about reconnecting Jericho with its canal heritage, so the trust’s voice needs to be heard.”

 

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Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:49am Mon 25 Aug 14

Myron Blatz says...

Question is, can we put our faith in the Trust? Many of these 'trusts' are set-up to oppose things, and British Waterways was always at best a mixed blessing, and at worst a quango which failed to meet its obligations - especially to communities through which canals passed or were sited. There's also the 'power' factor, where some people who run these 'trusts' have an over-bloated view of their own importance - not that different from the 'save Temple Cowley' mob! Could it be the common association with water?
Question is, can we put our faith in the Trust? Many of these 'trusts' are set-up to oppose things, and British Waterways was always at best a mixed blessing, and at worst a quango which failed to meet its obligations - especially to communities through which canals passed or were sited. There's also the 'power' factor, where some people who run these 'trusts' have an over-bloated view of their own importance - not that different from the 'save Temple Cowley' mob! Could it be the common association with water? Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

8:16am Mon 25 Aug 14

mytaxes says...

Thank goodness the Trust is there to protect boaters and the canal as nobody else seems to care much about them.
Thank goodness the Trust is there to protect boaters and the canal as nobody else seems to care much about them. mytaxes
  • Score: 1

11:16am Mon 25 Aug 14

Danny3 says...

A fixed bridge would also reduce delays for pedestrians and cyclists when boats are passing. If one house has to be smaller, that may not be a huge imposition, but it's hard to know without some figures.
A fixed bridge would also reduce delays for pedestrians and cyclists when boats are passing. If one house has to be smaller, that may not be a huge imposition, but it's hard to know without some figures. Danny3
  • Score: 1

11:23am Mon 25 Aug 14

mytaxes says...

Why is another bridge required? It's not far to walk/cycle to the other bridges.
Why is another bridge required? It's not far to walk/cycle to the other bridges. mytaxes
  • Score: 0

1:02pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

They are usually referred to as "ransom strips" for a good reason.
They are usually referred to as "ransom strips" for a good reason. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

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