A COMMUNITY group in Jericho has called on the property entrepreneur behind the redevelopment of the Castle Mill boatyard to meet it after a series of delays.
The Jericho Wharf Trust said it had been left “puzzled” by talks with representatives of Johnny Sandelson.
The redevelopment would see a ‘piazza’ square created between St Barnabas Church and the Oxford Canal, bordered by a community centre, boatyard, nursery, restaurant and 22 homes.
It was given planning permission by Oxford City Council at a meeting in February, but councillors said developer contributions would be approved separately.
At the meeting, Mr Sandelson said land needed for the community centre and boatyard could be handed to the wharf trust for just £1.
He also agreed to build the boatyard and the foundations of the centre, which would cost at least £5m and replace the current building in Canal Street, providing the trust raised the cash to fund the centre.
Trust spokesman Peter Stalker added: “He [has since] said we would only have three months to raise money for the community centre, which is not reasonable.
“Since then negotiations have continued, but we have had no opportunity to meet with him personally and his lawyers have not responded to us.
“We would be very happy to meet with Mr Sandelson and to work with him. We want to see proper dialogue.
“But we are puzzled at why he is making things difficult, because we said at the meeting exactly what we wanted and were very happy with what he said.”
Mr Sandelson, who is chief executive of Strategic Iconic Assets Heritage Acquisition Fund, said he was frustrated by attempts to thrash out final details of the scheme.
The entrepreneur claimed he would “start work tomorrow if we were given the go-ahead, but everyone at the moment seems to be embedded in certain positions”.
He added: “It feels like every time we try to get on with it, someone tries to frustrate things.”
Disagreements centred on the location of a new bridge, as well as how the Jericho Wharf Trust will raise money for a new community centre, he said.
He added: “At the moment we are just going all round the houses.”