Jericho boatyard's future is back on the agenda

First published in Oxford

BUSINESSES in Jericho have welcomed the prospect of getting the area’s boatyard redeveloped.

It comes after news that discussions are set to take place next month over the sale of the boarded-up Castlemill boatyard.

Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers has announced that it will meet the Jericho Wharf Trust (JWT) next month to try to end a 20-year row over the future of the site.

Since it ceased to operate as a working boatyard in 1992, there have been a number of proposals to redevelop the site at the bottom of Cardigan Street. The people of the area formed the JWT with the aim of buying the land themselves.

Once it gains ownership of the site, JWT intends to turn it into a public square with a new community centre, housing and a working boatyard.

Josh Mullett-Sadones, landlord of the nearby Old Bookbinders Ale House, said: “It will mean there will be more people coming into Jericho and it will be nice for there to be somewhere people can use as a social point, because there is nothing apart from Walton Street.”

Patricia Baker-Cassidy, of King Street gallery Art Jericho, agreed: “If it is developed, more people will go there, which is excellent.”

In 2009, the boatyard found itself in the hands of PWC when developer, Spring Residential, went into administration after purchasing the site but failing to get planning permission to redevelop it.

PWC spokesman Stephanie Howel said: “When we last met with the trust we outlined our hope that a more fruitful conversation would be possible in January 2013 and we have been able to offer such a meeting recently.”

Ms Howel said an asking price for the site had not yet been decided.

The JWT is made up of local bodies such as the local community association, St Barnabas Parochial Church Council and the Jericho Living Heritage Trust.

JWT vice-chairman Tony Joyce, who is also a member of the Jericho Living Heritage Trust, said: “I very much hope that this will be the start of negotiations to purchase the boatyard.”

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