A “VENETIAN-STYLE” piazza will be the centrepiece of the long-awaited redevelopment of Jericho boatyard.

The Castle Mill boatyard will also include a new community centre, housing and facilities for canal boat owners.

A planning application will be submitted in about a month’s time and two public consultation events will be held tomorrow and Saturday.

It has not been used commercially as a boatyard since 1992 and five attempts have been made to redevelop the site.

The centrepiece will be a public square outside St Barnabas Church stretching to the waterfront.

A new community building will overlook the square with facilities for boaters and residents such as a cafe, a preschool and a hall.

On the ground floor there will be two dry docks and a wet dock with workshops.

Strategic Iconic Assets Heritage Acquisition Fund (SIAHAF), the developers, said it would be built from wood for an “authentic dockside feel”.

A new restaurant will open on the other side of the square with eight flats above it while a row of townhouses will border the canal.

The development will be linked to the other side of the canal by a new swing bridge.

Fund chief executive Johnny Sandelson said it had worked with Jericho Wharf Trust.

He said: “This is an extremely sensitive and historic site which deserves careful development to unlock its potential.

“By collaborating with the community and listening to their aspirations, I believe we now have an inspiring plan for the future of Jericho Wharf.”

Steve Tompkins, of architects Haworth Tompkins, said: “The new square will be big enough for a market or outdoor concerts and will provide much-improved access to the canal.

“We have taken inspiration from buildings in the area as well as traditional canal-side and boatyard architecture.

“We’ve looked to Venice and the Netherlands to inform the design of the square and how it could relate to the canal.”

The last attempt to develop the site was a plan for 54 flats and boatyard by Spring Residential. It was refused Oxford City Council permission in 2007, lost an appeal the next year and went into administration in 2009.


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The wharf trust unsuccessfully tried to buy the land and chair Phyllis Starkey, above, said: “We worked hard to engage constructively with SIAHAF and Haworth Tompkins.

“The next steps are to seek the views of the wider community and reflect on the implications of this complex development and the allocation of space for community facilities.

“We know many people feel strongly about the canalside site, and we welcome the chance for all parties to make their views known.

“It is vital that this historic site enhances facilities for Jericho, the canal boaters and the wider Oxford community.”

The public consultations will take place tomorrow from 10am to 5pm at St Barnabas Church and on Saturday from 9am until 12.30pm at the Jericho Community Centre in Canal Street.