A VACANT dry dock on the River Thames in central Oxford has been taken off the market after an unsuccessful bidding process.

Osney Yard Depot, next to Osney Lock in West Oxford, was put on the market with a five-year lease in November by property firm Bruton Knowles on behalf of the Environment Agency.

No guide price was given by the agency, which set up a bidding process.

The 511sq m area, with two moorings and space for boats as large as 21m by 3.6m, attracted several bids, but all were unsuccessful.

The Environment Agency put the dock out to tender for commercial use after a Government direction to better use public assets to generate income for the public purse.

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Agency operations manager Barry Russell said: “The tender process ran its full length and the tenders that were received by the closing date were evaluated on cost as well as technical grounds.

“Of the tenders that were received, none were sufficiently high for letting out the dry dock without there being an unacceptably high residual cost for the taxpayer.

“In essence, none of the tenders that were received would cover the costs incurred in letting the dry dock.

“As a result no tender was successful and the tendering of the dry dock has concluded.”

The lease would have included the dock’s main building, which has a small office, store and pump room, and a power and water supply.

There is also an overhead gantry crane with a load capacity of seven metric tonnes.

Oxfordshire boat repair firm Green Boat Services, which was one of the unsuccessful bidders, had hoped to use the dock as a base.

The engineering business works on and around Oxfordshire’s waterways maintaining and restoring boats.

Marine engineer Jon Ody said: “We did make a bid, we went to great lengths to make sure we had a good package to put forward to the Environment Agency.

“It’s a massive shame that this really good facility will now sit empty for 90 per cent of the time.

“There’s a need for this [repair service] out there and it’s a shame for all the people who live or work on the waterways.”

Spokeswoman for Bruton Knowles, Naomi Quick, said: “The Environment Agency received several offers but none of these were at a level which worked for them.

“They have decided not to take it forward.”

The Environment Agency did not comment on the future use of the dry dock.

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