THE long-awaited £20m Jericho Boatyard project has been branded a 'scandal' after concerns were raised that plans may be revised, causing further delays.

Planning permission was first given in February 2015 for a piazza with 22 homes and a community centre to be created at the Castle Mill Boatyard site between St Barnabas Church and the Oxford Canal – after a long process involving community groups, council officers and developers.

With no progress on the development, which would also see the boatyard restored and a nursery and restaurant built, Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said it was a 'disaster' the site was still vacant and called for action.

Community organisation the Jericho Wharf Trust said the developer – Strategic Iconic Assets Heritage Acquisition Fund (SIAHAF) – was now revising plans, which could further delay the scheme.

The trust said it had agreed to work with SIAHAF on the fresh plans but the developer failed to confirm it was working on a new scheme when approached by The Oxford Times.

City council leader, Bob Price, said the council would consider another planning application on its merits but was 'very distressed' by the lack of progress.

He said: "It's a scandal really in some ways – it's a very important site in terms of the history of the area and it will provide much-needed housing.

"It would also massively improve the appearance of the back of the church and open up the piazza.

"The planning permission was agreed among everyone, it has great community facilities and it's viable in terms of making the owners profit – the council has no powers to make it happen, it's a disaster."

"If the owners don't want to bring forward the plan they should hand it to someone else who will."

It has now been more than 11 years since police and bailiffs evicted boaters from the site to make way for redevelopment.

A new planning application would be the fifth to be put forward since 2000 and comes almost three years after the city council approved the latest proposals.

Last year SIAHAF chief executive Johnny Sandelson said plans for a second bridge over the canal to the piazza – added at the request of the community – could cost £500,000 and led to a re-think over the site and its viability.

The Jericho Wharf Trust – which includes Jericho Community Association, Jericho Living Heritage Trust, St Barnabas Church parochial church council, and The Jericho Community Boatyard – said new plans were in the offing.

Chairwoman Phyllis Starkey, said: "This is not the news we have been hoping for.

"The Jericho Wharf Trust has worked hard with the developer over several years, investing considerable amounts of time, energy and money, to agree plans that met the aspirations of the people of Jericho and the city of Oxford for this iconic site."

She added: "Nevertheless, we have agreed to work closely with SIAHAF again, to ensure that the new proposals also deliver what is needed."

"Since any further delay to these facilities would be a great disappointment to everyone, it is important that SIAHAF manage to stay with their declared intention to start construction work before the end of 2018."

Dr Starkey said it was crucial a 'lively public square' and fully-functioning community centre were retained in any new proposals.

SIAHAF failed to respond to a request for comment.