THE latest plans for a new boatyard in Jericho are being drawn up after more than a decade of delays.

Now developers are hopeful that building work at the Castle Mill Boatyard site – between St Barnabas Church and the Oxford Canal – could begin as early as this summer, if the planning process runs to schedule.

It would be a step forward in a saga which has seen residents waiting 13 years for progress, after a series of redevelopment plans failed to materialise.

There is an existing boatyard nearby, College Cruisers. This plan will have no bearing on that business which is still running as usual.

Read more: Jericho Boatyard development could be delayed yet again

The latest design for a yard would see the return of a planned bridge, two dry docks and a wet dock as well as bunks for those having their homes repaired.

It would also feature a community centre with a cafe and nursery, but no restaurant and fewer new homes than previously planned.

The community trust campaigning on the boatyard have welcomed ‘mostly positive’ negotiations.

Read again: New threat to Jericho Boatyard plan with £500k bridge

Bruce Heagerty, Secretary of the Jericho Community Boatyard and trustee of the Jericho Wharf Trust, said: “The Jericho Community Boatyard is a constituent member of the Jericho Wharf Trust with whom we’ve been working, along with the owners of the wharf, Cheer Team Corporation, to design a new boatyard and community centre.

“The negotiations have been mostly positive and constructive and the replacement yard is to have two dry docks and a wet dock, with both professional and DIY workshop space, and bunks for boaters who are having their homes repaired.”

Mr Heagerty continued: “After 13 years waiting for a replacement yard, we are very keen to see the new boatyard built. At present the nearest alternative boatyard is five miles upstream and not available to everyone.

Read again: Masterplan for Jericho boatyard is welcomed by wharf’s trust

“A number of boats have sunk over the last few years and it is essential that we get a new boatyard in Oxford as soon as possible, so that narrowboats can be more easily repaired and we avoid any further tragic loss of boaters’ homes.”

Developer Sihas – the parent company of Cheer – says there are only ‘minor’ changes to old plans.

Spokesman Nick Band explained: “We are fully committed to developing this site and are pleased to say that we have reached an outline agreement with the trust on the revised detail of the scheme.”

Mr Band said he was hopeful work could start this summer and added: “We have made a few modifications to the original plan but the fundamental development remains the same, with three docks, a community centre and housing. We hope to put the revised scheme back into planning very soon.”

Delays to the long-awaited project were labelled a ‘scandal’ by city council leader Bob Price 13 months ago. The £20m vision also hit problems in late 2016, when a £500,000 bridge was added to plans.

Read again: Jericho boatyard is set to be sold to development group

It is now nearly 30 years since the site ceased to officially be a working boatyard in 1992.

Oxford resident Fiamma Alemanni said it would also be a bonus for those who walk along the canal if the area was ‘refreshed’.

She explained: “A lot of people use this road - we commute so having something pretty to look at would be nice.”

Another local resident, who was walking her dog but did not want to be named, added: “It doesn’t look very pretty at the moment.

“I would not object to it being developed but its up to the people who live (next to it). It would be nice to do it up but at the same time we have to preserve the history of it.”

Oxford City Council Head of Planning Services, Adrian Arnold, said: “Planning permission was granted for redevelopment of the boatyard for the erection of residential units, new community centre, restaurant, boatyard, public square, winding hole and two public bridges across the Oxford Canal in 2016. 

"We have been talking to the applicant about the development and are very keen to see the site redeveloped.”