A LANDSCAPE design expert has criticised plans to revitalise a former boatyard in Jericho because the public piazza would be 'too small'.

Cornerstone Land and the Jericho Wharf Regeneration Company outlined their plans at an exhibition last summer and have now submitted a formal planning application to Oxford City Council.

The scheme includes a mixed use development with a new boatyard and there will also be a new community centre with a cafe, sports hall, dance studio and spaces to rent.

Read again: Oxford homeless man found dead in tent

The former community centre building will also be included in the scheme and converted for housing.

But campaigners Jericho Wharf Trust say the proposed piazza by St Barnabas Church would be ‘hemmed in’.

Oxford Mail:

Jericho Wharf Trust chairwoman Phyllis Starkey

The trust said in a statement: “The main weakness at present is the public square – the ‘piazza’. This should be the centrepiece of the development – buzzing with life during the day and a landmark venue for regular markets and public events such as drama and concerts.

“But in the current plan it is small and hemmed in by housing, which confines the open space and cuts off views from the canal of the Grade 1-listed St Barnabas Church.”

Read again: Don't come to A&E for a Covid test warns hospital

The trust said the limitations were revealed in the new report commissioned by the trust from Noel Farrer, a landscape design expert who has been chairman of the Oxford Design Review Panel, which evaluates planning applications for the city council.

He concluded that the core problem was 'usable space', adding the total area of the square was 645sq m.

But after deducting the areas for pedestrian and cyclists, Mr Farrer estimated the usable public space at only 160 sq m. As a result, the square could only fit in 10 market stalls.

Oxford Mail:

St Barnabas Church

JWT chairwoman Phyllis Starkey said. “We understand the need for commercial viability, but at its heart Jericho Wharf needs an open and active space for all to enjoy. We are therefore determined to work with the developer to ensure that this wonderful setting gets the public square it deserves.”

Read more: Emma Watson's school changes house name to avoid racial slur

The second phase will include a pre-school and additional meeting rooms and offices needed to complete the community centre. Developers say there will be a mix of residential units including townhouses, and flats.