Plans for Jericho canal-side site
January 30 2014
New proposals are about to be presented for the Castlemill boatyard land in Jericho. As you may already know, a private equity fund, the Strategic Iconic Assets Heritage Acquisition Fund (SIAHAF), is purchasing the land and has commissioned architects Haworth Tompkins to indicate how it could be developed. They have now drawn up a scheme which will be the basis for a planning application and on which the public will be consulted, starting on February 7th with a display at St Barnabas Church.
As you may well be aware, this historic boatyard site has already been the subject of two failed planning applications, and has remained derelict for many years. SIAHAF is buying the site with the aim of ‘unlocking’ it and in doing so trying to balance commercial objectives with community aspirations. After initial public feedback, they are aiming for a planning application at the end of February. This would then trigger a further round of six weeks of statutory public consultation as part of the planning process.
In addition to commercial and social housing, the development has to include a sustainable boatyard, a sustainably sized community centre and a lively public square with a bridge to it across the canal. These requirements have been specified in a series of planning decisions and confirmed by the Oxford City Council in a Jericho Canalside Supplementary Planning Document.
In preparing these plans, Haworth Tompkins have had several rounds of discussions with the Jericho Wharf Trust (JWT), two members of which are JCBY directors. Through these two directors JCBY has made known what we think is needed for a sustainable boatyard to the JWT. The JWT in turn has indicated to the architects what it believes would be needed to fulfil the requirements for the site as a whole. Haworth Tompkins have responded with the plans that they will present on February 7th.
The JWT Chair Phyllis Starkey has said: “We have worked hard to engage constructively with SIAHAF and Haworth Tompkins. Although working under constraints of time and of commercial confidentiality, we have had positive discussions so far. The next steps are to seek the views of the wider community and to reflect on the full implications of this complex development and the allocation of space for community facilities.”
“We are pleased that the Howarth Tompkins proposals are now being made public. We know that 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 is developed in a way that enhances facilities for Jericho, the canal boaters and the wider Oxford community”
The first public exhibitions of the proposals are to be held on Friday February 7th at St Barnabas Church, Cardigan Street from 10am-1pm, and on Saturday February 8th at Jericho Community Centre, Canal Street, from 9.00 am to 12.30 pm. Please come along and give your opinion of the plans.