JERICHO WHARF NEWS ITEM

JWT must be compensated for increased costs

<p>Left to right, Steve Watts, Henry Gibbon, Phyllis Starkey, Charlotte Christie, and Matt Watts.</p>

Left to right, Steve Watts, Henry Gibbon, Phyllis Starkey, Charlotte Christie, and Matt Watts.

Posted - Jul 22, 2014

Community meeting debates SIAHAF proposal

At a packed meeting at St Barnabas School on July 21 local residents debated the planning proposal from SIAHAF.

For the Jericho Wharf Trust, Phyllis Starkey said that the proposal provided the space needed for a viable boatyard and community centre.

But she added: “We do not believe that the scheme can be successfully delivered until two key issues have been addressed. First the affordability of the community facilities, which will cost at least £1.6 million more than the £5 million budgeted for our own original scheme. We expect the developer to compensate for our increased costs. “

“The second key issue concerns the ownership and management of the public space.  We need to know, for example,  on what terms ownership will be transferred to the community. We hope to resolve these concerns by working with SIAHAF to achieve a Collaborative Agreement before the planning application is considered by the West Area Planning Committee.”

Another JT concern was that that the provision of affordable housing is so low – 32% of housing units, 15% of housing space.

Industrial design

Matt Watts from the architects Haworth-Tompkins presented the latest plans and explained the ‘industrial feel’ of the development. He answered questions, for example, on the potential impact on the light available to houses in St Barnabas Street.

Some people were also concerned about the lack of detail on, and potential subsequent alterations to, the ‘finishes’ of the square and other parts of the site. He responded that the developer was aiming for a high quality development that respected Jericho’s heritage. He estimated that once construction started,it would take 12 to 18 months and that they were hoping to minimize disruption by delivering building materials via the canal.

Views of local groups

Representatives of other local groups gave their views. For the Jericho Community Association, Charlotte Christie welcomed the development of the site since it provided essential community facilities, offered the opportunity for a lively square with a bridge, and was car free. However, she expressed concerns about the cost of the community buildings and the low proportion of affordable housing.

For the St Barnabas Parochial Church Council, Henry Gibbon said they broadly welcomed the development but that they were concerned about the impact on the vicarage and about the arrangements for control of the public square, for which part of the land is owned by the Church.

For the Jericho Community Boatyard, Steve Watts said he thought that the proposals should give just enough facilities, and to minimize noise concerns they anticipated limiting the working hours for certain activities. He also said that it would be essential for the boatyard to have access to moorings in front of the houses – though these would need to be provided by the Canal and River Trust.

Anne Mobbs of the Jericho Alive and Kicking group argued that the affordable housing should take the form of sheltered housing for older people.

Parking preoccupations

One general concern was about parking. Apart from one space for disabled parking, this would be a car-free development. This it was felt would be a restriction on the use of the site, since potential customers of the Bookbinders, for example, were dissuaded by the lack of parking.

On the square, there was discussion about the mix of cyclists and pedestrians. Matt Watts pointed out that sharing space in this way was common and that priority should be for pedestrians.

There were also questions about the restaurant. Matt Watts said that this would be a high-quality restaurant. It would probably be leased out by the developer, but that SIAHAF did not see this as a significant source of profit, intending rather that it should add to the life of the square.

The proposal is open for public comment until July 24. To register your comments go to: http://www.oxford.gov.uk/planningapplications. In the side menu, click on Search for Planning Applications. Scroll down and click on ‘I Accept’. In the Simple Search page, type 14/01441/FUL, and when two applications come up click on the second. When the details appear there is a ‘Make a Public Comment’ button at the top. You can also read everyone else’s comments at the end of the long list of documents.

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