City must hold SIAHAF to its commitments

The northern part of the site, from the canal on the western side to Canal Street on the eastern side - indicating land ownershi
The northern part of the site, from the canal on the western side to Canal Street on the eastern side - indicating land ownershi

Posted - Jul 30, 2015

Councillors will need to discuss application again

In February 2015, ‘Cheer Team’ obtained planning permission for development of the canalside site - but subject to 45 conditions many of which have to be legally enshrined in a ‘Section 106’ agreement. Cheer Team is a company registered in Hong Kong. For this development, it is associated with a property company, the Strategic Iconic Assets Heritage Acquisition Fund (SIAHAF), managed in the UK by entrepreneur Johnny Sandelson who presented Cheer Team’s planning application to the City Council.

The developer now has to agree this detailed legal document showing precisely how it will meet the Council’s conditions. So far, however, there are concerns that SIAHAF has yet to provide the guarantees that would fulfill the commitments made to councillors. This could jeopardize the delivery of the boatyard, the community centre and the public square.

The next stage in the process is likely to be at a future meeting of the West Area Planning Committee. Here the City Council officers will report to the committee on the state of their discussions with SIAHAF.

Councillors will need to hold Cheer Team to the commitments made in at the February meeting. At that meeting SIAHAF chief Johnny Sandelson said to councillors: “If you promote our plan tonight the City will be delivered nine social rented homes, a community boatyard, a chandlery, a bridge, a winding hole a public piazza, and land donated to the community group unencumbered for £1.”

Sandelson also offered: “£150,000 on the signing of the 106 to the JWT to help with their fundraising”

SIAHAF said it would build the boatyard, providing a ‘slab’ roof on which the Jericho Wharf Trust (JWT) can build the hall for the community centre. SIAHAF would also build the public square and arrange with JWT how this would be managed.

A crucial issue is ownership of the boatyard and community centre. The necessary land is composed of three adjoining plots. One is provided by the City Council which currently uses the land for rental garages in Dawson place - around 680 square metres. Another plot has been covenanted by the Canal and River Trust to the Jericho Community Association - and will pass to the JCA once planning permission has been agreed - around 450 square metres. The third has been bought by Cheer Team which it can use to fulfil the planning obligation of space for a boatyard - around 540 square metres. The Jericho Wharf Trust can combine these three plots to create an integrated community-owned development. Other land on the site which which would form part of the square is owned by St Barnabas Church.

If Cheer Team/SIAHAF does not meet the required Section 106 conditions, then the planning officers must refuse planning permission.