Need to address increased costs, and ownership and management of square

<p>Illustrative view of the proposals from the north-west. Image: Haworth-Tompkins</p>

Illustrative view of the proposals from the north-west. Image: Haworth-Tompkins

Posted - Aug 05, 2014

JWT response to planning application

Below is the text of the JWT submission to Oxford City Council on SIAHAF’s planning application:

Between October 2013 and March 2014 the Jericho Wharf Trust worked with architects Haworth Tompkins to provide input on the requirements for community facilities on the Canalside site, and to respond to emergent design work.

Now that the planning application has been published and opened for public consultation we wish to make the following comments:

1. Proposed Facilities

  • The JWT accepts that the planning proposals provide the space needed for a viable boatyard and community centre; and for a public square (subject to satisfactory agreement with the Church Authorities)
  • We share the concern of the Directors of the Jericho Community Boatyard that the on-site moorings required for successful operation of the boatyard have not yet been allocated by Canal & River Trust
  • Jericho has a particular need for affordable housing and our own plans have always assumed full compliance with the City’s well established 50% requirement. We expect any alternative scheme to be similarly compliant, and assume the City Council will not be satisfied with a proposed provision of only 32% of housing units, 15% of housing space.

2. Development Viability

  • We do not believe that the scheme can be successfully delivered unless/until two key issues have been addressed by the developer The first of these issues is the affordability of the community facilities, now to be housed in one large and complex building which - we are told - will cost at least £1.6M (32%) more than the £5M estimate for the separate boatyard and community centre buildings designed into our own original scheme. The purpose of compressing the community facilities into one taller building on a smaller footprint is to allow the developer more space for private housing – generating a potential profit increase we estimate to be around £2.75M (see attached appendix for an analysis of the relevant economics). We expect the developer to use some of these additional profits to balance the increased costs. Otherwise the economic viability of the community facilities (a requirement of planning policy) is in very serious doubt.
  • The second key issue concerns the ownership and management of the public space. A vibrant and successful public square will be essential to the success of the scheme as a whole, but we have so far no clear nor agreed understanding of how this will be achieved. We need to know, for example, when and on what terms ownership would be transferred to the JWT on behalf of the community; and we cannot undertake the suggested management of the public space until we know what funding will be made available to achieve it.

We hope to resolve these concerns by working with SIAHAF to achieve a Collaborative Agreement which defines their resolution, and is in place before the planning application is considered by the West Area Planning Committee. We do not see how we can support the application unless this is achieved.