New plans offer essential community facilities but only a small public square

The community facilities are on the left, and the commercial housing on the right

The Jericho Wharf project is underway again and hopefully moving fast.

Posted - Jul 31, 2020

This time the Jericho Wharf Trust, will be working not just with Jericho Wharf Regeneration Company but also the Oxford-based company Cornerstone Land

JWT Chair Phyllis Starkey says: “We are delighted to be working with Cornerstone. As a local partner, they can help drive this much needed project to completion. The Canalside site represents a unique opportunity to provide urgently needed facilities within a scheme that can enhance both Jericho and Oxford as a whole. The Boatyard will give critical support to Oxford’s boating community. And the current emergency has highlighted the importance of safe social activity in a modern Community Centre.”

However, Jericho Wharf must also have vibrant outdoor public space. We believe that the proposed ‘piazza’ will not deliver this. It is too small and oddly shaped to accommodate many standard street stalls, for example, or offer sufficient space for concerts or other public events. The encroachment by private housing also makes the piazza less welcoming for passers-by and diminishes the essential view from the canal of the Grade I-listed St Barnabas Church.

The piazza will also be affected by the flow of pedestrians, cyclists and disability scooters across the canal bridge. The bridge design has a stairlift that moves across it, and will clearly need a well-qualified assessment to consider the impact on the piazza, and ensure that the proposed bridge meets everyone’s needs.

The plans allow for the community facilities to be completed in two Phases. Phase 1, which is to be built by the developer, would comprise most of the boatyard but only around half of the community centre. Phase 2, which will be funded by the JWT, would offer the rest of the community centre – adding the pre-school and the meeting rooms and office spaces that can ensure that the Jericho Wharf project as a whole is financially sustainable. The JWT aims to ensure that both phases can be built together.

The plans have now been registered with the City Council planners. This triggers the start of a period of consultation.

The plans may be viewed by searching on the City Council Planning Site for 20/01276/FUL

You may also be able to see them by clicking on this link.

The deadline for submitting comments is 16/9/20 though Officers will take comments after that, and they will be reported to the Committee, however they may not appear in the written report.

Aerial view of the piazza (in brown) and the canal bridge

The new community centre (top) is over the boatyard. The existing centre building (the Church Institute—right) would be converted for affordable housing.