Safeguarding this space

Left to right: the site includes the Dawson Place garages alongside the Church, the car park currently rented by College Cruisers, the previous boatyard dock, and the canal frontage to the bottom of Great Clarendon Street. Note the delineation is only approximate. This site, which was originally publicly owned, is the last possible location in Jericho for community facilities and affordable housing. 

We must re-assert community priorities for this critical site.

Posted - Apr 29, 2022

The Jericho Wharf site is again in limbo. On March 23rd the City Council rejected Cornerstone's proposal that shrunk the public space on the site and completely eliminated social housing. Councillors on the Planning Committee were surprised to discover that the basis for this downgraded development was a financial viability assessment that was based on house prices in Barton and Wolvercote and took no account of the ‘Jericho premium’.

The Cornerstone proposal had also been roundly rejected earlier, in the public consultations, by residents of Jericho, Rewley Park, Walton Manor and beyond – primarily because of the lack of social housing and a bridge into the square, as well as the diminished public space. 

What next? Cornerstone could appeal, and has six months to do so. Or it could make a new proposal. At the same time, however, both the City and the community must now take stock of what this site can deliver for the public benefit, bearing in mind that it was originally wholly publicly owned – mostly by British Waterways, which owned the boatyard, and by the City Council which still owns the Dawson Place garages.

For this purpose, the Jericho Wharf Trust is in discussions with the City and County Councils and is presenting strong ideas on the vision of Jericho Wharf as a crucial waterside hub for Jericho and for Oxford as a whole. We are also engaged in productive meetings with the successor organization to British Waterways, the Canal and River Trust, about options for the bridge into the square.

This is proving to be a long and protracted process.  But we need to get this right. It could be the last chance to get the Jericho Wharf development back on track.