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Defending the City’s decision on Jericho Wharf

Make your views known to the Planning Inspector

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We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure a fair development on this critical site – fair to the developer, to local residents, and to the City of Oxfrod

Posted November 07 2022

Cornerstone Land, the developer of the Jericho Wharf site, is appealing against the City Council’s refusal of planning permission. The Jericho Wharf Trust is actively supporting the Council's decision. Below we explain how you can strengthen our case by sending your views directly to the Planning Inspector before 21 November.

The Planning Inspectorate can consider appeals in several ways. At one end of the scale is a full-blown Inquiry with parties represented by barristers. We have already had two such appeals for this site, the first in 2005 by Bellway Homes, and the second in 2008 by Spring Residential – both of which were rejected. At the other end of the scale, the Inspector could simply base her or his decision on an exchange of documents.

The Cornerstone appeal takes a middle way – an ‘informal hearing’, which is cheaper than a planning inquiry, but has the disadvantage that, rather than considering the development as a whole, it is more likely to be to be confined to the Council’s’ grounds for refusal. While the councillors on the planning committee had also objected to the size of the square and the loss of the bridge, the planning officers confined the basis of refusal to the lack of affordable housing. 

The City has an affordable housing policy of 50 per cent. This may be offset by allowing for public facilities on the site, such as the boatyard or the community centre. The same developer had previously presented a plan that bargained the proportion down to 33 per cent  but then changed its mind with  a new proposal that reduced the size of the public square, removed the canal bridge, and eliminated social housing. It justified this U-turn with a strange viability assessment that undervalued the price of the commercial housing.

The hearing in January will take the form of discussion led by the Inspector. The Inspector will hear representations from Cornerstone and from the City, and will also read all the previous public comments on the proposed development. Residents, councillors and groups can speak, though at the discretion of the Inspector. Normally a hearing would only last a day or so. 

How can you best support this once-in-a-lifetime Jericho Wharf development? You can send a comment, either formally on the Planning Inspectorate website or by email. Comments will be accepted until November 21st

Points you might include are:

  • Oxford should defend its affordable housing policy 
  • Affordable housing should be in Jericho, where it is urgent needed, not elsewhere in Oxford, 
  • Jericho Wharf should be a truly mixed-use development, not dominated by commercial housing
  • Jericho Wharf has always required a well designed public square and a bridge across the canal. These should not be bargained away to increase the developer’s profit.

Email – To email the Inspectorate, use this address:  Ve.rt@planninginspectorate.gov.uk

Portal – To use the Planning Inspectorate portal, where you will need to register, click here

In either case you should use the reference APP/G3110/W/22/3308048.

The hearing will be at the Town Hall, St Aldates, Oxford, on 17th January 2023 starting at 10:00 am. A written decision typically follows several weeks later.