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Trust in talks to buy boatyard from administrators
7:00pm Friday 15th February 2013 in News
COMMUNITY leaders have re-opened negotiations for the “last chance” to save Jericho boatyard.
Council and community leaders are hoping to buy the boatyard from administrators for new moorings, housing and a community centre.
It was shut in 1992 when Orchard Cruisers quit the site, then run by British Waterways.
A 2007 plan to develop it for housing by Spring Residential was thrown out by Oxford City Council.
Spring Residential then went into administration and campaign group The Jericho Wharf Trust is now in negotiations with administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The trust’s Tony Joyce said: “Discussions are still on-going and we are glad that they have now been resumed after a very long interval.
“At this stage we cannot say how long it will be before we reach an agreement and it is still early days.”
Negotiations between the administrators and the community had been put on hold in 2011 while PwC held talks with third parties with “material interests” involving issues such as rights of way.
Simon Kenton, a boater who is moored at Wolvercote, said: “Having a boatyard is vital. Boats are like everything else – you have got to work on them to make sure they are safe.
“A boatyard can be a place where not only you can go along for repairs and DIY but it is also a hub for boaters.”
The demise of the Jericho boatyard began in 1992 when Orchard Cruisers ceased to operate.
Since then there have been a number of attempts to develop the site. One of the most notable events in the boatyard’s history was in 2006 with the forcible eviction of the boaters moored there.
In 2007 the site was purchased by Spring Residential which put forward a planning application but this was turned down first by the city council and then by a planning inspector.
Two years later Spring Residential went into administration and the site ended up in the hands of PwC.
Trust secretary David Feeny said: “This is pretty much the last development site of any significance left in Jericho so we see it as a last chance to create a community space that is lacking.
“A developer would make that site housing-centric whereas if we buy the site we would seek to make it a community-centric site.”
The trust includes groups like the Jericho Community Association and the St Barnabas Parochial Church Council.
PwC spokesman David Jetuah declined to comment on the negotiations.
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