Issue 49— December 2001
for Bellway Homes
On November 29, after more than seven years of false starts and many plans and consultations, British Waterways announced their developer for the canal site behind St. Barnabas Church. Bellway Homes are to carry out a mixed use development which could include a restaurant, community centre, housing, boat hire operation, restaurant boat base and public open space.
This is a crucial site for Jericho. And British Waterways agrees that it is important to have a design solution which not only delivers an attractive environment to live, work or spend leisure time in, but one that is also sensitive to the historic character of the place. The development will also include a new pedestrian and cycle bridge for better access to the station.
This site has a further significance for the people of Jericho since it is to include a new Community Centre to replace the Church-owned Victorian building on Canal Street when the lease expires in 2005. For this purpose, the City Council have offered to contribute extra land to allow the development to include a new Centre somewhere on the site. Moreover, on October 10 the Council published Development Guidelines for this site which expect a financial contribution towards a new Community Centre to come from the redevelopment of the site.
Bellway Homes, which is the UKs fifth largest house builder, has just completed another development in Oxford Cardinal Court on the site of the old Post Office sorting office in Oxpens Road. They were one of four developers bidding for the canal site. One of the other developers had consulted with the Community Association. We backed their proposal which included a Centre of almost 8,000 square feet the size at which it becomes financially sustainable.
Earlier this year the Community Association also carried out an extensive survey of what local people wanted. Many people wanted more public open space, feeling that Jericho lacked a clear focal point. They said that the facilities they would be most likely to use at the new Centre would be a café, a functions hall, a space for music and small concerts, a gym, and rooms for adult education. People also wanted more activities for children and young people.
Two Jericho businesses also have a vital interest in what happens next the boat hire company, College Cruisers, and the cruising restaurant, Rosamund the Fair, whose owner Tim Matthews initiated the proposals that British Waterways rejected last year.
Bellway say that they will make their intentions clear when they apply for planning permission early in the new year. The Community Association hopes to work closely with them and the City Council to make sure that what goes forward meets local needs.
George Taylor, Great Clarendon Street.