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Boatyard Campaign on Front Foot

Ear Witness | 10.08.2005 17:09 | Ecology | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | Cambridge | Oxford

The campaign for the Castle Mill Boatyard in Jericho is in high spirits today as it moves into the positive phase after a plan to build luxury homes on the site was rejected despite an appeal by the developers.

Following six days of submissions, a planning enquiry rejected the appeal brought by Bellway Homes and British Waterways and refused planning permission for luxury flats on the site of the boatyard in Barnabas St, Oxford. The only reason given in the lengthy report of the enquiry was the need for a boatyard that is "equally accessible". British Waterways has not investigated other possible sites, much less begun the process of establishing a new boatyard to serve the community, despite having promised to do so for three years.

Living on a boat is a positive, healthy and low-impact lifestyle compared to houses - not to mention affordable! That was officially recognised in Oxford in 1992 by measures to assist boaters, including the creation of new moorings known as Agenda 21 moorings. Agenda 21 was a commitment to sustainability promoted by the UN after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. All the boats in Oxford rely on having a boatyard near enough for parctical access for repairs and maintenance.
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The boatyard was handed vacant to British Waterways on the morning of Friday the 29th of July after the termination of the lease of Steve Goodlad, who ran the Alchemy Boats repair business there. But boaters and other Oxford residents occupied the site that afternoon and have remained there since. British Waterways posted security guards at the front gate but has now withdrawn them and the boating community is in control of the site.

Now following the rejection Bellway's and BW's appeal, the boatyard campaign is set to push forward enter the next stage, which could include drawing up plans of its own for the site. See for updates and visit the boatyard to get involved.

Ear Witness
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