Castlemill Boatyard developer goes bust

Published: Saturday, 04 April 2009

THERE will certainly be no new plans for the controversial development of Castlemill Boatyard on the Oxford Canal at Jericho—the company has gone bust, Alan Tilbury relates.

Castlemill Securities, the owner of Spring Residential the company behind the project to build on the former boatyard, has gone into liquidation, so there are now no plans whatsoever for the site.

Ever since British Waterways sold-off the site to the first developer who lost the fight with the objectors, who had banded together to save the boatyard, the development has been surrounded by controversy as plans have been put forward and rejected against fierce opposition.

Castlemill Securities is also behind other developments, including a £100 millions regeneration of Frideswide Square in Oxford, that will now be stopped.

The developer follows an ever lengthening line of other waterside developers being hit be the recession, calling in the administrators.

There is however no mistaking the joy of the campaigners, Jericho Living Heritage Trust, delighted with the complete collapse of development at the former boatyard, which has given the campaigners new hope for the eventual restatement of boating facilities at the site.

It has been confirmed that they have already opened discussions with the administrator about the future of the site, and hopeful the recession has provided the trust with an opportunity to save the boatyard.

Though Oxford City Council backed the campaigners in their attempt to preserve a little of the city's heritage at Jericho, it is however now suffering a major setback in the demise of the Frideswide Square project, considered one of the biggest regeneration projects in the city’s recent history. The project was to include housing, shops, restaurants and hotels around the square.

Spring Residential plans to build 54 flats at the former Castlemill Boatyard, created one of the biggest protest campaigns seen in Oxford for years, as often reported in narrowboatworld, with the boatyard campaign supported by Oxford author Philip Pullman and Inspector Morse actor Kevin Whately. Spring acquired the site from British Waterways for £4 millions.

It was last October that a planning inspector ruled that the company’s building plans could not go ahead.