Campaigners led by Philip Pullman are celebrating a victory in the fight to save a historic Oxford boatyard.

Last Wednesday, planning inspector Ava Woods rejected a proposal to build 54 housing units in Jericho’s Castle Mill Boatyard.

The plans by Spring Residential, a property company who bought the site in 2006, were deemed ‘out of place’ and ‘sterile’, by the inspector, who echoed Pullman’s earlier concerns.

The Exeter College alumnus had feared that the boatyard, which featured in the His Dark Materials trilogy, would be reduced to ‘a cluster of identikit houses’. Pullman, however, said the survival of the boatyard is not yet guaranteed, “it’s a very good result but it is only a stage on the way to restoring a full working boatyard.”