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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 21:26 GMT 22:26 UK
Author joins boatyard campaigners
Phillip Pullman
Phillip Pullman said he was honoured to help the campaigners
Author Phillip Pullman has joined the campaign to stop flats being built on the site of an historic boatyard on the canal in Oxford.

The 160-year-old site at Castle Mill, in Jericho, inspired the author in his trilogy, His Dark Materials.

In the story, the yard is home to the Gyptians, a group of boat people who befriend the heroine Lyra Belacqua.

At the weekend a boat at the site was renamed Lyra's Defiance after the character.

Mr Pullman said: "Some of the boat owners have read the book and saw that I was interested in the canal and the life of the canal and they invited me to come and join in their protests.

"I was very glad to do so and actually honoured to do so, especially when we have this boat named after my character Lyra - Lyra's Defiance.

"I think that sets the mood, defiance. We're going to do our best not to let this development take place."


Campaigners have been battling for years to save the Castle Mill boatyard from being developed.

In 2005, they barricaded themselves into the boatyard to stop bailiffs clearing the site after British Waterways sold it to developers.

They were evicted from the site earlier this year but have vowed to carry on fighting the plans to turn it into luxury flats.

Spring, the developers, declined to comment on the continued pressure from local residents.

The plans have not yet been approved by the city council and no date has been set to bring the matter before it.

Boatyard protestors refuse to go
15 May 06 |  Oxfordshire
Water bosses vow to sell boatyard
01 Mar 06 |  Oxfordshire
Boatyard eviction case adjourned
26 Oct 05 |  Oxfordshire
Historic boatyard wins reprieve
08 Aug 05 |  Oxfordshire
Protesters fight to save boatyard
02 Aug 05 |  Oxfordshire

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