34 North Hinksey Lane – my speech to Cttee

23 Mar 2016, planning committee refused this application. Here’s what I said on the night.

It’s my view that there is demonstrable evidence of significant harm to the community and to prospective residents of this development, which outweighs the benefits of increasing housing stock by 6.

An accumulation of harm stems from this being an over-development of the site. I have 6 points:

  1. Policy DG26 says density should be appropriate to the location and respond to the character of the existing settlement . This is a semi-rural area, with an average density of 9dph. The highest nearby is 16dph. This development is 42dph.
  2. Policy DG52 says roofs should be pitched unless there’s a strong justification. What is the justification for flat roofs here?
  3. Policy DG69 says height and location of apartments should respond to its context. Here, an acceptable height is achieved only by sinking the buildings into the ground, but the tradeoff is a gloomy inside space.
  4. Potential overlooking of neighbours has led to fixed, obscure glazed, small windows, adding to the gloom.
  5. Neighbours will experience overlooking, blockage of sky and daylight, and light intrusion from cars entering the steeply sloping car park.
  6. Amenity space is significantly below the minimum because retaining walls and hardstanding parking areas take all the space.  Please ask officer for exact details.

The officer’s report sums it up: it’s not in character with its surroundings, it’s too high a density, it’s too massive, it has unjustified flat roofs, and is more urban in design than its context. An overall negative impact on the character of the area.