Resolving the reasons for call-in on West Way 1507

I feel that all of the reasons I gave for calling in this application have been satisfactorily addressed by Mace (et al), so I have today 24 July 17, cancelled my call-in. 

Here’s the path taken to resolving my reasons for call-in.

  • ‘Content’ means I am satisfied that all that can be done is being done.
  • ‘Open’ means there are still actions to take to resolve it. (Update 24 Jul  17: nothing remains open.)

As aide memoire, see my reasons here:

The numbers here refer to my reason there. Updated 14 Jul 2017. Updated 24 Jul 2017

  1. Content. Accessibility of temporary shops: there’s no evidence of consultation with Vale’s equalities officer. All the shops and services must be accessible to wheelchairs. People with mobility scooters need to be able to access the shops. Suggest Cheryl needs to assess the plans and offer her opinions. (Update 14 Jul 17, her name has been added to list of consultees. I’ll speak to her about it. Once she is content, I am content. Update 24 Jul 2017: Equalities Officer has been consulted, and the issues she raised addressed. There are three public toilets in the temporary shops: Grant Thorton Building, Lloyd’s and the cafe. At least one of them will be accessible.  Mace will look to include a ‘Space to Change’ facility in the final development. The lift will access the 1st and 2nd floor in the Grant Thornton building.)  
  2. Content. All shops must be accessible by everyone. Wheelchairs, walking aids, double buggies. These are our only shops. Does the ramp into Lloyds Chemist work for all? Where will mobility scooters be parked? (Update. As above. Once the Equalities officer has assessed and is content, I’m content. Update 24 Jul 17. Mobility scooters may be parked under the existing canopy by unit 25. At Co-op there is room inside the store. Equalities officer is content with accessibility, so I am content.)
  3. Content. Shops must be safely accessible to cyclists, with safe, secure parking in the plans. Suggest applicant’s consultants meet with a rep of two from local cycling organisations to ensure access and parking are safe and secure. (Update: Mace has agreed to a meeting with representative from local cycling organisations.  A list of invitees is with them today, and they are oganising the meeting. Update 24 Jul 17: I attended a meeting with representatives of local cycling organisations, and Mace (et al). Our discussions were wide-ranging, including issues related  to where consent has already been given, and where plans for management are still to come. Mace (et al) have agreed to more cycle stands in convenient locations, and a new access to the temporary shops on the north boundary of the site. Cyclists share the roads and access routes with cars, pedestrians, refuse lorries, delivery vehicles and construction vehicles. This discussion led to some changes to improve cyclist safety, without compromising the other road users. The banksman will be placed up near West Way, some convex mirrors will be placed to improve cyclists’ visibility (subject to OCC approval), and more signage to raise everyone’s awareness.)
  4. Content. Since the promise was to maintain services, it seems inarguable that a ground floor or completely accessible café should be required to be within this temporary shopping area. (Update. It’s not Mace’s job to provide a cafe; but they are willing to support the effort if a plan comes to them. They have a space available.) 
  5. Content. Pavements and cross walks. Pavements at the entrance to cross walks must be large enough to accommodate the crush of parents and pupils at morning and afternoon school run time. (Update. I’d like to get opinion from county expert on the school children’s safety at the crossing, and if it is relocated and redesigned, assurances (with evidence) from County that the relocation of the crosswalk is safe. And the pavement widths if they have to accommodate more children and parents waiting to cross at the busy times. Update 24 Jul17: This is related to a previous planning application where consent has been given. County were happy it was safe.)
  6. Content. Bus stops on Westminster Way. How will these be accessed? If there’s no pavement on the west side of the street (and there is already no pavement on the east side) how will people get to the bus stops? Will they be relocated? To where, and what’s the pedestrian route? There is one stop outside the Baptist church, not considered in the plans. When the pavement is closed off, what will people do to get to the bus? (Update: the pavements will remain open. There was an error in one of the drawings in the Design & Access Statement showing them closed off. Only short temporary closures are required for utilities work and that will all be managed by OCC, with temporary pathways around. Bus stops will be open.)
  7. Content. New vehicle access at East end of Elms Parade: the proposed new two way access from West Way is very close to both the main signaled intersection, and the crosswalk leading to and from Botley School. It repeats a design that used to be there and was closed for safety reasons. It should not be reopened until safety of cyclists and pedestrians is assured. It may mean moving the school crosswalk, or temporary traffic lights at the new junction. Safety must be assured. (Update: I’d like to know from County Council why it was closed long ago (we hear it was a safety issue), and how conditions are different now that make this safe. Update 24 Jul 17: this is related to a previous application for which consent has already been given. So it is out of scope for this planning application. I’ll still pursue it, but out of interest rather than out of necessity.)
  8. Content. School access. During morning and afternoon school run times, where will parents park and what route will they take, either from their cars if they drive, or from their homes, to school? Suggest transport consultants visit the area at 8:45am and 3:00 on a school day and offer a realistic and safe solution. (Update. The transport consultants (et al) have visited the site at crush hour on school days and feel confident there is enough parking to handle it all. Realistically, I feel this will sort itself out and people will find a way to do it, even if it means parking further away, as on Poplar Rd or Seacourt Rd or Arthray Rd and walking a different route.) 
  9. Content. Traffic modelling/Transport statement. It relies on trip projections for the final centre, a medium sized supermarket with flats and cafes. These temporary shops will bring different trip rates. The discussion of that is worth having, and an assessment of whether the provided parking and turning space is adequate for a high-trip-rate convenience store based centre. Suggest the planners and applicant’s consultant meet with local transport specialists to iron this out. (Update. Mace agreed to meeting with concerned local residents, but no one from Botley was available to do it.) 
  10. Content. Construction workers and park and ride. It’s been confirmed by Oxford City (via email) that Seacourt Park and Ride can be used by construction workers’ vehicles, and that this is likely to result in the site being full. (City claims it’s often full; County claims its rarely full.) So where will people who currently use it park instead? And the builders, when it is full?  Also any vans over 2m high will not be able to use the P&R. Suggest: developers put together a Plan B for when the P&R is full or builders drive tall vehicles, and address enforceability. (Update: plan B is an open field somewhere, and a hired coach or van to shuttle the workers. We have to monitor against builders parking in local streets. The developers are committed to solving problems as they arise. Large vehicles won’t use P&R; they will be parked on site. ) 
  11. Content. No evidence Cumnor Parish council were included in this consultation. (Update: I checked. Cumnor Parish council responded but only said they support my reasons for call-in. This was a Vale error, not Mace’s.)
  12. Content.  (Update: I have read Neil Rowley’s responses to County and an content with much of it. I await County’s reply; if they are content, I am content. Update 24 Jul 17: a Construction Management Plan will be submitted. I am content to let County’s respondents decide this. I don’t need to hold things up waiting for them.) County Highways object as follows:
    1. GIA data has errors
    2. DAS, Agent’s letter and Transport statement are in contradiction with each other and ‘overall the proposals are not coherent’.
    3. Parking space numbers are inconsistent. Is it 38 spaces, 41, or 42 spaces?
    4. Applicant did not discuss with highways the changes intended to the approved plans.
    5. A robust construction management plan expected but not yet produced. In fact, it’s more than ‘expected’; it’s required by condition 12 of the permission given.
    6. These temporary plans for access contravene the approved plans in significant ways.
  13. Content. County asks Vale to consult their in-house ecologist. I don’t see such inclusion in the list of consultees. (Update: The Countryside Officer IS the ecologist.)
  14. Content. Significant safety issues: construction and delivery vehicles compete with extant traffic plus shoppers’ vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and school children. See the particulars of this in the comments of Dr Mary Gill. (Update: We’ve identified these main safety issues:
    1. The Barclay Bank access at Church Way is already a place where drivers wait for clear space to move ahead. People park on yellow lines to use the cash point. There isn’t clear room for two cars to pass at the entrance to Elms Parade car park (there’s that odd stick-outy pavement by the ex-car part shop). Pedestrians use both sides of Church Way. Cycles, buses, pedestrians and cars pass the entrance there, and this plan adds construction vehicles as well. Can we improve the access by changing the shop-front pavement at the west end of the parade car park? Also, that entrance needs some control.
    2. The proposed new access has the same problems, plus it has possibly more children and parents on their way to and from school, AND delivery vehicles for the temporary shops.
    3. What is the proposed route for rubbish and recycling vehicles for the temporary shops, and where is the rubbish storage area for the two food shops in particular?
    4. Could it help to allow one way east-bound traffic behind the Elms parade shops? For people who want to exit the temporary shops and go right at the Church Way exit, it would mean they didn’t have to negotiate the parade car park sat the front of Elm’s Parade.)
    5. (Update 24 Jul 17: Banksmen at the Church Way access into and out of Elms Parade will assure traffic flows safely, and will prevent double parking that blocks everyone. Rubbish and Recycling will use the two loading bays as delivery vehicles. There’s not enough space to have traffic travel behind the Elms Parade shops.)
  15. Content. The Botley SPD, adopted by Vale Cabinet in the face of vehement objection by the local community and ward members, MUST be adhered to. The SPD says: ‘Service vehicle traffic should be directed to a dedicated access and servicing facility accessed from Westminster Way, thus avoiding public areas and minimising service vehicle movements on residential streets’. The consented plans didn’t comply with this requirement. Neither does this plan. (Update: see above response on item 14. Also, we’ll cover this at the cyclists meeting. Update 24 Jul 17: There has been much discussion on the left in and left out configuration. The only evidence I’ve seen is that this is the safest way for construction vehicles to access the site. It also to minimise disruption to traffic flow. The extra precautions for cyclists (mentioned elsewhere in this doc) are intended to further safeguard their travel in Botley during construction. Any problems must be reported immediately to the constructors’ site manager, so it can be managed appropriately.)
  16. Content (17/7/17)From Dr Mary Gill: ‘If the Council are minded to accept the amendment to the S106 agreement for P0246/FUL to allow this re-phasing, then the contribution to be made in lieu of affordable housing needs also to be revisited. Under P0246/FUL, the development was deemed to be deliverable and viable, provided that no affordable housing was included. The re-phased development will save cost, and hence a larger contribution should be requested.’ That seems to me to be a fair point. (Update: I’ll speak to Adrian Duffield, Head of Planning, about the expected viability report on Friday 14th July.) (17 July. After speaking with Adrian Duffield, I am content. Any change in the viability report as a result of more information from the constructors doesn’t increase profits. It brings down costs which were forecast before the constructors had the detailed estimates necessary for realistic costing. It’s as likely that the original plan relied on inaccurate costing. Once we see the viabilty report, which will be publicly viewable, we can address the specifics. We will know the figures then.)