Category Archives: West Way Development

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: http://cllrdebbyhallett.com/2017/06/27/west-way-call-in/

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.)

 

West Way consultation through 29 June

Mace have submitted plans for changes of use to support their re-phasing.

The application is for: Temporary planning consent for a period of 3 years for the change of use, relocation and addition of units at Botley Local Centre. Works also include alterations to access and egress arrangements, provision of 41 car parking spaces, partial demolition of Grant Thornton House, amendments to the phasing plan and installation of a portacabin (A1 use).

You can see the plans and Comment here:   http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/java/support/Main.jsp?MODULE=ApplicationDetails&REF=P17/V1507/FUL

Deadline for comments is 29 June, 5pm.

West Way Place – new phasing plans

Mace announced they have a new phasing plan for West Way Place development. Their new plan means 2 years less construction time overall, but it also means Botley loses some of our local services for the whole period.

At the Community Liaison Group meeting on the 10th of April, we heard officially about the new plans for phasing. Tesco, Co-op and Lloyds will be among the tenants temporarily housed in modified quarters in Elms Court and the old Grant Thornton building. This is to help with continuity of services to the local community during construction.

To see the plans, check out Mace’s West Way site, here: http://westwayconsultation.co.uk/ Use the contact tab on that site to ask about anything not already there. (They aren’t all there at the time of writing this, but I’ve asked that they be put up.) Particularly see this 2 page update.

It’s been upsetting to learn that community favourites, local independent businesses such as Cafe Aloha and Hair Therapy and the chain Iceland, which so many rely on, are closing down. Everyone had hoped they would continue during construction and be part of the new centre. Some discussions are still ongoing and are therefore sensitive and private. But the traders make their own decisions about what’s best for them and their circumstances.

Who approves the change to phasing plans?

Ultimately, the Vale planners do.

The developers obligations are set out in the Section 106 agreement, which is a legally binding contract about what the developers and other parties will do.

I’ve downloaded a copy of the s106 agreements to Dropbox , so you can see it here. Sadly it’s not searchable, so you have to browse it to find what you’re looking for. (I did ask Vale to fix this but they said they couldn’t. I’ll see what I can do.)

Para 5.5 (approx pg 10)  there gives authority to the Vale planners to agree any changes to the phasing plan (approx page 52). Our planning officer said he wanted the public to have sight of the proposed changes and to be able to comment on them. So he asked Mace to include the phasing changes in their imminent planning application for a temporary change of use, and they agreed to do that. Mace have said there will be public exhibitions and a chance to raise concerns and get your questions answered.

So we’re about to embark on another period of significant change here.

West Way Redevelopment – about to begin

Planning permission was granted in Sept 2016, and the time for judicial review has passed. Preparations are underway to begin Phase 1 of the redevelopment, which is at the eastern end of the site.

Mace resumed their community liaison group meetings last week, where they keep key players informed so that we can inform everyone else.

Mace brought along their likely construction partners, SDC Construction (see their website here: https://sdc.co.uk/). We heard from their MD and site manager about the way they plan to work. They’ll have a full time on site community liaison manager, who we can contact about any problems. One interesting thing is that they are a company owned by their employees, sort of like John Lewis, That means they are not answerable to shareholders and so are not after the cheapest solution. They are ‘considerate constructors’ to whom their good reputation is the most important thing. They have a clever plan to mitigate some of the construction traffic problems: they’ll hire space in the Seacourt Park & Ride for workers to park, and will run a shuttle to move workers between parking and the site. Good idea, I thought.

Occupants affected by Phase 1 (toward the eastern end of the site) will be moving to their temporary facilities beginning in January. Seacourt Hall and the Library will be re-homed into the precinct, and Andrews Dry Cleaning is moving into the old motor parts shop in Elm’s Parade.

Demolition for Phase 1 is scheduled to begin toward the end of Q1, and will take 3-4 months. Details will be available on the SDC and Mace websites, and once those are up and running the link will be widely available. There will be a webcam broadcasting 24/7. Might be a fun project for someone wants to regularly capture them and make a time lapse film of it? Who’s up for that?

Motion for £2m for affordable homes in Botley

UPDATE:

Tories tabled an amendment to our motion for Botley’s affordable housing, to make the motion read:

Council notes that the planning permission for West Way development in Botley, which includes 140+ new houses, will not include any provision of affordable housing. Council also notes that the developers have contributed £2,000,000 to off-site affordable housing.

Council will ring fence the contribution in lieu of affordable housing in the Affordable Housing earmarked reserve fund as has been the case with similar contributions. Priority will be given to funding schemes in North Hinksey area and Cumnor area and council asks officers to work with North Hinksey Parish Council, Cumnor Parish Council and local Members to identify suitable schemes.

As Council debated this motion, I said:

  • Vale policy is that for developments of more than 10 homes, 40% of them must be affordable. The applicants at West Way claimed their project was so risky and expensive that they couldn’t provide any affordable housing at all, but they offered £2,000,000 as a contribution to affordable housing elsewhere.
  • The people of Botley would like council to make it a priority to provide some affordable housing in Botley.
  • Our whole central area is to be demolished. We’re losing all our office space, and after the rebuild there will be fewer shops than we have now.
  • We need houses that are affordable to the working professionals who want to live here: teachers, nurses, university staff, etc.
  • Its not clear what sort of opportunities exist in Botley; we’re feeling rather full at the moment. But there are organisations that have creative models, such as Community Land Trusts, who build houses that will be permanently affordable for local people. Council can explore some of those options.

The motion passed, I’m happy to report. We now have £2,000,000 to support affordable housing schemes for Botley. If it isn’t spent in 10 years, it will go back to Mace. So let’s get busy.

——– Original post…

The Lib Dem councillors of the Vale have tabled a motion concerning affordable housing in Botley. Full council meeting 20 July is open to the public.

“Council notes that the planning permission for West Way development in Botley, which includes 140+ new houses, will not include any provision of affordable housing. Council also notes that the developers have contributed £2,000,000 to affordable housing elsewhere. This council believes in fair play, and that communities who accept new housing developments should benefit from developer contributions; therefore the council asks officers to take the necessary steps to ring fence this donation, and any future overage, for affordable housing in Botley, and to explore options for providing such affordable housing in Botley.”

We’ll try to get some Tory support for this. I can’t see how it’s party political.

Vale planners and committee made a mistake

They shouldn’t have accepted the Mace viability report as a good enough reason to not provide any affordable housing. It felt like no one was thinking this through.

During the planning meeting, every time this subject came up, and the planning officers explained it away as they did, I boiled a little more.

Mace submitted a viability report, where they quantified that this project would leave them with no profit if they had to comply with the Vale policy that required 40% of housing to be affordable housing (essentially, social housing or shared ownership).

Vale Head of Planning and the planning officer repeatedly explained to us that they had hired an independent consultant, who verified that what Mace said was true. He told us this several times. Each time I wanted to jump out of my seat (I was in the audience, so not allowed to participate in the ‘debate’).

Not one member of committee was clever enough, or brave enough, to point out that what our independent consultant said was not the point. No one was saying Mace’s claim wasn’t true. Everyone was saying that, since it WAS true, their planning application should be refused as the whole development wasn’t economically viable. In other words, if you can’t do what’s required, well then, permission is refused.

I don’t consider it valid to say that this project is so risky and expensive that we can’t comply with the affordable housing policy. But that’s what the 8 Tories decided. And since a consultant said it was true, the planning officers went with it too.

Why was it that the Tories on the planning committee accepted this without question? In fact, why did three of them have no questions at all, and not participate in the debate? I’m on a slow burn. Furious.

 

What I said about West Way 

From Oxford Mail’s live blog:

Cllr Debby Hallet said: “The Botley SPD was adopted 18 January this application is 28 January clearly there was not time for it to inform this application.

“The NPPF tells us we have to have regard with recommendations from the design panel. 

“Affordable housing, car parking and viability.

“It offers 321 spaces all the parking is unallocated, we learned 188 spaces are intended for the residents of the flats this was larger than the figure used in transport analysis which 122.

“The hotel has 123 rooms, would a reasonable person expect 50 carparking spaces for those rooms?

“I predict some students will bring cars to the area – where will they all park? The SPD requires adequate parking.

“The Vale most urgent need is affordable family homes but this development provides none.

“Today we learned developers are not providing starter homes. Today we learned officers settled for a commuted payment. This is very disappointing.

“This plan is unviable and undeliverable.

“If it is not an economical, sustainable plan it should be refused.

“The developer’s viability report has come as a result of an FOI request.

“In the letter we see today from nicola Blackwood she called for it to be public.

“In the report they expect very low profit. This is when it is at the highest end it could be expected.

“Business space will be far away from other offices in Botley so they may struggle to find occupiers.

“The only office that exists is on the second floor of the community hub.

“The developer profit is below acceptable – I worry about this, these are my neighbours and colleagues.

“But when they admit that their proposal does not make economic sense, surely we should say no to this?”

That Georgina Campbell is one good reporter. See live blog here.

West Way to be redeveloped

Last night Vale’s planning committe voted 8 to 3 to approve Mace’s West Way planning application. We had a good chance, but it didn’t happen. 

I’m disappointed in the decision. 

But WWCC and Botley’s residents and your local councillors worked hard and well together. We did absolutely the best we could over the past four years. I felt quite emotional last night. I’m so proud, and well done to all. 

Some leftover pieces:

I don’t understand why North Hinksey Parish Council decided to not object. A planning committee member noted that since they and other statutory consultees didn’t object, committee couldn’t refuse the application simply because they didn’t like it. Also neither parish council requested any S106 money for local playing fields. I’m curious about why not. 

In the new West Way (will it have a new name?) there will be fewer retail shops than now (20 vs 30), nearly all the office space will be lost, and we’ll have a residential led development with no affordable housing and no starter homes.  

As Tony Wood said to me last night, this is democracy in action. I do still believe it’s the best system anyone has come up with. 

The good points: Co-op will be staying as the anchor store. We heard Cafe Aloha will be part of the new centre too. 

Another good point: it’s Mace. They’ll continue to be the consultative partner they’ve been all along. 

Two odd bits that some residents noticed:

  • There is apparently a letter from Brookes university that they will be taking on the student housing. That’s a relief because we feared no one would want to be in Botley. But some people point out that the letter is from someone who’s retired from Brookes? They’ll be looking into that. 
  • The other odd thing is that, although there will be no affordable housing in the development, Mace have made a contribution of £2,000,000 in lieu. A question by a committee member revealed that this money isn’t ring fenced for affordable housing in Botley but will go back into the Vale wide budget. IMO, the community who suffers the pain should have some gain. A discussion for another day. 

West Way concern have raised the bar for community activism. The incredible amount of focused work over years on the Main Thing has been awe inspiring. As I’ve been known to say, ‘The Main Thing is to keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.’ We did excel at that, didn’t we?

Thank you to everyone. 

But wait. I thought the sales contract requires this development to have a cinema? 

What’s changed in two years in West Way plans?

Comparison Mace and Doric footprint-page-001 Comparison Mace and Doric footprint-page-002Here’s a comparison of the site from Doric 2014, vs Mace 2016.

What has changed? What has not changed?
The footprint is smaller, which is an improvement. The site now excludes Elms Parade, Field House, the Vicarage

 

The price paid for the site, and thus the need for even greater mass and scale, an over-development, for commercial viability
Height and massing now concentrated SE side of site, more overlooking of Arthray Road.

 

Excessive height and massing. Continuous blocks including accommodation overlooking A34
Taller buildings, meaning increased shadow and wind tunnel effects from narrow spaces between them

 

Community’s need for high quality public open spaces, community gathering places. See the Botley SPD.
Moved pedestrian crossing on West Way.

 

 

Additional traffic on West Way, Arthray Road, Westminster Way, pollution.
Through route from Westminster Way, east to west across site, removed. Increased usage of the rat run from Arthray Rd to West Way, which will be shared by cars, pedestrians, delivery lorries.

 

Still inadequate parking. Approx 320 spaces. 140 residential units to get one permit each, 123 room hotel needs ~50 spaces, 248 FTE staff need ~150 spaces. Not enough onsite parking
Internal traffic system has no segregation of pedestrian and delivery routes

 

Poor access for cycles, disabled. Inconvenient cycle parking.
Car parking areas administered as single unit but not interconnected Multilevel parking, with conflict of use between hotel guests, students, shoppers, and predicted overflow of parking into streets, requiring CPZ

 

There is no cinema, and no cinema-related leisure activity, no gym, no business units.

 

The sales contract still requires a cinema. The SPD suggests a cinema is required for viability.

 

525 student rooms in clusters with shared amenities, changed to 262 self-contained studios with little shared space. It’s not clear what category of students aimed for, as this configuration not favoured by undergrads.

 

The plans include student accommodation without University support. Everyone thinks it’s realistic to expects a ban on cars to work.
Additional residential accommodation (140 flats). Places extra strain on infrastructure and creates residential-commercial conflict

 

No affordable housing
Residential-led development replaces retail-led development; large supermarket has been replaced by supermarket no bigger than current,  with no guarantee of top up food stores

 

Retail spaces designed and priced for national retailers, squeezing out independent local traders
Changed from large predicted retail impact to no predicted retail impact on neighbouring centres.

 

No increased benefit to local shoppers. Still a significant reduction in number of retail spaces.
Old plan separated delivery arrangements from car parks. Now deliveries use same route as car park traffic and pedestrians, going through the site, Arthray Road to unload in a lay-by. Smaller deliveries and refuse collection from front of units and car parks. Still a need to use stairs to get around the site, if unable to find space in the right level in the car park
One large block 8 storeys high changed to a number of blocks 5 to 8 storeys high. No change in how this will appear in the visual impression, as the gaps between buildings are so small that from most angles it’s just the mass and height that’s noticed.

 

Company’s name. Doric Properties recently changed their name to Botley Development Corporation. And then the original owners  founded a new company called Doric Properties.

 

The company who is bringing this proposal forward. Mace bought a controlling interest in Doric Properties 1 prior to the last planning application.
Too large supermarket, changed to too small supermarket. Goldilocks comment here – need one that’s ‘just right’ Developers refuse to produce scale model. Officers, local members, residents groups, and the design panel have all repeatedly requested one. WWCC commissioned one, but it can’t be shown because it’s not ‘official’.

 

Student management plan names an experienced student accommodation management company Student management plan still geared toward undergrads who all move in at the same time and attend the same university. But this housing is intended for grads, visiting academics etc.

 

Oxford Brookes University is in discussion with developers about the student accommodation

 

Oxford University do not plan to use this housing as it’s inappropriate. See Baroness Deech’s comments and Professor Priestley’s analysis (they probably both will email you, but you can see their comments on the Vale website).

 

Community hall and Baptist church are now  ‘semidetached’ facility with space constraints.

 

Baptist church and CofE church still have two separate halls, rather than a shared facility.
No office space – Doric included space for incubator / start-ups

 

Loss of 90% of existing office space on the site
Developers offer 10% ‘starter homes’. It’s unclear whether that’s 10% of all homes or just 10% of the increase. It’s either 14 or 13 houses.

 

Zero affordable housing.
Developers are negotiating for a contribution of cash to use for affordable housing elsewhere. Oxford Mail this week names £2,000,000 (link to Oxford Mail article) Oxford City have policies in place for financial contributions in lieu of affordable housing provision. By those policies, Mace would have to contribute over £7,000,000 to affordable housing elsewhere. (I’ll write to you about this.)

 

Highest point of the development has moved south, further away  from the corner of West Way and Westminster Way The problems of over-dense development, height, scale, massing and visibility from outside the area is all attributable to the east end of the site. Still the same amount of development in that end of the site; same height buildings, approximately same number of people living there.

 

The first reason for rejection of the previous plan was size, bulk, scale, height and massing. Planning Officer on that occasion said this was outweighed by economic benefit. Planning Committee didn’t agree.

 

This time, he’s making the same argument, para 7.51 – but economic benefit is even less this time, so how can he say that first reason for refusal is overcome?

 

No gym now

 

Public loos are still in
Original 110 room hotel now grown to 123 room hotel No parking provision for hotel guests
More than 140 new permanent residents for North Hinksey parish, increasing the strain on local infrastructure. No financial contribution for extra doctors at local surgery, more dentists, local sports halls and fields