A jewel in a sea of green. July 2017 blog.

A jewel in a sea of green. July 2017 blog.

The OPT team were down at Hinksey Meadow recently celebrating National Meadows Day, enjoying the sunshine and sharing and celebrating in this wonderful piece of meadowland which people tell us has been managed like this for a thousand years.

It is full of flowers and plants and is a proper ‘green lung’ for the people of the City, hidden in behind the Botley Road and open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and free to all. 

However, we are all worried about the effect of the suggested Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS), and how it will change the character of the area...

FAS at Hinksey Meadows

The current public consultation asks people to choose between bench designs and bridge parapets styles, but surely these are a side issue when compared with the change to the character of Willow Walk? This route runs down the side of the meadow and is a popular and characterful route, where town meets country.  We hate to think how it will be spoilt and are trying to make sure that everyone knows what might happen and has their say.   We have asked the Environment Agency for better drawings and photomontages to show what might happen when trees are cleared and larger bridges and upgraded road surfaces put in – we feel the public has a right to know whether or not they embrace the ideas behind the scheme.  

We are also keeping an eye on the early plans for placing spoil around Hinksey Heights Golf Course and Chilswell (Happy) Valley which is popular with local runners and walkers.  We push to be able to understand the impact from the publicly accessible towers in the centre of Oxford looking out to the green backdrop of the city. 

Housing, Oxford Views and Green Spaces: where is the overall plan?

Oxford is under pressure from all sides, with the government keen to develop the Oxford to Cambridge Arc out towards Milton Keynes and local Councils intent on housing at all costs, virtually ignoring green belt restrictions.  There are suggestions for housing on the North Oxford Golf Course, at Yarnton, Kennington, Radley and Abingdon, Culham, Wheatley and Berinsfield.  Add these together, throw in large areas at Chalgrove and Eynsham, and those sites the speculators will bring forward that we don’t yet know of and the cracks will show.  What of the quality of our remaining green belt, our roads, schools and pollution levels?

In Oxford the local plan talks of building high within the green hills and views and on green belt sites at Marston and elsewhere.  The City Council publishes visions to 2036 and and to 2050, whilst the County Council has a different vision altogether.  OPT might not do politics, but we do have a role in place-making, in green spaces and good design.  It is time to get all Oxford/shire people to come together and have our say in shaping our City and County for the future before it is too late

OPT will be calling for a review of the Green Belt and for what is designated to be made permanent.  If a piece of Green Belt land has to go then add another piece to compensate - and this time make it permanent.  We are here waiting in the wings to accept this land to add to the 650 acres we currently own.

Next week we will hear the outcome of the application to build high at Templars Square, Cowley which is recommended for approval.   We don’t think high rise makes for good communities nor do we think they should be built in Oxford where they are so visible from the surrounding hills.  We are only sorry that the City Council are deciding this now in advance of the current consultation into the Local Plan.  Click here for more details

 https://www.oxford.gov.uk/localplan

Oxford Open Doors is coming...

We are just putting the finishing touches to this year’s programme ‘Hidden Oxford’ 4th – 10th September and have some amazing new places, as well as the old favourites.   The brochure will be on the members’ doorsteps in the first week of August, and don’t forget to look out for the special OPT members programme in the days leading up to the weekend.

If you are not already a member of OPT, join now and get access to exclusive Oxford Open Door events as well as the brochure delivered directly to your door.  Click here to join us

http://bit.ly/OPTmembership

Have a great summer.

From the OPT team 

Oxford Preservation Trust is passionate about protecting Oxford’s extraordinary and wonderful past and guiding its exciting future.  Since 1927 we’ve been the custodians of land and buildings with its fingers of green running into and through the City, where ‘town meets country’.  Every year we work hard to make Oxford more accessible so that this ‘jewel in a sea of green’ can be shared and enjoyed by all. We are grateful to our members and volunteers for their time and donations which allows us to carry out this important work.

We wanted the opportunity to tell you about some of the causes and projects close to our hearts, so here we report on what’s happening behind the scenes in the busy OPT offices in July.  We hope you find this informative.  If you’d like any further details on what we do, or would like to become a member and help support us in our causes - please visit our website

www.oxfordpreservation.org.uk