Latest planning projects
We continue to work on all matters related to the Oxford Views. We have recently written to the University and the Oxford Times on Castle Mill calling on the University to take the buildings down after 25 years – they are poor buildings, and they need to go, so that the site can be redeveloped more sympathetically.
We are engaging with the City Council in their early consultations on the revised Oxford Local Plan, and with the University over their ideas to develop at Osney Mead, which relate to one another. It is clear that the parties want to build high at both Oxpens and Osney Mead, and together withour neighbours at Westgate which buildings we watch grow up and up daily, the views from the Western Hills are at risk. (Osney Mead was the planned site for the University’s Book Depository in 2007 which was refused permission on Appeal). Luther Court in Oxpens, the bright red building by Folly Bridge, is very prominent in the view nowadays, so materials, and how sunlight and shade work, matters as well as heights. We work closely with Nuffield College on their Island site between the College and the Station and down to the Ice Rink and are hopeful that they will want to do the right thing.
We at least have the Oxford Views Study 2015 Part I to call on. However, we now need to commission Part II Oxford Views from the City looking outwards and are talking to our partners at the City Council and Historic England on this. We were sorry when the West Way Shopping Centre was given permission and worry about the effect on views outwards from Carfax, something that we will be able to judge for ourselves if it is now built.
We are engaged in the SODC and VOWH Local Plans and the nibbling away at the Green Belt. We continue to call for a comprehensive Study rather than this ad hoc approach.
Rail improvements and electrification and the impact at Port Meadow are a cause for concern. We have started a dialogue with Network Rail, as we are all too aware of the impact of the Gantrees at Goring Gap and are fearful of the effect these at Oxford.
Each week we look at planning lists for all the Districts and the City, and are building our relations with the new City Conservation team. We regularly attend pre-application discussions with owners and developers, which helps us to give our views early when we are more likely to have influence. We do stick to matters in the public domain, conservation areas and our wonderful ‘villages within the towns’ with the support of our local members. Small or large from railings and side extensions to masterplans and multi-million £ developments we are interested in them all. Oxford is always under pressure to change – OPT continue to do our best, and we are always on the look out for next years OPT Award winners!!