‘Give up on bid to build homes here’

Ex-city councillor Bob Timbs is objecting to plans to build houses on land in William Morris Close, Cowley

Ex-city councillor Bob Timbs is objecting to plans to build houses on land in William Morris Close, Cowley

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

A DEVELOPER who has made numerous attempts to build houses on a former sports field in Cowley has been told to call it a day.

Cantay Estates is currently making its fourth attempt to develop the sports pitch in William Morris Close after three previous bids have been rejected.

Its latest attempt involves building seven homes on the parking area rather than on the pitch itself.

But this has been given the cold shoulder by Oxford City Council planning officers who have said the application should be rejected.

City planning officer Fiona Bartholomew said: “The site retains the potential to help meet the city’s outdoor recreational needs and is not surplus to recreational requirements. No replacement recreational facilities are proposed.

“It is not essential to develop housing on this site to meet housing land availability requirements, and there are no other mitigating or balancing reasons why housing should be developed on this site.”

A final decision will be made by the east area planning committee when it meets on Wednesday.

Ahead of the meeting, city councillor for Cowley Marsh Saj Malik said that the land should be offered up to the nearby school or local sports clubs.

He said: “If the sports pitch was up for grabs I am sure many people would come forward.

“These plans have no support whatsoever.

“The developer knew that the city council wouldn’t want to see the site developed but they bought the land and took a risk.

“This latest planning application is a sign of desperation.”

Judith Harley, of the Old Temple Cowley Residents Association, said: “Although the land considered for this development is brownfield (the existing car park) it is still identified as protected open space in the local plan.

“It is not acceptable to take any of the identified open space for residential development as Oxford is already deficient in open space, especially for sports facilities. This is contrary to the local plan and completely unacceptable.”

Normandy Crescent resident Bob Timbs, a former city councillor for Lye Valley, said: “The area is designated that there will be no more building allowed there and it should be left alone.

“The school is bringing in extra cars and it is upsetting people in the area so any other development will only make matters worse.”

Cantay Estates, which is based in Park End Street, bought the club site, which has been standing empty for four years, in 2012.

The club was founded for car workers and their families as the Morris Motors Sports and Athletics Club soon after William Morris set up his Cowley factory in 1913.

It closed in 2009 with debts of £3m, just two years after moving into a new building in Temple Cowley.

Cantay agreed to sell the club building to the Tyndale Commu-nity School, which opened in September, but it has failed to be able to redevelop the rest of the site.

Three planning applications – for 43, 40 and 40 homes – have been refused by the city council. The second went to appeal but was thrown out by a government planning inspector.

The Oxford Mail contacted Cantay Estates but no one was available to comment.

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Comments (4)

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10:34am Fri 1 Aug 14

icba1957 says...

So Oxford City is quite happy to propose building houses on land owned by other authorities such as Grenoble Road, but is still rejecting applications on its own land which no-one else seems to want?
I smell a faint whiff of hypocrisy ...
If the developer takes this to appeal I reckon they'll wipe the floor with OC.
So Oxford City is quite happy to propose building houses on land owned by other authorities such as Grenoble Road, but is still rejecting applications on its own land which no-one else seems to want? I smell a faint whiff of hypocrisy ... If the developer takes this to appeal I reckon they'll wipe the floor with OC. icba1957
  • Score: -2

11:23am Fri 1 Aug 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

icba1957 wrote:
So Oxford City is quite happy to propose building houses on land owned by other authorities such as Grenoble Road, but is still rejecting applications on its own land which no-one else seems to want?
I smell a faint whiff of hypocrisy ...
If the developer takes this to appeal I reckon they'll wipe the floor with OC.
Oh dear. You are a bit confused.

The land South of Grenoble road is within another authority's boundary, but isn't *owned* by that authority. There is a distinct difference.

It's a bit like Birmingham City Council own a large tract of land in Headington Quarry - which is within the Oxford City Council boundary.

As it stands there is absolutely nothing to stop a developer sending in planning application after application until it wears the opponents down.

They could, of course, use the idea that has been enthusiastically promoted by the city council and planning and demanded by local "Activists"

Why not build an entire scaffolding development with vinyls and coloured gravel pavements & roads to let people see what it looks like?

Once the fake homes have been up for a few years - the complaints will wither away when it comes to actually building it out.
[quote][p][bold]icba1957[/bold] wrote: So Oxford City is quite happy to propose building houses on land owned by other authorities such as Grenoble Road, but is still rejecting applications on its own land which no-one else seems to want? I smell a faint whiff of hypocrisy ... If the developer takes this to appeal I reckon they'll wipe the floor with OC.[/p][/quote]Oh dear. You are a bit confused. The land South of Grenoble road is within another authority's boundary, but isn't *owned* by that authority. There is a distinct difference. It's a bit like Birmingham City Council own a large tract of land in Headington Quarry - which is within the Oxford City Council boundary. As it stands there is absolutely nothing to stop a developer sending in planning application after application until it wears the opponents down. They could, of course, use the idea that has been enthusiastically promoted by the city council and planning and demanded by local "Activists" Why not build an entire scaffolding development with vinyls and coloured gravel pavements & roads to let people see what it looks like? Once the fake homes have been up for a few years - the complaints will wither away when it comes to actually building it out. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 2

2:59pm Fri 1 Aug 14

oxfordareaman says...

With Oxford being one of the least affordable housing markets in the UK outside of London, the council should be encouraging more building. Why keep available land idle for the "POTENTIAL to help meet the city’s outdoor recreational needs" when this development can provide housing for 40 families?
With Oxford being one of the least affordable housing markets in the UK outside of London, the council should be encouraging more building. Why keep available land idle for the "POTENTIAL to help meet the city’s outdoor recreational needs" when this development can provide housing for 40 families? oxfordareaman
  • Score: -1

9:12pm Sun 3 Aug 14

Joe Chapman says...

I am biased because this is in my backyard, almost literally. This isn't a large area, there's 1 narrow entrance into the close and a school which is planned to have 400 children in it. So far the school only has about 40 and that's bad enough, it's changed the dynamics of the area and already it's not as nice as it was to live here. We can't just keep squeezing more and more people in and losing open spaces. It's destroying communities, not building them.
I am biased because this is in my backyard, almost literally. This isn't a large area, there's 1 narrow entrance into the close and a school which is planned to have 400 children in it. So far the school only has about 40 and that's bad enough, it's changed the dynamics of the area and already it's not as nice as it was to live here. We can't just keep squeezing more and more people in and losing open spaces. It's destroying communities, not building them. Joe Chapman
  • Score: 0

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