Neighbours design a new community

Neighbours design a new community

John Bleach stands outside the site of the old Wolvercote paper mill

The mill in 1963

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Oxford Times Chief Reporter. Call me on 01865 425434

VILLAGERS have helped design a new community on their doorsteps.

The blueprint released for the Wolvercote Paper Mill site includes about 190 new homes, a village green and community pavilion.

The scheme also promises a nature reserve, GPs’ surgery and the clean-up of the paper mill’s reservoir. Jobs would also be created within small-scale workshops and new stores.

A minimum of 50 per cent of the homes would be affordable and 75 per cent of the homes two and three-bedroom.

Oxford University, which owns the site, said the masterplan incorporates wishes of local people, who contributed to the designs during an innovative consultation process last month.

The university will not itself develop the paper mill site and intends to dispose of it next year.

But it says it wanted to create a masterplan to attract buyers and “establish as much certainty as possible” for local people over the future of the site.

The site would be effectively divided into two halves with 12.3 acres next to Lower Wolvercote given over to housing and employment units, and 4.4 acres bordering the A34 redesigned as a public open space.

Recreational facilities include woodland walks and a tennis court, while residents would have access to water meadows and the Thames, with open spaces connecting the Mill Stream with the existing Wolvercote village green.

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The idea of creating a hydro-electricity generator on the Mill Stream to create on-site energy is also actively being explored.

The company behind the masterplan, London-based Turnberry Planning, said the development would generate just over one additional car per minute during the morning rush hour along Godstow Road.

John Bleach, chairman of Wolvercote Neighbourhood Group, said: “People here feel that their voices have been heard by the designers. We do not have a problem with 50 per cent affordable houses. People say they just wish a way could be found to give locals priority for the new housing.”

But Mr Bleach warned the site saw serious flash flooding five years ago, while the existing drainage system was inadequate for existing housing. He said there were also concerns about noise levels from the A34, while too large a health centre would add to traffic flow.

Wolvercote city councillor Mike Gotch cautioned that a new community would seriously add to pressure on the local primary school, already being expanded after concerns about shortages of places.

The paper mill, which ceased operations in 1997, was demolished in 2004. The following year the university unveiled a £40m scheme to build 200 homes for its staff on the 17-acre site, which was later dropped.

A planning application is due to be submitted next month.

Comments (8)

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11:15am Fri 8 Feb 13

oafie says...

We do not have a problem with 50 per cent affordable houses. People say they just wish a way could be found to give locals priority for the new housing.” ................but just what constitutes 'local people'......how long do you have to live somewhere before you are 'regarded as a 'local'.
People with absolutely no connections to Wolvercote can buy up property and 'they instantely' become locals, as do their children.......meanw
hile someone who has lived in the area for 20plus years who is forced out because they cannot compete with those with money have no chance of ever moving back.
We do not have a problem with 50 per cent affordable houses. People say they just wish a way could be found to give locals priority for the new housing.” ................but just what constitutes 'local people'......how long do you have to live somewhere before you are 'regarded as a 'local'. People with absolutely no connections to Wolvercote can buy up property and 'they instantely' become locals, as do their children.......meanw hile someone who has lived in the area for 20plus years who is forced out because they cannot compete with those with money have no chance of ever moving back. oafie
  • Score: 0

11:48am Fri 8 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

oafie wrote:
We do not have a problem with 50 per cent affordable houses. People say they just wish a way could be found to give locals priority for the new housing.” ................but just what constitutes 'local people'......how long do you have to live somewhere before you are 'regarded as a 'local'.
People with absolutely no connections to Wolvercote can buy up property and 'they instantely' become locals, as do their children.......meanw

hile someone who has lived in the area for 20plus years who is forced out because they cannot compete with those with money have no chance of ever moving back.
As you well know oafie, these "affordable" homes will be snapped up by landlords with spare cash, and 20 houses already, and rented out at un-affordable prices.
[quote][p][bold]oafie[/bold] wrote: We do not have a problem with 50 per cent affordable houses. People say they just wish a way could be found to give locals priority for the new housing.” ................but just what constitutes 'local people'......how long do you have to live somewhere before you are 'regarded as a 'local'. People with absolutely no connections to Wolvercote can buy up property and 'they instantely' become locals, as do their children.......meanw hile someone who has lived in the area for 20plus years who is forced out because they cannot compete with those with money have no chance of ever moving back.[/p][/quote]As you well know oafie, these "affordable" homes will be snapped up by landlords with spare cash, and 20 houses already, and rented out at un-affordable prices. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

12:08pm Fri 8 Feb 13

JanetJ says...

Grunden Skip wrote:
oafie wrote:
We do not have a problem with 50 per cent affordable houses. People say they just wish a way could be found to give locals priority for the new housing.” ................but just what constitutes 'local people'......how long do you have to live somewhere before you are 'regarded as a 'local'.
People with absolutely no connections to Wolvercote can buy up property and 'they instantely' become locals, as do their children.......meanw


hile someone who has lived in the area for 20plus years who is forced out because they cannot compete with those with money have no chance of ever moving back.
As you well know oafie, these "affordable" homes will be snapped up by landlords with spare cash, and 20 houses already, and rented out at un-affordable prices.
Or the rents paid by Housing benefit more likely
[quote][p][bold]Grunden Skip[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]oafie[/bold] wrote: We do not have a problem with 50 per cent affordable houses. People say they just wish a way could be found to give locals priority for the new housing.” ................but just what constitutes 'local people'......how long do you have to live somewhere before you are 'regarded as a 'local'. People with absolutely no connections to Wolvercote can buy up property and 'they instantely' become locals, as do their children.......meanw hile someone who has lived in the area for 20plus years who is forced out because they cannot compete with those with money have no chance of ever moving back.[/p][/quote]As you well know oafie, these "affordable" homes will be snapped up by landlords with spare cash, and 20 houses already, and rented out at un-affordable prices.[/p][/quote]Or the rents paid by Housing benefit more likely JanetJ
  • Score: 0

12:29pm Fri 8 Feb 13

bart-on simpson says...

I would have thought the idea of social/affordable housing has had it's day - such a distortion of the market.

Where's the CPRE - sleeping?
I would have thought the idea of social/affordable housing has had it's day - such a distortion of the market. Where's the CPRE - sleeping? bart-on simpson
  • Score: 0

1:31pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

JanetJ wrote:
Grunden Skip wrote:
oafie wrote:
We do not have a problem with 50 per cent affordable houses. People say they just wish a way could be found to give locals priority for the new housing.” ................but just what constitutes 'local people'......how long do you have to live somewhere before you are 'regarded as a 'local'.
People with absolutely no connections to Wolvercote can buy up property and 'they instantely' become locals, as do their children.......meanw



hile someone who has lived in the area for 20plus years who is forced out because they cannot compete with those with money have no chance of ever moving back.
As you well know oafie, these "affordable" homes will be snapped up by landlords with spare cash, and 20 houses already, and rented out at un-affordable prices.
Or the rents paid by Housing benefit more likely
3 years ago I would have said "spot on" Janet. But with the LHA for a 3 bedroom house at £920 PCM for Oxford, H.B. will come nowhere near covering it now. Although you could stick a bed in the living room and claim for a 4 bedroom, that pushes you up to about £1,200. The simple answer is for The Council to build houses and get rents paid to them, and not to mansions being built 6,000 miles away.
[quote][p][bold]JanetJ[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Grunden Skip[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]oafie[/bold] wrote: We do not have a problem with 50 per cent affordable houses. People say they just wish a way could be found to give locals priority for the new housing.” ................but just what constitutes 'local people'......how long do you have to live somewhere before you are 'regarded as a 'local'. People with absolutely no connections to Wolvercote can buy up property and 'they instantely' become locals, as do their children.......meanw hile someone who has lived in the area for 20plus years who is forced out because they cannot compete with those with money have no chance of ever moving back.[/p][/quote]As you well know oafie, these "affordable" homes will be snapped up by landlords with spare cash, and 20 houses already, and rented out at un-affordable prices.[/p][/quote]Or the rents paid by Housing benefit more likely[/p][/quote]3 years ago I would have said "spot on" Janet. But with the LHA for a 3 bedroom house at £920 PCM for Oxford, H.B. will come nowhere near covering it now. Although you could stick a bed in the living room and claim for a 4 bedroom, that pushes you up to about £1,200. The simple answer is for The Council to build houses and get rents paid to them, and not to mansions being built 6,000 miles away. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

3:39pm Fri 8 Feb 13

xjohnx says...

Any control over housing pushes up prices.

If we build enough houses for sale at full price, the market will saturate and prices will drop. End of!
Any control over housing pushes up prices. If we build enough houses for sale at full price, the market will saturate and prices will drop. End of! xjohnx
  • Score: 0

3:43am Sat 9 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

So where are the 6,000 houses going to built that would satisfy the market and bring prices down.
So where are the 6,000 houses going to built that would satisfy the market and bring prices down. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

11:55am Mon 11 Feb 13

Mrs C glenn says...

The wolvercote paper mill site; the issue of flooding has not been properly addressed Webbs Close wasn't even on the map displayed in the Red Lion sewerage problems have blighted the residents of lower Wolvercote for years the old sewerage system won't be able to cope with any more! the school isn't taking on any more pupils, the railway bridge is unstable and the access to the site is very dangerous ( whose people who lived in Wolvercote when the mill was opporational will testify to this ) the so called professional people who were there came from all over the southwest and hadn't got a clue what the residents were talking about it seemed a done deal before they even arrived and their thoughts were NOT listened too !
The wolvercote paper mill site; the issue of flooding has not been properly addressed Webbs Close wasn't even on the map displayed in the Red Lion sewerage problems have blighted the residents of lower Wolvercote for years the old sewerage system won't be able to cope with any more! the school isn't taking on any more pupils, the railway bridge is unstable and the access to the site is very dangerous ( whose people who lived in Wolvercote when the mill was opporational will testify to this ) the so called professional people who were there came from all over the southwest and hadn't got a clue what the residents were talking about it seemed a done deal before they even arrived and their thoughts were NOT listened too ! Mrs C glenn
  • Score: 0

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