Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Planning expert to head Castle Mill inquiry
9:20am Wednesday 4th September 2013 in News
A RESPECTED expert in planning has been appointed to lead an independent inquiry into the Castle Mill controversy.
Vincent Goodstadt has been appointed by Oxford City Council to carry out an inquiry into the student housing – which has prompted heated complaints that it spoils views of the city from Port Meadow – and to make sure the public has confidence in the authority’s planning process.
Mr Goodstadt, a former president of the Royal Town Planning Institute, will be meeting with all the parties involved in the issue, including the council and Oxford University.
City councillor John Goddard, who will convene a working group to collaborate with Mr Goodstadt, said: “His rigorous approach emphasised the requirement to ensure that as broad a range of views are heard as possible.”
There has been widespread outrage surrounding the construction of the buildings next to Port Meadow after it emerged they had obscured “dreaming spires” view from the ancient common land.
A judicial review bid has been launched by the Campaign to Protect Rural England but the city council has also pledged to look into its own planning process.
Toby Porter, who has been leading the campaign against the flats, said: “We welcome the selection of Vincent Goodstadt.
“Our campaign will be handing over our full dossier of information that we have obtained under Freedom of Information requests, and also identify the questions which we feel that the city council and university have still not fully answered.”
It is anticipated Mr Goodstadt’s report will be submitted to the working group by November before going to committe and the full council.