Oxford City Council has started the process that will see the creation of Oxford’s Northern Gateway at Pearree.
The council’s Core Strategy allocates this site for an jobs-led development providing around 55,000sq m of floorspace for science, research and development and/or university spin-off firms.
The allocation also allows any of the following: residential dwellings, an emergency services centre, small retail units and a hotel.
There is a high demand for land for all use types in Oxford given its very constrained boundary.
The council is always trying to strike a balance between the competing demands.
Given the constraints of the site, and its proximity to the road network, the city council and the core strategy planning inspector considered this site suitable for employment.
Given the amount of noise generated by the traffic in this area, much of the Northern Gateway site is less suited to housing. That said, there are significant opportunities for some housing further away from noise generating road infrastructure.
Oxford City Council will produce an Area Action Plan (AAP) to set the planning policy framework for this development.
It will look at issues including what transport improvements will be required, what form the employment development should take, what mix of flats and houses there should be and what community facilities will be needed.
It will also look at how the development relates to and links with neighbouring communities.
The Northern Gateway development is hugely important and will help secure a strong local economy and provide vital additional housing.
The production of the AAP will take around 18 months.
We are very keen to involve the local community in drawing up plans for the area.
We want to hear the ideas of as many people as possible so that the best solution is found, not just for the new residents and businesses, but for existing communities too. This will ensure that all views feed into the AAP process at the time where they can be best considered.”
The Northern Gateway area was identified in the council’s Core Strategy as being capable of providing for long term growth. A full public examination was held by an independent planning inspector in 2010.
The residential element would be required to be planned in such a way as to ensure that future residents benefit from a good quality living environment, that is integrated with neighbouring communities, and that the new community is supported with the required amenities such as school provision and open space.
Development will also be expected to incorporate a package of transport measures including capacity improvements to roads and junctions and measures to mitigate the impact of the development on the road network.
Importantly these improvements would be tied to phases of the development to ensure that the infrastructure is provided in advance and alongside the development.
The area of the AAP will include the service area on the Peartree roundabout and the Park and Ride site, the fields to the south (including both sides of the A44 and A40) and the commercial properties on the Wolvercote roundabout.
This does not necessarily mean that these facilities will be lost but the whole site needs to be considered in order to provide the best option.
An options document will go out for consultation soon and a proposed submission document will be drawn up by July.
This will be submitted to the secretary of state in September.