WORK on a controversial grand design in Cowley is set to start in just over a month.
The Barns Road development spearheaded by Grand Designs TV presenter Kevin McCloud will begin in June after being hit by delays.
Planning permission for the scheme of 40 flats was given by Oxford City Council when it was called in after being refused by the authority’s planning committee.
The homes will be built by Mr McCloud’s development company Hab, in partnership with housing association GreenSquare – in a joint venture called Haboakus.
Greensquare spokesman Nick Taylor said: “The delay has just been about finalising build costs and selecting a contractor.”
As well as flats the scheme will include a residents’ roof garden and community rooms, with a garden at ground level.
Homelessness charity Emmaus will also operate a new furniture recycling store on the ground floor. It purchasing it for £578,000.
The scheme – which is part of an £18m development including two sites in Northway – was initially refused planning permission by the city council.
But the plans were called in to the council’s planning review committee and the decision was overturned.
One of the concerns was about parking – with Oxfordshire County Council saying that a residents’ only parking zone – or CPZ – would be needed if the scheme went ahead.
The county council currently operates 26 CPZs across Oxford where residents have to pay £50 for an annual permit so they can leave their cars in the street near their homes. Boswell Road resident Martin Tasker, of Middle Cowley Residents’ Action Group, said: “When we canvassed people round here we had getting on for 1,000 objections and they don’t want to pay for parking and they are forcing us to accept a CPZ which nobody wants. The thing is too large and will dwarf the houses in the area.”
But the introduction of a CPZ is subject to a consultation before being approved by the county council.
County council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “Parking surveys have been arranged to establish what the parking issues are before the development starts (in line with the planning consent and subsequent legal agreement).
“The intention is that there will then be further surveys once the development is finished to see what, if any, changes have occurred. If the outcome of these is that there is a need for changes to parking restrictions, we would need to carry out consultation.”