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Sides draw battlelines in Oxford estate fight
BATTLELINES are being drawn in the fight to influence plans for Oxford’s biggest new estate for a generation.
Views for and against 1,000 homes near Barton will be heard by a government appointed inspector at a five- day public hearing in July.
Oxford City Council wants to build about 1,000 new homes on land to the west of Barton to help solve the city’s housing problem.
And now the Barton Area Action Plan has been submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for approval.
During a six-week consultation earlier this year, 105 different groups or individuals made their views known to the city council.
Veronica Hurst, of the Friends of Old Headington, said the group was concerned about the impact of the development on the area.
She said: “We have applied to speak to the inspector and we very much hope to do so.
“We are supportive of the development as it will provide much-needed housing, but we are concerned about the scale of the proposed development.
Other residents are concerned about the construction of a link road for buses and emergency vehicles between the development and the Northway estate.
Sietkse Boeles, of the local branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said she was concerned about the loss of open space. She said: “We are opposed to the proposed development of Barton Nature Park.”
Under the plans, the ring road will be turned into a boulevard with homes facing the A40. A link road across the A40 between Barton and Northway – to be used by buses and emergency vehicles – has caused concern.
Georgina Gibbs, who lives in Saxon Way, Northway, said: “There are huge concerns about opening up that entrance on to the A40.
“It will bring huge amounts of pollution and noise into a quiet area. There must be an alternative.”
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “We need to make sure that the development works for the existing Barton community. It’s very important that the views of Barton residents are listened to.”
Planning inspector Shelagh Bussey will be holding the public hearing at the Town Hall in St Aldate’s from Monday, July 16, until July 20.
A pre-hearing meeting will also be held at the Town Hall on Thursday, June 7, at 1.30pm when Ms Bussey will set out how she intends to run the hearings and the main areas it will focus on.
City councillor Colin Cook, the board member for city development, said: “At the end of this, the planning inspector will take into account both our views and the views of people in the locality. It is clear not everyone is going to be happy but we certainly hope that what will go forward will be for the benefit of the majority.”
City council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said: “The most recent consultation was asking about the details within the site such as what kind of access and what mix of housing types there should be.
“The majority of the comments were from people making suggestions as to how we could improve the plans for the development at Barton, rather than being objections to the development.”
Only those who responded to the consultation and said in their response that they would like to speak at the public hearing may do so. For more details about the plans, go to the city council’s website oxford.gov.uk