The ‘consultation’ on the proposed Northern Gateway development for an 8,000 staff business park and 500 houses at Pear Tree is shambolic.

Oxford City Council, which claims that Oxford is a ‘world class city for everyone’, is letting down its citizens. The land owners, St John’s and Worcester Colleges, who produced the background evidence to justify this development should be ashamed to produce such work.

Here are some examples of what is wrong: s The Core Strategy Planning Inspector required the council to fully engage with the local community to ensure that, in the spirit of the Localism Act, it could support this plan. The council has failed to do so and is trying to impose a scheme that the local community does not support.

  • The proposed plan is 63 per cent larger than the development agreed in Oxford’s Core Strategy.
  • There is a complete lack of clarity on whether essential government funding is available to mitigate the impact of increased traffic, and increased traffic is anyway something all council strategies seem to say they will avoid.
  • In the first consultation the council included a strategic link road between the A40 and A44, west of the A34, as a ‘preferred option’ to avoid worsening congestion. This was then quietly abandoned as being beyond the plan’s scope.
  • Critical evidence on air pollution, noise, vibration, bio-diversity and hydrology submitted by the colleges is of poor quality in my opinion and some only refers to the smaller Core Strategy allocation. Much of it is out of date, for example, the air pollution data is too optimistic as it does not include recent Defra figures.
  • The adverse effects on biodiversity and visual impact for Port Meadow and the Wolvercote Conservation Area have not been fully considered.

It is not too late to let the council know that their plan is unsound.

The consultation closes on September 15.

Sushila Dhall
Oxfordshire Green Party
Stable Close




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