PLANS to convert a city centre pub into six flats could be refused after a developer declined to contribute to social housing.
Members of the city council’s west area planning committee have been urged to refuse permission for the conversion of the Maroon pub on the corner of Oxpens Road and St Thomas Street when they meet on Thursday.
Under the council’s new sites and housing plan, developments of between four and nine homes must come with a contribution towards social housing in the city equal to 15 per cent of the sale value.
But developer Saxonville Ltd said it wouldn’t be viable to make the contribution, estimated to be more than £200,000.
In their report to the committee, planners said the applicant had not used the highest value for the site supplied by surveyors to work out its viability, and had used high building costs estimates, which it couldn’t justify.
The report said: “Having regard to the numerous flaws in the viability assessment, officers consider that it does not provide a robust justification to deviate away from the standard policy requirement for an affordable housing contribution.”
The pub, which was previously known as The Chequers, closed in 2011 and was bought by the developer for £482,121.
The planning bid was submitted in August last year and attracted letters of objection from the Oxford Civic Society and Beckett Street resident Richard Jelfs Mr Jelfs said: “I object to this development because of the on-street parking being a big issue.
“We are a central area location with flats and houses dominating the area and parking becoming a big issue at the moment. Parking is a nightmare to all local residents.
“I don’t see why we should have more flats unless they can supply parking on site, not street parking, as this seems unfair. It would be nice to see it actually stay as a public house for locals.”
Kate Joyce, from the Oxford Civic Society, said: “In our opinion too many small houses are proposed.
“The cycle and bin area at the end of the building on Hollybush Row shows spaces for six cycles, which does not comply with Oxford City Council guidelines and requirements.
“There doesn’t appear to be room to move two of the cycles without moving at least one of the bins.”
The Oxford Mail tried to contact Saxonville, but received no response.
The west area planning committee will meet at 6pm on Thursday at the Town Hall.