A CONSULTATION held over plans for the controversial Castle Mill student flats in Roger Dudman Way was inadequate, a review has found.
Vincent Goodstadt’s review of the planning process - which led to the building of the Castle Mill development and subsequent complaints over its size and scale - clears the city council of malpractice.
But it goes on to say that a series of errors led to a consultation being inadequate and failing to reach the people who would be affected by the development.
In the report, Mr Goodstadt said: “The findings of this review are that the controversy created by the RDW [Roger Dudman Way] development lies in series of separated but clearly inter-related individual decisions, assumptions and judgements made at each stage of the planning process.
“The combined effect resulted in inadequate consultation on the proposals and a less detailed assessment of the proposals than there could have been.”
Peter Sloman, chief executive of Oxford City Council, said: “I agree with the report that, with the benefit of hindsight, the council and other organisations could have done more in this particular case. We want all the developments in our city to be of the highest quality.
“I also accept the report’s recommendations for improving aspects of the service.
"I am pleased that the report acknowledges that improvements are already under way and that the service is committed to learning from experience and not waiting for an external prompt into action.
“In particular, I want to expand the scope and effectiveness of our consultation arrangements. I want Oxford City Council to be recognised as an organisation which puts collaboration at the heart of its planning processes.”
A University of Oxford spokesman said: "This is an 80 page report that we'll want to read in full and consider carefully.
"Vincent Goodstadt has offered to meet representatives of the university to feedback his recommendations and the university is intending to set this up early in the New Year."