Last Friday, April 28, you published an article about the latest planning application from Oxford City Council proposing to extend the Marsh Road Council Depot into the Cowley Marsh Recreational Ground. I was quoted in your article, but your online and print versions differed slightly, but significantly, and I wish to emphasise the main reason for opposing this application.

Cowley Marsh Park is a playing field, protected by national legislation, and is formally designated as Protected Open Space in Oxford City Council’s Local Plan. Disregarding this Planning Policy for one application would set a most dangerous precedent, and put all other sites protected by this policy at risk. As I’ve mentioned in previous correspondence, Temple Cowley is extremely deficient in leisure facilities and open space. We have lost the Lord Nuffield Sports Club and the much loved and much used Temple Cowley Pools and Gym.

Over the past four years we have fought long and hard to defeat every planning application proposed for the William Morris Sports Field, which is also Protected Open Space. Allowing the Depot to expand into Cowley Marsh Park, in contravention of Planning Policy, would put the latter at extreme risk.

I disagree most strongly with Mr. Tim Sadler, a City Council executive director, who is quoted as saying that this is “a small and under-used portion of the park”. This is a wildflower meadow, currently with a lovely display of cowslips, which grow in very selective places. People visit each year just to see the cowslips, and covering them in concrete is not acceptable.

Once this open space is lost we are unlikely to regain it. I urge everyone who has not yet commented to oppose this application, reference 17/0061/CT3 by the new deadline of 18th May.

Planning Representative for Old Temple Cowley Residents’ Association