ANOTHER plan is in the pipeline for ‘neglected’ playing fields in Temple Cowley which have seen eight failed planning applications in seven years.

Part of the William Morris playing fields, off William Morris Close, could be used for 102 homes.

But a residents’ group, which has been a long-standing opponent to development there, is still against building.

Oxford-based Cantay Estates, which owns the land, wants to build six blocks of flats containing 88 flats across the site.

Another 14 houses would be built there too.

But Judith Harley, of the Temple Cowley Residents’ Association, said the group will ‘battle’ against the proposal.

She said: “We will battle against it and I think we have a chance of it being refused. At the moment, in the Local Plan 2016, the site is [designated as] public open space.”

She added she felt the council was still ‘uncertain’ about the impact the development might have on the area and that she was hopeful it would be rejected.

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In October 2017, a proposal to build 83 flats on land off William Morris Close was withdrawn by developers.

At the time, Ms Harley called for Oxford City Council to compulsorily purchase land to retain it as playing fields.

With further development in Cowley, including on the former Temple Cowley Pools site, she said leisure facilities were desperately needed.


At the time, the city council said it was not looking to acquire the land.

As part of the most recent plan, just under a quarter of the site might be used for housing. Developers said the way it could be used would mean the area would retain an ‘open feel’.

Coupled with ‘sympathetic landscaping’, they said it would ‘enhance the amenity of the land for residents and improve access for the community.’

Another plan submitted in September 2017 asked for the land to be used for key worker housing.

As part of that, 73 homes would have been allocated to tenants from a city council-approved list of jobs, including social workers, schoolteachers and nurses.

They would have paid 23 per cent below the market price had the project gone ahead – but it was withdrawn a month later.

To view the most recent application, visit the city council’s planning portal and use reference 18/03330/OUT