PLANS to add new flats to an existing block of flats has had residents up in arms.

A planning application to ‘fill in’ gaps between three blocks of flats at Millway Close, Wolvercote, saw the leaseholders who live at the site turn up en masse to a meeting of Oxford City Council’s west area planning committee.

The residents held up placards which said ‘Millway Close Leaseholder’ to identify their numbers among the crowded public benches at the meeting on Tuesday night at Oxford Town Hall.

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The planning application by Millway Close’s freeholder, Mr James McCarthy, seeks to build four one-bedroom flats as ‘in fills’ over the top of one-storey entrance areas between the current flat blocks.

After a long discussion by councillors as well as cases for and against the flats from a resident and an agent for the freeholder, the application was deferred for a future meeting.

Natasha Robinson, a leaseholder at Millway Close spoke against the planning application.

Ms Robinson said: “In May 2018 a major planning application was submitted by the freeholder. This application caused great anxiety to the leaseholders. Five months later the current application arrived.

“At no time has there been any direct consultation between the freeholder and the leaseholders of the flats.”

Ms Robinson added the current residents had concerns about crime in what she described as the ‘tunnels’ which would be created by the new storeys over the flats.

She added residents were also concerns about fire safety risk to the new flats, as there had been attempts to light bins one fire, which are stored in areas underneath where the new flats are planned.

Oxford Mail:

How the completed 'in fills' would look. Picture: Oxford City Council.

A further concern was bicycle storage for the new residents.

James Gillies, a planning agent for Mr McCarthy said ‘due consideration had taken place’ before the application was made.

He said a public consultation had taken place and the views of residents at Millway Close and been acknowledged.

Mr Gillies said the points raised by residents ‘had been dealt with extensively’ after discussion with the city council.

Councillor Dick Wolff raised concerns that there were no responses from the police or fire service to the consultation.

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Committee members discussed whether it was a legal requirement for the residents of the flats to be asked for their opinion in a consultation before the application went ahead.

The committee decided to defer a decision on the application as a certificate was unclear whether notice was served to the leaseholders living in the flats to tell them the development was planned.

See more details by searching planning reference 18/02644/FUL at the Oxford City Council website.