A MAJOR new housing development which was set to be built on the edge of the ring road has been called in for another look.

Oxford North is a development proposed for a corner of land between the A40, A44 and A34 north of Wolvercote.

It seemed to have cleared the final planning hurdle when it was approved by Oxford City Council last week.

But now, the development has been ‘called in’ by councillors for another look, and will be scrutinised by the city council’s planning review panel on Monday, December 16.

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Oxford North promises to bring a total of 480 homes and 4,000 jobs to a site which has previously been known as the northern gateway.

The site is owned by St John’s College, and a development company called Thomas White Oxford (TWO) which is owned by the college has been behind the plan.

A spokeswoman for TWO said: “We reached an important milestone in Oxford North’s project following the west area planning committee’s decision. We note that our planning application has been called in.

“Our wish is to continue to work positively and in partnership with Oxford City Council to deliver their northern gateway area action plan, adopted in 2015, and make long term social investment in Oxford.”

The spokeswoman also pointed out that there were plans for 168 affordable homes at the site, as well as infrastructure investment to improve walking, cycling, bus and road provision.

For the Oxford North application to have been called in, a total of 12 or more city councillors will have had to sign off on a letter asking for it be to looked at again.

A report detailing why the application was called in will be published on Friday, to give anyone attending the meeting a week to consider why it is being looked at again.

According to a city council spokesman, the report ‘will references a range of policy areas for further consideration against the planning application.’

Paul Buckley, the Lib Dem County Councillor for Wolvercote and Summertown, welcomes the decision to call in the plan.

Mr Buckley said: “Personally, I am very pleased and it seems highly appropriate to me because there is a lot of complexity about this application which is difficult for a planning committee to take in.”

Mr Buckley, who sits on neighbourhood forums in Wolvercote and Summertown, added: “It is not necessarily that the decision should change, but the application needs a further look. There are aspects of it that not everyone likes, but we need the housing and it is an obvious place to put it as it is not on the green belt.”

When the application for Oxford North was approved on November 27 councillors were mainly concerned about two issues.

These were the number of affordable homes on the site, and the increased amount of traffic in the surrounding area which would be caused by the development.

Oxford City Council has a target of 50 per cent affordable homes at all major housing developments.

But an independent assessment by real estate company JLL suggested 25 per cent affordable housing would probably be as much as the site could handle if TWO still wanted to make a profit.

Despite this, TWO made an agreement with the city council to set 35 per cent affordable housing as the lower limit.

They agreed to look at costs each year and if building work is cheaper than expected, they plan to increase the amount of affordable homes by up to 50 per cent.

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At the November meeting, Green councillor Dick Wolff said he wanted more scrutiny of the roads planned through the Oxford North site, and wanted the development to not just go ahead, but ‘go ahead well.’

He said plans to slow down traffic on the A40 and the A44 as they passed through the development needed more thought.

The two roads are often used by heavy goods vehicles, and the nearby Wolvercote roundabout is a common site of traffic queues.

Affordable homes, as defined by the UK government, are houses sold at 80 per cent of the local market value.

In Oxford, this is often still expensive for many residents and so the city council requires 4/5ths of affordable housing to be let at cheaper social or council rent levels.