A HOUSING developer has escaped from having to pay a contribution towards cheap homes.

Developer Cantay Estates has been given permission to build a block of six flats and three terraced houses on a former builders yard called Ashlar House on Glanville Road, Oxford.

The exact same application was refused permission by the city council earlier this year.

But because of changes to planning law, the company no longer has to pay money towards an Oxford City Council fund to build affordable homes.

The scheme was given unanimous backing by Oxford City Council's east area planning committee on Wednesday night.

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The buildings on site will include four two-bed flats and two one-bed flats in a single block, as well as two four-bed houses, and one three-bed house in a terrace.

As well as the new buildings on the site, there will be room for 12 car parking spaces.

Oxford Mail:

Picture: Oxford City Council

There was very little discussion of the scheme among councillors on the committee, but a planning officer explained the history of Ashlar House.

In April, the same application was refused because Cantay Estates refused to enter into a contract known as a section 106 agreement, which would have seen them pay towards affordable housing at another site in Oxford.

That application was started in 2018, and the developer had originally agreed to the contract.

But according to a report, Cantay then became 'unwilling' to fulfil this agreement earlier this year, leading to the scheme's refusal.

Now planning rules have changed, which means the developer is no longer required to make this contribution because there are fewer than 10 new homes planned for the Ashlar House site.

The site was historically a building yard, but was used as a bicycle repair shop before it was closed in 2012.

When Ashlar House was knocked down last year, neighbours raised safety concerns.

They were worried that workers on the site were not using specialist equipment to remove Asbestos from the building.

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One nearby neighbour aired his objections to the now-approved plan to Oxford City Council.

In a letter to the council, Andy Manners said he thought the nine new homes were a ‘massive overdevelopment’ of the site.

Developer Cantay also recently had success in the city council chamber when its plans to build 86 homes and flats on a former sports field at William Morris Close in Temple Cowley was approved in late November.

That application had been debated by councillors and residents since 2013 before its approval.

For more information about the new homes at Ashlar House, visit Oxford City Council’s planning webpage and search reference 19/02577/FUL