SHOPS with large car parks on Oxford's Botley Road should be replaced with homes and smaller shops, a city councillor has said.

Oxford City Council Lib Dem opposition leader Andrew Gant said the busy road was an example of where the authority’s new Local Plan, approved last Monday, could have a great effect.

He criticised the plan for not doing more to phase out large 'car-led' developments in the city, which he said did not help to solve the housing crisis in Oxford.

Mr Gant gave the example of Botley Road as an area where a change in focus would have a benefit.

The city council has previously said that its new Local Plan tries to encourage mixed development in existing district centres, so that homes, shops and offices exist alongside each other.

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In a 'kite flying exercise' the city councillor for Summertown said: "I have thought for a long time there we have got a principle radial route at Botley Road coming into the city very close to the ring road. It is ideally placed for transport and along a large part of that road we have got businesses which are wholly dependent on people accessing them by car.

"That has two principle affects: it generates traffic, and it takes up a large amount of space, most of which is car parks of course."

Oxford Mail:

Andrew Gant

Instead, Mr Gant said shops on Botley Road, which include Pets at Home, Aldi and Dunelm, could be replaced by a mixture of homes and smaller shops, linked to the city centre by segregated cycle lanes and footpaths.

He compared the suggestion with the plans Oxford University has for the Osney Mead Industrial Estate, which could be developed into a 'Science Quarter' in the future, with space for flats and STEM-based businesses.

Mr Gant said his suggestion came from the belief that the new Oxford Local Plan 2036 placed too much emphasis on 'work-only' sites and developments which were not car-free.

According to Mr Gant, other good examples of this were Oxford Science Park and the nearby business park, which he said were not integrated with nearby communities.

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In the Local Plan, the city council wants businesses at these sites and other areas where offices are based to to 'intensify' activities.

There are also plans to intensify development in the city centre and district centres like Summertown and Headington shops.

In these centres, a minimum of 100 dwellings per hectare will be expected from developers.

This, it is hoped will lead to a large number of homes close to nearby shops, which will mean that people will be less likely to drive to out of town shopping centres.

The new Local Plan also aims to reduce congestion and air pollution by making sure there are more car-free developments within Oxford's controlled parking zones, which are regular bus routes and close to local shops.