A FORMER pub will be knocked down to make way for a four-storey block of flats.

The building previously home to the Honey Pot on Hollybush Row will be demolished, despite concern from local residents and history experts.

Jericho-based design firm Robin Swailes is behind the plans for the block of flats, and had previously been given permission for a similar plan in 2017.

It returned to the council this year with a new planning application because of a change in the law which means it no longer legally has to make some of the flats 'affordable'.

Also read: Contaminated soil found at a Bicester housing site

At a meeting of Oxford City Council’s west area planning committee on Tuesday, one councillor said they thought the developer had stalled work to avoid having to pay towards affordable homes in the city.

Speaking on behalf of the developer, planning agent Neil Warner said the council has already established that the building should be built in 2017.

But Mrs Malcomson, a resident an apartment block near the old pub called Castle Mews, said there had been an ‘absence of due consideration to the neighbouring properties’.

She was concerned that the new buildings would cause her and her neighbours homes to lose daylight and that building work would be noisy.

Oxford Mail:

The current building. Picture: Pete Hughes

Liz Wooley of the Oxford Architectural and Historic Society raised concerns that the building was in the Oxford Central (City and University) Conservation Area Boundary, which was extended last May.

Council planning officer Rob Fowler said building work would be limited to between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

He also explained that the new building was thought to be far enough away from neighbouring houses to prevent it from overshadowing them.

Also read: Oxford woman started fire with hairspray 'flame-thrower', court hears

A council report added that the ‘degree of harm’ to the historic conservation area was enough to stop it being knocked down.

Councillor Liz Wade asked if the developer would have to still provide affordable homes from its 2017 planning permission if the committee refused the new planning application.

Legal officer Sally Fleming said the council might end up having to pay costs at an appeal hearing if the committee took this action.

The committee approved the new planning permission by a majority, but Louise Upton still said she thought the new application had been made ‘to get out of an affordable housing contribution.’

The Government made a change to planning law last year which meant small housing developments - usually under 10 homes - do not have to make allowance for affordable homes on their properties.