A GOVERNMENT inspector will examine plans to demolish an old MOT garage to make way for flats for the second time.

Plans to build a four-storey block of flats on the site of the garage in Lime Walk, Headington were turned down by Oxford City Council in June.

But it was not the first time developer Biggin Morrison Ltd had asked for permission to build on the site: The council had refused permission for a three-storey block of flats on two occasions in 2017 and 2018.

After it was refused permission twice, it did win permission for the first of its schemes on appeal to the planning inspectorate, which is the highest authority in the land when it comes to permission for construction work.

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But now, Biggin Morrison hopes it can get the same outcome for its latest, larger application at an appeal.

When the council turned down the four-storey block in June, it gave four reasons for refusal.

These were that it was too big, it would cast shadow on a neighbouring office, it would lead to less privacy for other nearby houses and student accommodation, and that there was not enough of a shared garden area on site for residents.

Oxford Mail:

In red: The land at Lime Walk which was set for development as a four-storey flat block. Picture: Google Maps.

But in its appeal letter to the council, ADL planning argued on behalf of the developer that the new building would have a 'coherent visual relationship' with other nearby high rises.

It also said that shadows cast on the neighbouring office block would not matter as much as it would if a house was left in the shade.

ADL planning also said that no windows were going to be placed on the side of the fourth floor of the flats which faced towards Lime Walk.

The potential that people could peek out of the top floor of the building and spy on their neighbours had concerned the council.

Oxford Mail:

The lane leading to the land off Lime Walk where the flats could be built.

The planning firm also said that worries about the lack of 'amenity space' were unfounded, as many of the new flats had their own private balconies, while those on the ground floor had access to a south facing garden.

A planning inspector called Andrew Dawe approved the appeal process as he thought Biggin Morrison had reasonable grounds to contest the council.

The council's head of planning, Adrian Arnold, has written a letter to people living in the area to inform them that the developer wants to appeal the decision.

They have been invited to send letters to the planning inspectorate with their views on whether the new flats should go ahead or not.

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Only two residents sent letters to the council when the four-storey flat block was being considered earlier this year.

One of them had worries about how the new flats would cast a long shadow, while the other asked that new residents should not be allowed to apply for parking permits to leave their cars along Lime Walk.

The planning inspector is accepting letters or emails from members of the public until October 13, and will then make a decision.

For more information about the flats, visit oxford.gov.uk/planningapplications and search reference 19/03303/FUL