MORE than 200 angry residents are fighting plans to add 30 extra flats to a tower block planned on the edge of Oxford.

Developers had originally wanted to build an eight-storey tower with 120 flats inside, which would have sat next to the new Premier Inn building which has sprung up west of the A40 as it passes Botley.

But now, the Botley Development Company has applied for permission to build a taller tower, which would be nine storeys tall and contain 150 flats.

The tower, which would be part of the overall scheme to renovate the West Way Square area, was due to be considered by planning chiefs from the Vale of White Horse District Council this month, but has now been delayed until December.

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Residents of the area are not happy about the plans for the taller tower, with some of them penning a joint statement which calls for the new plans to be rejected.

The West Way residents said: “There are now over two hundred written objections to the new plan, and with good reason. A principal objection is that the 30 additional apartments have zero parking provision.”

They added that cars from their new neighbours would ‘inevitably park on the surrounding and already crowded residential streets’.

They added: “It’s time for the planning committee, which since local elections last year comprises a considerable majority of Lib Dem councillors, to show their mettle and stand up for the people of Botley.

"It was clear that the previous Tory-led council put development above all other considerations. Will the Lib Dems take seriously the views of their constituents?”

The residents also said the new tower was too tall compared to nearby homes, and would only lead to ‘more profit for the developer’.

But in documents attached to the plans for the building, described as ‘Phase two’ of the West Way Development, property consultants Savills argue on behalf of the landowners that current plans to pay a total of £2m towards affordable housing projects in the Vale would make the new tower unviable.

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Picture: Botley Development Company

Instead, they set out a plan to pay only £1m towards the council as part of an agreement for building the new flats, and then set aside some apartments on the West Way Square site which could be sold as affordable homes.

Debby Hallett, one of the local Lib Dem district councillors, was also critical of building the extra storey on the block of flats without a plan to control nearby parking.

She was also critical of the attempt to renegotiate an agreement with the council to pay money for affordable housing elsewhere in the Vale of White Horse district.

Ms Hallett said: “My contention is that this one here in Botley has never been viable and the committee should refuse this planning application, and stick to the one they have given permission for.”

But she also said she was not worried that the new building, which is only 1.5m taller than the previous eight-storey plan, would lead to shorter ceilings for the inhabitants, as the Botley Development Company had designed smaller maintenance spaces between floors instead of squeezing the room sizes.

A spokesperson for Botley Development Company said: “The revised planning application for WestWay Square Phase 2 will help create additional much needed housing, adding 30 more new homes to the existing plans, with a modest increase of only 1.5m in height.

They added: “Since the submission of the application, we have consulted the local residents on the proposed changes, including a public exhibition in February.

“We have worked through all points of detail raised with the Local Planning Authority, County Council, other relevant bodies and their professional advisers as part of the planning process, to resolve any concern that was raised.”

READ AGAIN about the exhibition of new plans for residents here

The row over this block is just the latest in a long-running fight by some residents against the huge development, which many said was too big for the area.

The Botley Development Company is a joint venture between two other firms called Mace Developments and Doric Properties.

Phase one of the plans for West Way Square includes the new Premier Inn, as well as an already-finished shopping centre.

Once completed, there would also be new postgraduate accommodation and offices alongside the flats, shops and Premier Inn.

To make way for Phase two, a five-storey concrete building at Elm’s Court would be knocked down, alongside a neighbouring shop.

Residents were invited to a consultation exhibition at Seacourt Hall earlier in the year to see an up to date version of the plans for West Way Square, including the proposal to add a storey to the planned residential block.

Planning reference P20/V0921/FUL at the Vale of White Horse District Council website.