MORE than 400 new homes will be built on the edge of Oxford as part of a new development near Thornhill Park and Ride.

Sandhill Development and Downside Homes will build on 4.8 hectares of land south of the A40, and west of the park and ride and Neilson House.

The plans, which were approved unanimously by Oxford City Council, the planning authority, during a meeting yesterday (Tuesday), include new homes, a 133-bed hotel and a ‘business innovation centre’.

The development will include 10 blocks of flats providing 402 homes, 50 per cent of which will be ‘affordable.’

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The four-storey hotel will be built to the north western edge of the site, and will include a café and gym.

Oxford Mail:

A design and access statement submitted as part of the application said that the site will provide the “opportunity to create a high-quality development that announces the arrival into Oxford and acting as a new gateway along London Road.”

Roger Smith, planning director at Savills in Botley, told councillors: “It would provide 201 affordable dwellings, which I think is a huge planning benefit for what is one of the least affordable cities in the UK.

“It would provide jobs, in the offices and the hotel, and local facilities, which would serve not only the new residents but will also serve the wider community.”

The development had been opposed by some residents and by Risinghurst & Sandhills Parish Council, who had concerns over increased pressure on services and traffic.

A spokesperson for the parish council said: “We are concerned that the development, with 1,000 or so new residents, will put significant pressure on already stretched local services, namely healthcare and schools.

“Residents have concerns with the new access onto the A40, that will make the cycle path along the A40 more of a hazard for users. In the morning it is used by many young families taking their children to school in Sandhills.”

Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society had raised concerns over two buildings that will be partly demolished as part of the development, the Cottage and the Forest Lodge. 

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A spokesperson for the society said: “This application involves the demolition of historic fabric dating from probably the mid-19th century, with some parts potentially earlier still - buildings of this age are normally considered for listing.

“Whilst we are not suggesting that these buildings should be listed, nor have we been able to visit the buildings and conduct a detailed survey of what survives, we are concerned at the demolition and permanent loss of these buildings, as well as the erosion of historic character, evidence and associations in the area.

“We would welcome the retention and possibly extension of the building in order to give the site a sense of place and history but also contemporary character.”

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers. 

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