Barton Park City Cmte. Address – 24/05/22

21/02776/RES | Details of Reserved matters (layout, scale, appearance and landscaping) for Phase 2 and 4 of Barton Park pursuant to Condition 3 of outline planning permission 13/01383/OUT. These works comprise of residential units (Use Class C3) and commercial units (Use Class E) with associated public realm and highway works including landscaping, cycle and car parking, and the discharge of phase-specific conditions of the outline. | Land At Barton Northern By-pass Road Oxford Oxfordshire OX3 9SD

City Committee Meeting of 24/05/22 – Item Barton Park Phase 2 + 4

Introduction

This is the text of the address given to the City Planning Committee on the 24/05/2022:

The only deviation was where I had to ask Planning Officers [1] to stop talking, which against the rules and grossly disrespectful to citizens who have taken the time and trouble to engage in the process and speak to improve planning outcomes.

[1] Having seen the recording of meeting, it was not Councillors – the point still stands.

I was initially told I could only find out how long I had to speak at the meeting on the morning of the meeting, meaning it would impossible to prepare for, this seems to have been withdrawn as notification was given.

The above is however indicative of the general attitude within the Council to citizens and participation in the planning process. Basically citizens have 5 mins FOR ALL to object, although the applicants have had years to make their case.

In this meeting, the applicant’s representatives from one application were allowed to “clarify” “facts” during the meeting with no right of reply from the public for the entire consideration period.

For more on how undemocratic and disdainful the Council has become see: Let’s Save Oxford From Its Council! which was written for the election two years ago.

For a calculation on green space provision done prior to the Land North of Bayswater Brook development (which is now FAR worse) see the old articles Oxford Green Space – the missing 11,000 citizens and The Council’s Great Green Grab

For an analysis as to how Oxford University Health Trust is poisoning the city and contributing to traffic through 1970s parking on prime sustainable housing land – See: Headington Hospitals. Kill and Cure?

Speech to City Committee Text

We are in a climate emergency, so why on earth would Oxford City Council, who have declared such, approve this development where the parking will, by its own admission, greatly exceed the current Oxford City and Oxfordshire policies and standards?

The Officer’s report states the agreed development plan must be followed unless material considerations indicate otherwise – so what are they?

A new Oxford City Local Plan, with directly relevant policies, Oxford residents’ health breathing in toxic fumes from the carmageddon this development and the others will bring.

What is the reason for Barton Park? – Desperately needed housing for Oxford.

The fundamental question is, does this development make the most efficient use of the land as per Local Plan Policy RE2, and target the local housing need optimally?

NO, due to the excessive car parking provision now no longer legal under current policies.  

Simply put cars compete with people for space, and the more cars, the less people – as can be clearly shown on the development’s plan with nearly 50% of the ground floor of houses occupied by cars rather than bedrooms.

Why would we not want a low car, pedestrian, and cycle friendly estate?  Simply put, there are two groups – those who need a central base in the UK not necessarily Oxford and need cars, and those who must be in Oxford and don’t.

It seems excessive car parking returns more profit, as the first group will pay more for less people but more car accommodation, leaving car free key workers unable to afford the £1m+ cost of some of these homes.

Put simply there is an inverse relationship between housing affordability and car parking provision leading to more expensive houses accommodating less people but more cars. 

This is not a simple parking issue – this converts the development from being where local key workers can cycle and walk to the Headington Hospitals and elsewhere tackling Oxford’s housing need, to an UK-central dormitory attractive for commuters, largely wasting the vast, and undisclosed, sums of taxpayers’ money spent –  where the social housing percentage has already been reduced from 50% to 40% due to the flood prone nature of the site.   

It gets worse, as can already be seen at Barton Park, there is unofficial parking on front hardstanding, driveways etc – which makes the transport assessment meaningless and also fails to account for the cumulative impacts of the many developments at Marston, Land North of Bayswater Brook and others which will add over 1500 houses in total to East Oxford alone.

Many key workers neither want nor can afford a car.

The staffing needs of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Headington Hospitals are a key driver for this “displacement development”

Yet green space is being gobbled up by this development while the very same hospitals that create the demand, use prime housing land for football fields worth of car parking – 4646 spaces of which 70% is for staff, AND sent a four person team to lobby for MORE parking in the Planning Inspection of the current Local Plan. 

Put simply we are displacing housing to green space to keep car parking on prime sustainable housing land at the Hospitals and others. If this precious green space must be given up, it MUST be used as efficiently as possible.  

Green Space

This development has less green space per capita than Tower Hamlets and no longer bordered by the glorious Oxfordshire countryside as per the sales video but by the Land North of Bayswater Brook development.  The fenced playing field is locked further reducing the actual useable space available.

Requested Outcomes

The Committee must decide whether the climate emergency, Oxford’s Housing need are material considerations that override the agreed development plan, or will it prioritise cars over people, commuters over Key workers?

Approval could lead to a perception that the Council, judge in its own cause, is putting profit before the people the environment, sustainability, Oxford’s Housing need and health. 

I urge REFUSAL this application, or at least, impose the following conditions:

  • Design, and legal agreements that prevent parking outside of designated areas, eg formed gardens, posts or future uplift
  • Legal agreement that the football field area will be always available
  • Removal of plastic grass at the tennis courts to offset the increased run off from the almost exclusively barren hard surfacing of the development

Thank You

24/05/22

Author

Opinions expressed are mine alone, I do not represent anyone other than myself.

Mark


Headington Heritage, A personal blog

Saving Headington’s Heritage
 
Visit  : www.headingtonheritage.org.uk

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Version 0.2 29/07/21

Version 0.3 06/08/21 – Added Cyclepath map, OCC Decision, Consultation, minor fixes.

Version 0.4 02/09/21 – Updated heritage section and explained application revisions.