East Area Objection

Introduction

At the East Area Committee of the 6th of August 2020 Headington Heritage presented this objection (See Main section below) to summarise the the issues around the handling of the 10 House Warren Meadow development at Warren Crescent in particular to highlight the appalling track record of incompetence admixed with contempt, disdain, callous indifference to the community, facts and a disregard of our precious Fen – and the repeated errors which have lead us to this deeply dangerous development.

  Points highlighted have been added after.

Appeal

Please Join Friends Of Lye Valley (FOLV) to help save this precious place:

Web:    http://www.friendsoflyevalley.org.uk
email: friendsoflyevalley@yahoo.co.uk

Please email planning@oxford.gov.uk, and Councillor Susan Brown (cllrsbrown@oxford.gov.uk) who both as local Councillor and Leader of the Council should intervene to stop these appallingly insensitive, reckless and cruel developments.

Surely Worth Saving?

Before

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Is This Worth Risking?

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Warren Meadow – all of this will be built on

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Warren Meadow – all to be built on

Before The Build

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Warren Meadow – Before

After The Build

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Warren Meadow – After

Main Speech

Planning wants you to delegate changes regarding the footpath without further reference to this Committee unless it considers it reasonably necessary, so can it be trusted, what is the track record?

Well, It didn’t consider it reasonably necessary to tell local associations of the original application, nor to check if the green spaces report of 2007 assessment of the site was valid, nor to run an Environmental Impact Assessment for this massive 10 house development upstream, in groundwater terms, of and touching the Lye SSSI (North) one of the most important and sensitive ice age relict calcareous fens in the country, or to follow the Oxford City Council Lamberth hydrological report recommendations not to build there.

The Planning Review Committee on the 30 March 2016, worried about the stability of the foundations sunk though metres of deep made ground ending in a 70 degree artificial slope, inserted condition 26 to present the design. However, Planning did not consider it reasonably necessary and ignored it – leaving it to Building Control – a private process, meaning the design is not public and therefore unaccountable  – a failed FOI confirmed this.

Wouldn’t 130 metres of 1000s of tons of massive, deep foundations and SUDS on running alongside the valley compress the layers of rock so weak that water can percolate through them, block the calcium groundwater flows the fens needs, flowing from the entire catchment going under the site?

No report necessary!  The West Fen, 34% of the SSSI, didn’t matter as it was, and I quote, just reeds and not the principal fen.

Sorry, NO the Natural England Lye Fen SSSI designation is for a “nationally rare threatened h-a-b-i-t-a-t” consisting of the rare alkaline springs at the top of the valley side above the fen – not its state at that time. It didn’t draw the boundaries for fun, but after scientific evaluation.  It is recovering thanks to the FOLV.

Neither was it reasonably necessary to find any example of a rainwater SUDS system for this sort of fen, nor a design that put water in the correct place, just chuck in some limestone, bit of rain and don’t you worry about that, it will mimic underground flows moving over weeks through complex geology.

Not necessary either was a report into the stability of the steep bank, the adjacent apartment blocks undermined by all this evacuation, or the Health and Safety of the workers, or the provision of a buffer or protection zone as required both by the site plan and current Local Plan to protect the Lye Fen during construction

Warren Meadow, referred to contemptuously in this report as “a small area of open space”, was not necessary for the residents very many of whom live in substandard three storey high density apartments with NO access to ANY private green space – but it WAS considered necessary to give this to the 10 new houses or they would be substandard and not get planning permission – Do you see the logical absurdity of robbing the green poor to give to the green rich, the privatisation of public space?

Children, more than before, will go only to the tiny tots polluted main road Girdlestone Road park, or a piece of tarmac stripped of equipment, or a small grassy area with no equipment accessed by one entrance blocked by a car yard.

If it were so unimportant why have 800+ residents signed a petition against it, why scores have felt moved to at least retain the footpath?

Justice is a question only among equals, the rich do what they can, and the poor suffer as the must.

This is a planning disaster of the first magnitude, as Planning considered so much not reasonably necessary.

Its long track record incompetence admixed with contempt, disdain, callous indifference to the community, facts and a disregard of our precious Fen is all too clear, and has lead us to this deeply dangerous development.

Conclusions

The Committee must:

  • Demand the design for ALL foundations to be public as requested in 2016
  • NOT delegate any decision but require Planning to return with consultable recommendations
  • Resist private gardens robbing the green poor to give to the green rich retention of the current footpath route would ensure this
  • If not, the rear route should be made the official route to prevent it being closed at the first sign of trouble
  • Demand a condition that a publicly available geotechnical report be undertaken to determine bank stability following the huge evacuations required
  • CIL contributions should go footpath maintenance
  • A full Health and Safety assessment be done of the dangers of working on unstable, sloped ground

Nothing short of a full public enquiry is acceptable to ascertain how an highly sensitive application was so badly managed, and lead us to the destruction of all useable green space at Warren Crescent, and placed the Lye Valley at such high risk.

(last para was not stated at meeting)

More Information

Please refer to these articles and others from the Lye Valley menu of the Headington Heritage Web site:

The Hymn Of The Lye

Ellie The Elk On The Lye

The Lye – Taunt In Colour

Lye Valley

Mark

Headington Heritage, A personal blog

Visit  : www.headingtonheritage.org.uk
Email: headingheritage@outlook.com

Follow me on Twitter: @headingheritage

Mark

Headington Heritage, A personal blog