Transport and sewage concerns over plans for 140 new homes in Littlemore

Published: 10 April 2018

OPPOSITION has mounted against a previously-approved housing estate next to the Oxford ring road.

Plans to build 140 homes between Littlemore Mental Health Centre and Sainsbury's at Heyford Hill have attracted criticism from several authorities.

The field next to the A4074 is outlined for development in an Oxford City Councilhousing plan, and the council previously permitted a different developer's scheme to build 140 homes there.

A decision is yet to be made on the latest application, lodged by Abbey Developments Limited, but it has been opposed by key consultees including Oxfordshire County Council.

The council objected on transport grounds, stating in its response that the plan provided 'insufficient car and cycle parking'.

It added: "The county council does not consider this location suitable for residential development as it presents challenges to sustainable transport."

But it acknowledged the site has already been permitted in an earlier form and is part of the city council's Local Plan.

The council said if the scheme was approved, the developer should pay £1.19m to help ease pressure on school places.

It also said provision of new bus stops was 'crucial', requesting £140,000 from the developer towards improving public transport and £40,000 for bus stops.

Oxford Civic Society also voiced concerns about several aspects of the plan, describing the layout and design as 'disappointingly reminiscent of the 1970s'.

Documents lodged by the developer, however, describe the design and layout as 'well thought out, 'simple and contemporary'.

Thames Water has warned the housing could create sewage flooding as the current water system would not be able to cope.

It advised that, if the plan is approved, building must not take place until a sufficient drainage strategy has been approved.

Littlemore Parish Council said it was 'seriously concerned' about pedestrian access.

It stated during consultation: "In order to access any local facilities, people on foot will have to travel along a narrow pavement alongside the busy A4074.

"Secondary school children will face a long and in places dangerous walk [to school]."

t said the previous developer suggested a pedestrian and cycle path to Sandford Road, but this has not been further pursued.

The parish council also said residents would be 'socially isolated' due to lack of walking routes into Littlemore centre, and that congestion would worsen at Heyford Hill roundabout.

The developer countered such concerns in its planning application, however, which was submitted in November.

It stated: "[The plan] provides a vibrant and integrated street scene with its own character.

"Vehicular and pedestrian routes have been designed to ensure they are open, direct and well-used.

"The scheme has been prepared to balance the priorities of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers so that there is safe and convenient route into the site."

The city council was due decide on the plans by March 8, but the application is yet to be discussed by its planning committee.