New doctors’ surgery in Lower Wolvercote cancelled

Dear Neighbours,

The change of use application for the surgery space at Wolvercote Mill was approved by the Planning Committee of Oxford City Council on Tuesday 9 March. In spite of all our efforts we failed to secure the relocation of the current satellite surgery.
I am afraid that the decision was inevitable because the legal advice the Committee received, and the advice of Planning Officers, was that the developers had fulfilled the terms of the 106 condition, which did not explicitly state that a fitted-out surgery should be provided free.
The Clinical Commissioning Group standard, even for a relocated surgery, meant that a fit-out could have cost up to £1m. The CCG has no capital and, even if it had, its policy is not to fund surgeries unless there are more new residents than there will be at Wolvercote Mill together with Oxford  North in the future.
If CALA Homes had fitted out the surgery (and they were not required to do so), the rent needed would have been unaffordable. There was no possibility that funding could be found from elsewhere. We considered using some Infrastructure Levy money, but we could not have made enough of a difference.
We tried very hard to solve the problems. I had several email exchanges and a meeting with the CCG , and Layla Moran wrote to them twice. Mary Brown and I had a meeting with the Land Director of Cala Homes.
Lower Wolvercote’s current surgery is very small and on a restricted site. It is a highly valued local amenity. We must do whatever we can to maintain and, if possible,  improve it.
I do not think that it is either possible or sensible to attribute blame to any of the parties involved in this. Unaffordable costs, lack of money, a long-standing 106, and CCG rules combined to make it impossible.

Christopher Hardman
Chair
Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum

Godstow Abbey display board

The Forum was a sponsor of an information display board at Godstow Abbey on Port Meadow. This was a joint enterprise together with the School of Geography and the Environment of Oxford University and the Ashmolean Museum following a competition and support from the Higher Education Funding Council.

In May 2016 the display board was unveiled by the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire in the presence of the Mayor of Oxford, members of Oxford University, the Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum and the public. The event included tours on the history and conservation of the abbey ruins. Oxford Waits provided musical accompaniment.

See photos of the event in our Gallery.

More information:

Current activities

Having established the key issues through public meetings, the Forum has formulated objectives from which it has created planning policies (the Draft Plan) to work alongside Oxford City Council‘s strategic policies (for example, the Oxford Core Strategy, the Northern Gateway Area Action Plan and the Sites and Housing Development Plan Document). All these policies will enable the City Council to make judgments in the determination of planning applications.

Also the Forum is involved in ongoing discussions with the planning authorities about the proposed local Development Sites. It is especially addressing the issues of transport, flooding and pollution.

The Forum has:

  • joined the Oxfordshire Neighbourhood Planning Association and is liaising with the Headington and Summertown neighbourhood forums.
  • jointly sponsored an information display board at Godstow Abbey.
  • organized joint public meetings with the City and County Councils about Oxford North.
  • discussed plans with Oxford University and CALA Homes for the development of the Wolvercote Paper Mill site.
  • interacted with the City Council over the development at Elsfield Hall, which has now been given planning consent.
  • written a Transport Report as part of the Plan which has already been used to inform the Forum’s response to proposed developments in the Area.
  • in 2015 sent out a questionnaire to all the residents of the Area to elicit their views about housing and the community; in 2017 provided an on-line questionnaire to elicit views on the Draft Plan.

Open meetings

2023

WNF 2023 Open Meeting & AGM Agenda
WNF 2023 Annual report
WNF 2023 Treasurer’s Report and Accounts

2022

WNF AGM 2022 Minutes (Draft)
WNF 2022 Open Meeting and AGM Agenda
WNF 2022 Treasurer’s Report & Accounts

2019

WNF AGM 2019 Minutes 

2018

The Forum’s Fifth Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30pm on Wednesday, 10th October 2018, in the Wolvercote Village Hall.
Many thanks to those who generously donated a total of £96 at the AGM.
WNF AGM Agenda
WNF AGM Treasurer’s Report
WNF AGM 2018 Minutes – DRAFT

2017

The Forum’s Fourth Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30pm on Tuesday, 31st October 2017, in the Wolvercote Village Hall.
WNF AGM 2017 – Project Manager’s Report
WNF AGM 2017 Minutes

2016

The Forum’s Third Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30pm on Wednesday, 26th October 2016, in the Wolvercote Village Hall.
WNF AGM Minutes 2016

2015

The Forum’s Second Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30pm on Wednesday, 14th October 2015, in the Wolvercote Village Hall.
WNF AGM Minutes 2015

2014

The Forum’s First Annual General Meeting was held at 7:30pm on Wednesday, 15th October 2014, in the Wolvercote Village Hall.
WNF AGM Minutes 2014

2013

A public meeting was held in Wolvercote Village Hall, 16th Oct 2013, to update residents on our work and to prioritise our key issues and objectives to be published as a Neighbourhood Plan.
Outcome of the meeting

The pictures below are from a public meeting about Elsfield Way held on 16th April 2013.

Elsefield Way Meeting Pictures 066Elsefield Way Meeting Pictures 067

Steering Committee meeting minutes

The minutes of the meetings of the Forum Steering Committee:

2023

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

The Forum

The Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum represents the residents of the Forum Area in local planned developments. It has done this by collecting and documenting the community’s views into a Neighbourhood Plan, which was presented to the residents of the Area in a referendum in Spring 2021, at which it was approved with a large majority. The plan was then “made” by the City Council, and became a binding legal planning document to be considered for all future planning applications in the Area.

Neighbourhoods with an adopted Neighbourhood Plan are entitled to 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy (“CIL”: funding derived from a levy on large local developments such as the Mill Site and Oxford North), which can be spent on projects proposed by local residents. Such projects are described, though not exclusively, as “Community Policies” in the Neighbourhood Plan. 

The Forum was designated for five years by Oxford City Council in January 2014, following the guidelines set out in the 2011 Localism Act. It was re-designated in March 2019.