The Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum has issued a statement of their position as planning permission has been granted for Oxford North and as the Neighbourhood Forum is now part of the planning process. The statement has been sent to Thomas White Oxford.
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.
Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum
The West Area Planning Committee two days ago delayed making a decision, by seven votes to two, on the change of use application for the surgery space and workshops to flats until the next meeting. The Committee was seeking clarification of a number of issues. This provides a little time but there is no presumption that it means that an eventual decision will be to reject the planning application, perhaps quite the contrary. However, we will continue to do what we can and keep you in the picture.
Thanks again to all of you who commented to the Council on this planning application.
In September 2020 a planning application was made by the developer of the Mill Site, CALA Homes, for a Change of Use from the GP Surgery shown on the original plans to residential flats. The Neighbourhood Forum and the Wolvercote Commoners’ Committee have written to all residents on their mailing lists urging them to comment on this application. The deadline for comments has now been extended to 28th December. The Forum’s revised letter gives more information. From the original letter at least eighty letters, mostly objecting to the application, were sent to the Council.
In July 2017 the Forum responded to the Cherwell Local Plan 2011-2031, Partial Review on three separate forms:
- Policy PR3 – The Oxford Green Belt
- Policy PR4a – Sustainable Transport
- Policy PR6a and PR6b – Land East and West of Oxford Road
The developer’s appeal against the Council’s rejection of the development at Elsfield Way, at which the Neighbourhood Forum was represented, has been rejected.
2018 – November
As discussed at our AGM, CALA Homes has incorporated a second toilet into the community building. This has been submitted to Oxford City Council for approval.
The remediation work on site is now substantially complete. Works to begin the construction of the access in accordance with the Highways agreement are taking place and will be completed as quickly as possible.
The house build will start shortly
The CALA Homes web page about the Paper Mill Development is shows the current status.
2018 – October
CALA Homes announced at the Forum’s Annual General Meeting that they are currently in the process of clearing the site. They will start building in about 6 weeks time. The project will take 3 years. They will post information about the current state of the project on a board outside the site. They have a website which they will update every 2 months about the status of the project.
2018 – June
On Saturday afternoon 23rd June there will be an exhibition in Wolvercote Village Hall as part of the Midsummer Festival, where there will be contributions about the developments from CALA Homes on the Paper Mill site and Spacecraft Consulting on the Northern Gateway. The Forum’s comments to the City Council on CALA Homes’ recent Reserved Matters planning application will also be shown.
2018 – February
CALA Homes (Chiltern) are preparing a reserved matters planning application for a
development of 190 high quality homes, a community building, commercial premises, public open space and the renovation of the reservoir and mill stream, on the site of the former Wolvercote Paper Mill. The site received outline planning approval in September 2017.
Their proposals include a broad range of properties to meet local housing need, including a 50% allocation of affordable homes. There will also be financial contributions to enhance local facilities and services.
They held a community consultation event on the evening of 2 February 2018 in the Parish Room of St. Peter’s Church, First Turn, Wolvercote.
In May 2016 Homes for Oxford bid for the Mill site on behalf of a number of constituent organisations with compatible but distinct agendas, incorporating co-housing, social housing, self-building, etc. It was their intention to provide for community engagement and for the site to have intrinsic diversity, both architectural and social in the people attracted to live there, facilitating greater integration between the development and the existing village community. They considered that they would have been able to address the key issues that local people have raised about the development of the site. They sought support from the community. This bid failed.
In February 2016 the Forum issued a statement on their concerns about building in this floodplain area: WNF statement on Flooding & Mill Site
On 1st December 2015 the West Area Planning Committee of the Oxford City Council voted in favour of granting planning permission for the Wolvercote Paper Mill site:
Agenda and Minutes of the meeting
At this meeting the Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum and Wolvercote Commoners’ Committee issued a joint statement in favour of development on the Paper Mill site but stating their concerns about its size and the consequent traffic, parking and other issues.
There are still concerns about the proposed number of houses and worries about traffic and school places, given the proposals in the Area Action Plan for the Northern Gateway.
Oxford City Council’s Sites and Housing Plan 2011 – 2016, Policy SP63, page 116.
To find out the current status of this site in the planning process, go to http://www.oxford.gov.uk/planningapplications
Click “View and comment on Planning Applications”
In the box under “Enter a keyword…” type “Wolvercote Paper Mill” and click “Search”.
Oxford City Council has proposed development on the Oxford University Press Sports Ground. See their website for their Sites and Housing Plan 2011 – 2016, Policy SP45, page 99.
Oxford North is the new name of what was originally called the Oxford Northern Gateway development. It was cleared by a Government planning inspector, 15 June 2015.
Oxford City Council has proposed the development of Oxford’s Northern Gateway, a 44-hectare site north of the Wolvercote Roundabout. The proposed Area Action Plan includes 90,000 square metres of office space, 500 dwellings, 2,500 square metres of retail space and an additional 180-bed hotel. See their website for the Proposed Submission Document and much other associated documentation concerning the Northern Gateway Area Action Plan (AAP).
Wolvercote Neighbourhood Forum Response
Oxford City Council proposes development on the Elsfield Hall site. See their website for their Sites and Housing Plan 2011 – 2016, Policy SP16, page 73.
This development has been approved. For more information go to http://www.oxford.gov.uk/planningapplications
read the Licence Agreement, click “I Accept”, type “Elsfield Hall” and click “Search”.