When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Lib Dems call for homes not hotel on Oxford's Oxpens redevelopment
CALLS have been made for more housing to be included in a major redevelopment in central Oxford.
The authority has drawn up a masterplan which will set out how the 20-acre site should be developed and it includes 125 houses and 172 flats, offices, research and development space, a hotel and a public square, with Oxpens Meadow being preserved.
But city councillor Jean Fooks, leader of the Lib Dem opposition group, said: “We welcome the proposals to reinvigorate this part of Oxford and provide much-needed housing in a well-planned urban setting.
“But this site should be better used to increase the supply of new housing in a well-designed community setting, with plenty of open space, trees and planting to enhance the environment.
“There are other sites more suited to hotel use, just as close to the railway station and with excellent links to the city centre. We suggest that Oxpens should provide for many more dwellings, perhaps as many as 600 or 700, no new retail, small business units beside the railway line and any new hotel should be provided elsewhere.”
Her concerns were echoed by the Oxford branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which has called for housing to be put on ‘brownfield’ land in towns rather than in the countryside.
Chairwoman Sietske Boeles said: “We believe that the council should use this opportunity to create much-needed family homes and provision for the older population as this type of housing would ensure a more cohesive community. The current proposed accommodation is much more aimed at a transient population such as students and fast moving young professionals.
“We don’t think that there is enough green space provision given the proposed high density of the population.”
Last month Bob Price, the leader of Oxford City Council, admitted the authority was “nowhere near” hitting its target of building enough affordable homes for the city, with council officers estimating that 2,000 new affordable homes a year are needed.
City councillor Colin Cook, the executive board member for city development, said: “There is a shortage not just of housing in Oxford. There is also a shortage of commercial space in the city centre and a shortage of hotels and student accommodation. We have to strike a balance and that is what we have tried to do at Oxpens.”