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Council set to veto fields housing plan
BUILDING 40 homes on green space in Cowley could set a precedent for the rest of the city, it has been warned.
Cantay Estates has made a second attempt to build on the pitches of the former Lord Nuffield Club off Barracks Lane.
But Oxford City Council’s planning officers have not given the scheme their backing for fears that it would set a precendent for developing green space.
In a report to east area planning committee, which meets on Monday, planning officer Fiona Bartholomew said: “There is huge unmet need in the city for housing but the need is not reason to build on green field sites.
“The current proposal would not solve the need for affordable housing. Indeed using evidence from the latest strategic housing market assessment, Oxford would need to double in size to meet all its housing need.
“If housing were to be allowed on this privately owned site, it would encourage others to seek development on non-allocated green field sites, and all non-allocated green field land could thereby be under threat.”
The developer has proposed creating two new all-weather pitches to mitigate the loss of the of the green space but Sport England has objected to the scheme.
It says the replacement would not match the quality or quantity of the lost pitches.
Cantay’s previous scheme for 43 houses on the site was rejected by the city council in April as it was considered unacceptable development on green space but an appeal has since been lodged.
The Park End Street based firm bought the site, which has been empty for four years, last year.
The club was founded for car workers and their families as the Morris Motors Sports Club soon after William Morris set up his Cowley factory in 1913.
It closed in 2009 with debts of £3m two years after moving to a new building in Temple Cowley.
Cantay has agreed to sell the club building to a group planning to open a free school, the Tyndale Community School, today.
Normandy Crescent resident Bob Timbs said: “That site has always been used for sport and outdoor events like fetes.
“It should be left as a community asset. Once these homes are built there will be extra traffic coming into Barracks Lane which cannot cope with it.”
Cantay Estates declined to comment.
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