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Flooding and traffic worries prompt rethink on Wolvercote housing plan
CONTROVERSIAL plans for almost 200 homes at the site of Wolvercote’s former paper mill are being revised over flooding and traffic concerns.
Oxford University – which owns the site – says it will look again at plans for 190 homes to try to tackle the issues.
It has submitted a planning application to Oxford City Council and would sell the site if permission to develop it is granted.
But the university has now agreed a time extension with the council before a final decision is made.
The Environment Agency said the application did not adequately address the risk of flooding.
And Oxfordshire County Council – responsible for roads – expressed concern about extra traffic on the congested Wolvercote roundabout.
EA planning adviser Jack Moeran said the body did not object to the development in principle.
He said: “Unfortunately we feel the flood risk assessment (FRA) does not adequately address flood risk to the development, future users of the site or third-party impacts.”
And county council officer Huw Jones expressed concern about the speed cars travel at through Wolvercote.
He said: “The speed limit through the village is 20mph and recent observations show some speeds to be in excess of this.
“Mitigation measures should be used to complement the works that are envisaged for the junction of Mill Road with Godstow Road.”
Oxford City Council normally aims to process major planning applications within 13 weeks, but the university has now agreed an extension so it can re-examine the scheme.
University spokesman Matt Pickles said: “The university has agreed an extension with the city council in order to fully consider issues raised during the consultation, both statutory and by the local community.
“We are revising the application based on these comments.”
When asked what particular issues would be addressed, Mr Pickles said that would become clear in the revised planning application.
Production of paper at Wolvercote dated back to at least 1674 and the mill was said to have made the best white paper in England during the 18th century.
It was bought by Oxford University Press in 1870 and continued to supply OUP with paper until its closure in 1998.
It was demolished in 2004 and a year later the university put forward plans for a £40m scheme including 200 homes for staff on the 17-acre site.
But the plans were scaled back to reduce costs, then shelved in 2011.
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