Developer turns down cash plan

thisisoxfordshire: Colin Cook Colin Cook

A DEVELOPER has refused to give any cash for affordable housing in the latest twist over plans for a 1901 coal house in Oxford city centre.

Councillors previously hit out at Cantay Investments for putting forward a scheme for nine flats at the site behindCantay House off Park End Street.

This means it just misses a council policy that developments of 10 units or more must make half the homes available as affordable housing. So instead, councillors suggested the firm give cash to spend on affordable housing elsewhere in the city.

But it has refused this as well. Cantay bosses said it could not afford to give the cash, though this has been disputed by an Oxford City Council planning officer. It is the latest twist in a saga over housing at the prominent town centre site, behind Conference Centre Oxford.

The scheme was approved by the west area planning committee in December but has now been “called in” by councillors over the affordable housing issue. Executive board member for city development Colin Cook said: “It is my contention this site is perfectly capable of taking 10 flats.”

A viability assessment which Cantay says shows it does not need to give cash had not been carried out correctly, a report by council planning officers says.

This works by subtracting the sale value of homes from the costs of building a scheme.

If this “residual land value” number is greater than the value of its existing use then the scheme is said to be viable.

But the report says Cantay compared this number to the value of site for student flats, which it also has permission, and not the standard housing residential value.

The report says: “They were not comparing like with like. Evidence submitted is not clear or robust and officers are not satisfied that a departure from the policy position is justified.”

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They recommend the entire plan for nine flats be refused and it will be debated by the council's planning review committee on July 25.

The scheme for 45 student flats on the site was approved in January despite concerns it would add to anti-social behaviour.

A Cantay spokesman would not comment on the move.

Comments (9)

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6:26pm Wed 18 Jul 12

Feelingsmatter says...

Let's just hope the council doesn't buckle and allow these mercenary individuals to build anything.
Let's just hope the council doesn't buckle and allow these mercenary individuals to build anything. Feelingsmatter
  • Score: 1

7:04pm Wed 18 Jul 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

When a building "plot" has planning permission, it clearly has greater value than a "plot" that does not.

There may well be a significant amount of bluster and hot air on the part of the council, but they plan, and write the rules and they manage the planning permission. If they subsequently find that the rules and implementation fail to meet their own expectations - then they should know exactly who to blame.

(I look forward to a developer saying to OCC "Good news. We can squeeze another parking space in...")
When a building "plot" has planning permission, it clearly has greater value than a "plot" that does not. There may well be a significant amount of bluster and hot air on the part of the council, but they plan, and write the rules and they manage the planning permission. If they subsequently find that the rules and implementation fail to meet their own expectations - then they should know exactly who to blame. (I look forward to a developer saying to OCC "Good news. We can squeeze another parking space in...") Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 4

7:30pm Wed 18 Jul 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

Simple solution, deny planning permission.
Simple solution, deny planning permission. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

9:35pm Wed 18 Jul 12

BigAlBiker says...

So Colin Cooknis now a housing expert and can tell business people what they can build and what they can't?

Don't you think the idea of 9 developments was deliberate? Don't you think the builders know the planning laws and on what grounds they can apply for permission and the fact that even if the council turn down planning permission they will get it

Cookie get your head out of your rear end and do something useful like the job your paid to do.
So Colin Cooknis now a housing expert and can tell business people what they can build and what they can't? Don't you think the idea of 9 developments was deliberate? Don't you think the builders know the planning laws and on what grounds they can apply for permission and the fact that even if the council turn down planning permission they will get it Cookie get your head out of your rear end and do something useful like the job your paid to do. BigAlBiker
  • Score: 0

9:35pm Wed 18 Jul 12

BigAlBiker says...

So Colin Cooknis now a housing expert and can tell business people what they can build and what they can't?

Don't you think the idea of 9 developments was deliberate? Don't you think the builders know the planning laws and on what grounds they can apply for permission and the fact that even if the council turn down planning permission they will get it

Cookie get your head out of your rear end and do something useful like the job your paid to do.
So Colin Cooknis now a housing expert and can tell business people what they can build and what they can't? Don't you think the idea of 9 developments was deliberate? Don't you think the builders know the planning laws and on what grounds they can apply for permission and the fact that even if the council turn down planning permission they will get it Cookie get your head out of your rear end and do something useful like the job your paid to do. BigAlBiker
  • Score: 0

8:03am Thu 19 Jul 12

Sid Hunt says...

As the application has already been approved I can see an appeal by the builders being successful - leaving council tax payers with another unnecessary bill.

This looks like another incompetent episode for the city council.
As the application has already been approved I can see an appeal by the builders being successful - leaving council tax payers with another unnecessary bill. This looks like another incompetent episode for the city council. Sid Hunt
  • Score: 1

9:49am Thu 19 Jul 12

Myron Blatz says...

BigAlBiker has to remember that his rather disingenuous comment could be taken as a statement of fact - whereas Cllr Cook and many of his City Council colleagues normally reside in that place. Mr Biker must also remember that Oxford City Council has a massive task in maintaining the levels of political and operation ineptness to which the people of Oxford have come to expect - though keep voting-in Labour councillors! So, perhaps your anger should be re-directed toward the people who abolished Area Committees - where such planning issues would have been in the public domain - and toward people such as Cllr Cook and his Labour friends.
BigAlBiker has to remember that his rather disingenuous comment could be taken as a statement of fact - whereas Cllr Cook and many of his City Council colleagues normally reside in that place. Mr Biker must also remember that Oxford City Council has a massive task in maintaining the levels of political and operation ineptness to which the people of Oxford have come to expect - though keep voting-in Labour councillors! So, perhaps your anger should be re-directed toward the people who abolished Area Committees - where such planning issues would have been in the public domain - and toward people such as Cllr Cook and his Labour friends. Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

9:53am Thu 19 Jul 12

icba1957 says...

Coupled with the 24 hour deadline to prove the case for Barton West, I would suggest this just shows the City Council to be clueless blunderers.
Unfortunately, I live in Abingdon, where they're just as bad!
Coupled with the 24 hour deadline to prove the case for Barton West, I would suggest this just shows the City Council to be clueless blunderers. Unfortunately, I live in Abingdon, where they're just as bad! icba1957
  • Score: 1

2:02pm Thu 19 Jul 12

sparky123456 says...

why should they be forced to build 10 flats? this is the problem with oxford. no parking, no gardens, bins strewn across pavements. 9 flats might enable the residents to park! the cheek of asking for cash, isn't that basically blackmail??
why should they be forced to build 10 flats? this is the problem with oxford. no parking, no gardens, bins strewn across pavements. 9 flats might enable the residents to park! the cheek of asking for cash, isn't that basically blackmail?? sparky123456
  • Score: -1

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