RESIDENTS are opposing a six-storey new development in West Oxford after flats were devastated by a huge explosion.

On February 14, 2017, part of Gibbs Crescent in West Oxford was reduced to a flaming pile of rubble as fuel stored in the flat of resident Guido Schuette’s ignited.

The 48-year-old died in the Valentine’s Day explosion, which a coroner ruled was likely an accident.

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Now A2 Dominion is putting forward a planning application to demolish the three-storey flats and replace them with a much larger development.


The social housing company wants to demolish the three-storey block of 78 flats – of which several are still uninhabitable despite a lengthy clean-up - and replace it with 140 flats standing up to six storeys tall.


Sixty-one per cent would be marked as ‘affordable’, exceeding Oxford City Council’s recommendation of 50 per cent for new housing developments.

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A group of about 25 residents living in the Mill Street area is now opposing the application.

Andrew Chapman said residents were concerned about the ‘domineering’ size of the proposed development.

He added: “Residents are also worried about the compound effects of three or four major concurrent building projects proposed for the New Osney community, squeezed between the river and the rail tracks.

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“As well as Gibbs Crescent, possible future schemes include the Said Business School redevelopment of the power station and, in due course Oxford Station redevelopment, Network Rail electrification and rail track expansion.

“There is also the Student Castle development and continued West End development plans up to Osney Lane.

“We would prefer it if the existing flats in Gibbs Crescent were refurbished, with the height of the buildings staying the same.”


Labour city councillor for Jericho and Osney Susanna Pressel said there was no date yet for the A2 Dominion application to come before the West area planning committee and added it was possible the current application could be withdrawn for changes to be made.

She added: “Many residents feel that six storeys is much too tall. Even the current blocks are clearly visible from the Thames towpath on the far side of the river. If the new ones were twice as high, they would look very startling and be extremely controversial, in this beautiful verdant setting.

"The city council would be delighted to have even more social housing on this site, but not at any price.

“This is a complex application and several aspects are still under discussion.”

A spokesman for A2Dominion said: "We are working with Oxford City Council and making minor amendments following comments received.

“We will not be withdrawing our planning application for Gibbs Crescent.

“Our aim for the redevelopment of Gibbs Crescent is to create a mixed tenure and sustainable community that will benefit residents and the wider community.”