269 Cowley Road Oxford Oxfordshire OX4 2AJ

18 January 2019

Redevelopment of Bartlemas Nursery Site including the removal of the existing nursery buildings and their replacement with a two and a half storey buildings to provide graduate students accommodation and warden’s flat. The proposal includes 17 student rooms with communal kitchen/diner and 13 self-contained 1 or 2 bed units. Provision of 2 disabled parking bays, bicycle and bin storage and communal amenity space.

We support the request for an extension of the deadline for comment on this application made by the Divinity Road Area Residents Association (DRARA) in their email of 14 January to Mr Adrian Arnold, so that further information can be provided to permit a proper consideration of this application. DRARA’s main points are reproduced in the Annex to this letter.

We are disappointed that, so far as we know, this project was not submitted for consideration by the Design Review Panel.


Extract from DRARA email of 14 January

The site of the former Bartlemas Nursery School is acknowledged by the Bartlemas Conservation Area Appraisal as playing an important role in the setting of the ancient hamlet.   ‘It provides a green buffer along the western section of the conservation area, maintaining the important sense of seclusion and isolation that has traditionally been associated with the historic core of Bartlemas…. Any reuse or redevelopment of this site must take full account of the proximity of the listed buildings, the relationship between each of the buildings and the special character of the conservation area as a whole.’

The site has been subject to two previously dismissed Appeals in 2009 and 2011 for developments of a similar scale to the present proposal; an indication of the site’s sensitivity.

  1. In the light of the 2013 Roger Dudman Way Review findings and recommendations, the proposal’s lack of meaningful verified visuals, vitally winter views, as particularly pointed out by the last Appeal Inspector as being essential, makes it impossible to get a true sense of the impact of the development on the character and appearance of the BCA and the setting of the Grade 2* Farmhouse; the reasons for the dismissal of both previous schemes. The verified visuals to date, showing full leaf cover, give an over simplistic broken wire outline indication of the proposed development.  It is therefore impossible for either the public to make informed comments or the planning committee to make an informed decision on this latest scheme, which is in fact larger than the two previous dismissed schemes.
  2. There is a lack of information and discrepancies in the Arboriculture Impact Assessment; some of the tree survey is missing, including a root protection plan, there has been no proper survey of the trees in neighbouring gardens so there is no clear information on all the existing trees to is proposed to remove, and no plan of the mitigation planting mentioned in the proposal’s Design and Access Statement.  These documents are a requirement, and set out in the planning application form, and essential to the understanding of the impact of any proposed development on a site referred to by the BCA Appraisal as playing ‘an important role in the setting of the hamlet’.
  3. There is no mention either in the application form or Dust Risk Assessment of the possible presence of asbestos in the old nursery school.
  4. As pointed out by Thames Water, there is no workable drainage plan for this proposed development.
  5. There is no clear indication of boundary treatment/fencing/security to half of the site’s boundary. Thames Valley Police has raised site security as an important issue.
  6. There is no assessment of how light spillage would be managed, a matter which was raised by the second Appeal Inspector and would be a significant issue given the levels of lighting recommended by Thames Valley Police in its recently submitted comments.
  7. Over much of the consultation period the Council offices were closed so viewing the full-sized plans was impossible and there have been found to be inconsistencies in their availability and difficulties of legibility on line (not least the small, elongated formatting of the Design and Access Statement).