Site Of Gibbs Crescent Oxford OX2 0NX

1 February 2019

 Demolition of existing buildings, and redevelopment of site to provide 140 dwellings (75 x 1 bed, 61 x 2 beds, and 4 x 3 beds) with associated works.

The proposal is for 140 units, 75 of them 1-bed and only 4 x 3-bed. The planning statement says that this reflects housing need and has been discussed with Oxford City Council. 15 of the social/affordable units are to compensate for the lack of any allocation in Paradise Street, making a total of 85 at this site. OCS are concerned that the effect is likely to be an enclave of extremely disadvantaged tenants who will be single people and couples, leavened by a few (15) shared ownership properties and 55 let at market rent so occupied by transient tenants with no stake in the community.

The planning statement argues that it is the size of the site which precludes the provision of more 3-bed family homes with the required outdoor space. But the driver seems to be the desire to provide 1-bed units with no private outdoor space, thereby cramming more units onto the site to everyone’s disadvantage. We know that any home is better than none and the City Council has an impossible task to perform. This should though be weighed up against providing good mixed housing schemes.

In addition to these concerns we note that

  • the buildings will be 1.5 storeys higher that existing and we should ask for scrutiny of the effect on distant views;
  • the development is intended to be car-free (10 spaces, 7 for people with mobility problems, 2 for car club and one for the management). The transport assessment is, as usual, sanguine about walking times to local amenities;
  • the access path to the development appears to be uninviting especially after dark and may present some personal security issues.

We have no objection to the demolition of the existing structure but have serious misgivings about squeezing so many units into this small space. We fear that it will eventually become an isolated and deprived part of inner-city Oxford