133 Botley Road Oxford OX2 0HD

4 May 2019

Change of use from Chinese Takeaway (Use Class A5) to 1 x 2 bed flat (Use Class C3) at ground floor to include an erection of a single storey rear extension and formation of stairs to rear. Alterations to roof to form hip to gable and formation of 1no. front dormer and 1no. rear dormer in association with a loft conversion to create 1 x 3 bed flat (Use Class C3). Insertion of 4no. windows to side elevation and alterations to windows and doors to side. Erection of 1 x 1 bed dwelling (Use Class C3) to rear. Provision of amenity space, bin and cycle storage.

This application concerns a site that contains a run-down take-away that has known better days and is in need of rejuvenation in some form or another. The proposal is for an end to the take-away activity and for the rejigging of the accommodation to produce one 3 bed flat, one 2 bed flat and one 1 bed flat. The plans appear to be carefully thought through from the point of view of the future occupants but the documentation does not provide evidence of any consultation with the planning authority or with neighbours. Consequently, it is difficult to be persuaded from these papers that the proposed raising of floor levels for the new development on the ground floor is sufficient to provide adequate protection from the acknowledged threat of flooding from rising river water. Equally, the assertion that the loss of employment by those currently employed by the “failing take-away”  will be covered by their re-employment by another family business, presumably provided by the present owners who intend to occupy one of the new flats on the site, is not substantiated. The appearance of the buildings proposed is not out of place in that part of the Botley Road and would constitute a significant improvement on what is currently on site; and the impact of the long side of the development from the corner with Botley Road down the side of Earl Street would add some new domestic activity to that part of the road compared with its present “dead” effect. However, the Oxford Civic Society would recommend that before this application is determined there should be consultation with the city planners, looking in particular at the flood prevention measures proposed and taking into the balance the gain of some new domestic accommodation and the improvement in the general appearance of the site if this development were to go ahead.