Land Forming The Site Of Former Cold Arbour Filling Station 281 Abingdon Road Oxford Oxfordshire OX1 4US

29 October 2019

19/02578/OUT | Outline application (Seeking the approval Access/Appearance/Layout/Scale) for the redevelopment of site to provide residential building containing 9 apartments. Parking, access and associated works. | Land Forming The Site Of Former Cold Arbour Filling Station 281 Abingdon Road Oxford Oxfordshire OX1 4US

This site presents a difficult series of issues which account for the long period without redevelopment: narrow site from west (road) to east (boundary) and seriously contaminated ground (former petrol station).  Oxford Civic Society are not convinced that the present Outline application is worthy of planning permission. Apart from the contentious issues of contribution to affordable housing which has perhaps now been settled,  the layout proposed sets the buildings so near to the road that we doubt the assertions in paragraphs 5.11- 5.13 of the Design and Access statement that the balconies “are well set back from the road and will sit up at a higher level ensuring their usability” and that the “shared ground floor area will also be a useable and pleasant place given its size and defence from the road by hedging”. The incidence of polluted air and traffic noise must seriously challenge the veracity of these assertions. We conclude that this proposal is probably an overdevelopment: fewer flats could allow the private amenity space, whether balconies or an area at ground level to be provided further from and better protected from the road.

Two other issues cause OCS some concern: contamination and energy management. Contamination at present is serious and although there is submitted a detailed remediation plan it is, of course, as yet untested. Before any occupancy of any new buildings could be allowed there must be proof of the safety of the decontaminated site. As for energy management, the discussion so far submitted does not deserve the name of a plan: it consists simply of a list of nine well-known measures that might be considered but gives no indication that serious thought has been given as yet to how to combine the individual items or to produce an acceptable outcome.

At present OCS advise that this Outline application should be withdrawn for further consideration by the applicant or it should be refused.