Oxford North – Developer’s Response

TWO, developers of Oxford North, reply to our comments

23 August 2018

This letter is from TWO (Thomas White Oxford), the developers of Oxford North. It replies to the points we made in our comments on the public consultation before a planning application was submitted to Oxford City Council.

The planning application has since been published; its reference number is 18/02065/OUTFUL  and comments can be submitted up to 3 October.

Sir Clive Booth
Oxford Civic Society
67 Cunliffe Close
Oxford OX2 7BJ

17 August 2018

Dear Sir Clive

Re: Oxford North Public Consultation

Thank you for your letter and contribution to our latest consultation on Oxford North. As you know, over the past six years, there have been five rounds of consultation and engagement events which have shaped the masterplan. I write to set out some more detail of this evolution and respond to some of the points you raise.

It is important to acknowledge that through the series of consultation events run by Thomas White Oxford, first as a member of the Northern Gateway Consort and then in its own right, we have received feedback on increasingly more detail of the proposals. Our masterplanners have been at these exhibitions, discussing the proposals with the community and responding to the constructive suggestions from the public.

In your letter, you rightly acknowledge the challenge of an outline proposal, where certain details are aspirational rather than described in specific details. I do hope the below reassures you on our general approach. In setting the outline for the site, we also strive to provide detail on our vision, of transforming the area into one with tree-lined streets and a mix of workplaces, homes, leisure, arts and culture, and open green spaces for everyone to enjoy.

We have reviewed the feedback from the consultation, Oxford Design Review Panel and the views of our specialist advisers and have decided to hold back on submitting any residential as part of our initial phase of work. We note the comment on density of housing but must balance these with the ambitions set out in the AAP.

At this stage, we are proposing to agree the outline only of the residential element and will be looking very carefully at how we can achieve the best layout and design when bringing this forward.

Parks and Landscaping

We are pleased that you recognise the three parks are attractive features, as well as the improvements proposed to create tree-lined streets. In order to ensure these features are maintained, the site’s occupiers will be required to pay into a fund which will ensure they are properly managed for the long-term.

We have also carefully reviewed options for landscaping to provide a more enhanced screen for our neighbours through our landscaping strategy. We have instructed our specialist landscape architects to bring forward a scheme that will provide this enhanced screening as early as possible.

Our project will deliver a £30 million improvement to local transport infrastructure, with a significant focus on improving the local cycling network. We have already had one follow up meeting with a local cycling group and will continue to work with them as the project develops.

We are ambitious in our aspiration to deliver an improved cycle connection to Oxford Parkway Station. For the time being, this route goes via Five Mile Drive. However, we are in ongoing discussions with the various landowners between Oxford North site and Oxford Parkway which wou Id facilitate a more direct cycle route. We will be creating cycle routes on our site which will be built so that they can easily connect to such a route, if appropriate in the future.

As our scheme develops over the coming years, we will maintain a close eye on neighbouring developments. It is in all our interests, to provide a direct connection from Oxford North through any new development to the jobs, homes and retail spaces on Oxford North.

Highways and rat-running

Your comments on highways and rat running are noted. We remain supportive of the Loop Farm Link Road which is being advanced by the County Council, but our development is not dependent on it, or vice versa. You are quite right that the shared space we are creating with the central street through the development will require careful consideration to ensure it achieves our ambitions on environmental quality.

Car Parking

The detail of the phase 1 element of car parking is set out within out application, which will provide 253 spaces for the initial development. We have outline proposals to use car parking to help screen workspaces from the noise of the A34. More information can be found on our ‘Delivery’ exhibition board, where the proposed car parks are shaded grey. As these are outline elements only, we look forward to further evolving them in the future.

I would like to thank you for your considered submission to our consultation, we have worked closely to listen to the constructive views of the community over the years, to understand how we can best deliver on the Area Action Plan.

We will continue to work with the community as the project moves forward.

Yours sincerely

Julian Barwick
Project Chairman, Oxford North