Oxford North – preliminary comments

The latest plans for Oxford North (ex-Northern Gateway) are flawed and still too vague.

22 July 2018

The large mixed development on the northern edge of Oxford originally known as the Northern Gateway has resurfaced under the name Oxford North. A public exhibition of plans was held a few weeks ago  – the developers’  website shows the information that was presented.

We commented at some length on the original proposal, an Area Action Plan (AAP), in October 2014. We found the AAP seriously flawed in many respects including housing provision, traffic management, and poor provision for cycling and walking both within the development and connecting to other destinations including Oxford Parkway station.

The latest plans have made some changes but the problem at the moment is the general lack of detail. We hope this will be put right when the formal planning application is submitted.

We have submitted our comments on the plans as they now stand – you can read them here. In brief we say:

  • Housing provision is disappointingly low, and as it stands is below the target set in the AAP.
  • The provision of green space is welcome, but it needs to be clear which is public and which is private space.
  • Provision for cycling falls far short of modern standards. It fails to meet the County Council’s own standards or the recommendations of the recent Gilligan report.
  • The design of the principal roads also fails to meet current best practice and would, we think, create empty ‘dead’ facades like those of the new Westgate.
  • Clear plans are needed to prevent rat-running through the development.
  • There is no consideration of car parking.

The developers ran an online public consultation which has now closed. We hope they will make the results public, and meanwhile we will continue to follow the progress of the Oxford North development and report again at the next stage.