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18.09.19

North Oxford looks set for £500m development plan

A £500m development plan for North Oxford looks likely to get the green light from Oxford City Council officers.

The proposal includes 480 new homes and offices with a 4,500-job capacity and an 18-bedroom hotel, to be located near the Wolvercote Roundabout.

Figureheads in the area are keen to tackle the affordable housing crisis. The Fast Growth Cities Network, made up of Cambridge City, Milton Keynes, Oxford City, Norwich City and Swindon Borough councils have ambitious plans to deliver more affordable homes including for rent and council homes, and to address the climate change emergency by switching to net zero emission development.

Not everyone is thrilled by the idea proposed by Thomas White Oxford (TWO), owned by St John’s College, with many residents opposing the idea and expressing concern about the suggested solution.

Concerns ranged from it looking ‘ugly’, the number of affordable housing and traffic.

Developers Thomas White Oxford (TWO) initially proposed that 25% of the new homes would be considered affordable housing, though the local authority has been keen to see that figure increased.

City council leader, Susan Brown, said that the authority would be happier to settle for 35% of new homes being designated affordable housing.

She explained: “When the Oxford North plans were published last year I expressed concern over what was being offered in the residential parts, and made clear I wanted to see as much affordable housing as possible, particularly as public money would be supporting the scheme.

"Over the past few months, our officers have been working tirelessly in discussions with the developer to see how the initial offer of 25% affordable housing could be increased.

"We also sought external expert advice the question of what is viable for the site. Following this detailed work, a commitment to 35% affordable housing has now been secured."

A TWO spokeswoman said: “Over the last several years, TWO and Oxford City Council have worked on a collaborative basis with a considerable amount of work carried out to realise the city council’s vision.

“Our offer is a result of the city council persuading us to continue to take a long-term view alongside our £100m investment into local infrastructure and sustainability initiatives.

Councillors are set to decide on the application in the coming week at Oxford Town Hall.

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