Sure enough, the planners are ploughing ahead with the attempt to hedge us residents of East Mill Street in with an ugly building fit for 74 students of Bellerbys, provided, that is, the UK government allows students with cash into the UK for the purpose of studying.
Objections against the plans are allowed until the 9th of May, so it’s incumbent on us lot to object – that is, if we want to object. The clever developers are attempting to tell us that the overweening wall will protect us from the noise of the railways. There is very little noise from the railways…
Just as a matter of record, below is the letter I wrote to Murray Hancock, planning officer of Oxford City Council. Others might find it useful.
I have copied it to Susanna Pressel and to Sherriff Colin Cook – councillors for this neck of the woods – and to our MP, Nicola Blackwood. I would have copied it to Michael Crofton-Briggs, a chief planner at the outfit, but couldn’t find his email on the Oxford City Council web site. The architect, Adrian James, lives in Mill Street but on the western side of the road.
Local newspaper the Oxford Mail has already written a story about our complaint. Here’s my billet doubt (sic) to Murray the Man.
25 April 2011
Oxford City Council
10 St Ebbe’s
Oxford OX1 1PT
I am the owner/occupier of 27 Mill Street, OX2 0AJ.
I am writing to express my objection to the planning proposal for ground between Mill Street and the railway – planning reference number 11/00927/FUL.
My objections to the planning proposal centre around Council policy HS19 – Privacy and Amenity, to wit:
”Planning permission will only be granted for development that adequately provides both for the protection, and/or creation, of the privacy or amenity of the occupants of the proposed and existing neighbouring, residential properties. The City Council will assess each development proposal in terms of:
a. potential for overlooking into habitable rooms or private open space;
b. potential for noise intrusion;
c. sense of enclosure, or development of an overbearing nature;
d. refuse and recycling storage;
e. cycle storage;
f. drying space; and
g. sunlight and daylight standards.”
In particular, I am concerned that the development will impact points (a), (c) and (g). Currently my garden is very private and I will feel very hemmed in if this building is allowed to proceed.
At the recent open day when the proposed plans were shown, the developers made the to my mind somewhat specious argument that the development would provide benefits to residents because the building would reduce the noise from the railway. In fact, as matters stand right now, there is little noise from the railway as most trains are slowing to stop at Oxford Station or slowly leaving the station.
I am also concerned that the development is likely to have a severe impact because most of the existing trees will be destroyed – I understand that only six trees are likely to be kept. I am also concerned about increased traffic on the already congested Mill Street, which is something of a rat run already.
I would appreciate a written reply to my objection. I am copying this letter to councillors Susanna Pressel, Colin Cook and Nicola Blackwood. I would also appreciate the email address of Michael Crofton-Briggs, who I would like to copy in too.