Tag Archives: trees

Oxford City Council appears “inept or corrupt”

HERE ON Mill Street, I take a long and hard look at the local Mick's Cafe, the Botley Roadcommunity and now that even Jocks like me have suffrage in England, I will be voting on the 2nd of May next.

So when a leaflet popped through my door from the Green candidate, Sushila Dhall of Green Oxford arrived with some allegations about the infamous Roger Dudman Way development, I read it with some interest.

I wrote to Ms Dhall – see correspondence below.  In other news, had a lovely breakfast at Mick’s New Cafe this morning. BBC Radio Oxford was outside the Westgate Hotel conducting a vox pop about St George’s Day. Unfortunately, I am no good – because I am a sweaty sock.

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Dear Mike,
I am referring to the fiasco surrounding the Roger Dudman way development, where a vital report from the City Council Heritage Officer was suppressed by the city council planning department after 1.5m of the apex of the roof was removed, as if this answered the concerns, which it did not at all, soil contamination surveys were not carried out, an Environmental Impact Assessment was deemed uneccessary (by the planning dept), which included a lighting survey and the impact on the view, trees were said to be able to be planted where they cannot, the plans were misleading in that they showed the view cone (meant to be protected) would not be affected, which it is, severely, the wording of the report said that the buildings would be visible as ‘glimpses from parts of the Meadow’, consultation which was said to have taken place did not. The whole things was pushed through on the basis of a number of misleading statements and pictures. Now the planning department is standing by it despite the errors and misleading statements made by them. With the proposed Blavatnik building on Walton St the proposal is for a building far taller than should be approved according to City Council documents and yet planning officers have not required it to be lowered, again drawings are misleading, local people not consulted (except in as far as local people have taken it upon themselves to spread the word and organise a meeting), and there appears already to be a bias in favour of approval, although given the level of publickly expressed discomfort this may change.
Re the Roger Dudman way buildings; a legal challenge against teh City Council is currently ongoing.
I hope this is helpful.
With best wishes,
Sushila

On Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 11:48 PM, MIKE MAGEE <mike.magee@btinternet.com> wrote:
Hi Sushila, and thanks for bunging your leaflet into Mill Street, which is where I live at number 27  as a registered voter.

When you say that the Labour dominated City Council “appears inept or corrupt”, can you give me some more evidence, please?

If the officers are corrupt, I would like to have them prosecuted for what they are doing for Oxford.

I look forward to your reply.

Mike Magee

The blossom and the ziggurat collide

OUT HERE, in the wild wastes of Oxford, you see many a sight. So here is a blossoming tree with snow, and behind it the great ziggurat called the Said Business School. The wasteland beyond the fence is scheduled for development and the birds and the bees are feeling a bit parky. Also, Facebook is crap when you want to put up pictures, so I am doing it this way. Long live WordPress! ♦

bloss

Councillors decide we do need a Big Wall, after all

OXFORD CITY COUNCIL decided today that whether the residents like it or like it not, a big big wall is going to be built at the bottom of our gardens.  The votes went six for, one against, and two abstentions. See this one.

Our own councillor, a councillor Colin  Cook, voted in fave.Well done Colin, for listening to your constituents!

This is what the view from my first floor window looks like right now.

27 Mill Street without the Wall

Here’s an artist’s impression of what the “ingenious building” will look like…

Mill Street: The Wall
Another view: My garden is to the right of the Silver Birch – you can see my clothes pegs.

And here’s the document Amanda Whiting and I were supposed to talk about together. The learned councillors would not let me speak “because I wasn’t on the list”.

“M This major three story monolithic structure will overlook our houses between 16 and 41 on Mill Street.  The fact it will be raised by one metre because it’s being built on a flood plain will make it even more dominating. It will take light from our back gardens and the architecture is utterly out of character with a Victorian street. Mill Street is a terraced street of railwaymens’ cottages and are two storey buildings, regardless of what the developer says. It will also destroy our view of a leafy outlook and the view we will have us peering at the students and the students peering at us.

“A It will also change the nature of the present community, increasing the population of Mill Street by 25 percent, meaning that the proportion of students in the street will be about 50 percent. The Sites and Housing DPD is working towards a policy that limits the number of students in any street in Oxford to much less than this.

“M Just  about everyone living in 16 to 41 and Abbey Walk, as well as people in Barrett Street has written well-argued letters of opposition, which are on the Council website, and I hope that committee members have read them. No-one at all wants this development, especially not at three storeys – it’s a solid wall. The angling of the windows on the proposed plan will not prevent currently leafy and private back gardens being overlooked.  Concerns of residents also include additional traffic, increased noise in the street, rowdyism, light pollution and congestion on an already crowded narrow street for both pedestrians and cars.

“A There’s a strong sense of community here, and some families have lived here for three or four generations. The Bellerby students will be under 18 so won’t otherwise be freeing up family homes. These students would normally be home stay students.

“M A recent  consultation about the preferred options for Oxford development said about the Mill Street development:  “The site would be contrary to the emerging student accommodation location policy as it is not on a main thoroughfare nor within a district or city centre or on an existing teaching campus. The preferred option is therefore not to allocate the site.” In the DPD document it adds that a development here would not be suitable because of the narrow area for the accommodation. It seems crazy that this document should be ignored. In the early 1990s permission for 24 flats was refused but later development of 19 study rooms was approved a decade later but not implemented. How the applicants are suggesting that was a precedent is crazy – 19 study rooms is not the same as 74 study rooms.

“A What do the developers propose to give back to the existing community if this development or a modified development is given planning permission?

“The strip of land is home to shrews, hedgehogs, grass snakes, bats, badgers and a wide range of insects including various species of bumblebee. There are many trees in the area including cherry, fruit and other deciduous trees. The Elfin Group in Oxford consists of six to 10 year olds and the local schoolchildren have been spending a lot of time planting new trees, weeding them and learning how important trees are to the environment.

“The wider democratic issues referred to in Robert Mitchell’s email today, state how West Oxford is a very environmentally friendly area, with much effort and resources going in to preserve and enhance the local environment – we are actively promoting the lowering of carbon emissions, new wildlife areas, many houses being equipped with solar panels etc.  These initiatives run by low carbon West Oxford are generally supported and encouraged by the council and government, nationally. So we wonder what message will the granting of planning permission be giving this community if it approves of these plans??

“With regards to replanting issues, a few stretches of new grasses and ornamental trees is hardly the same as the wild habitat that’s been there for 100 years.

“M To reiterate, the main points are that many houses will be completely overlooked, deprived of light and the percentages of student in the community will be more than the recommended number. You’ll be agreeing to destroy the wild life habitat, and increasing traffic in an already congested and busy area. We urge you to reject this application.”

Most of the councillors didn’t seem very interested at all…. Murray Hancock, chief planner at Oxford City Council is a master of bureaucracy… 

The juxtaposition of the colours is so nice

JUST ON THE crossroads of Broad Street, Cornmarket and George Street, we couldn’t help but snap the combination of these two trees with the somewhat  blue sky.

Giant fruit tree found in middle England

WE HAVE BEEN to Middle England, an interesting place in a county called Gloucestershire which appears to preserve things old and some things even older.

Middle England is up a bit from Oxford to the left from London, and down quite a lot from Aberdeen which is to  top right in Scotland,  so Middle England is down a lot and traverse Hadrian’s Wall and if they let you in, you will find it. It is very swampy up in Moreton-in-Marsh and environs. It was so wet yesterday a big show was called off, much to the chagrin of those that have chagrins.  But opposite the very excellent Bakers Arms,  in some quaint little village called Broad Campden, we spotted a tree which must be the mother and father of all sorts of trees.

What sort of tree is this?  These villages are very quiet and do not have 100 Feet Roads, as far as we call tell.