Readers of Volesoft.com are already aware of the goings on in Mill Street, Oxford – some salacious details were made famous by Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales – the Miller’s Tale. No doubt you have also seen previous posts here about Gibbs Crescent – a planning application made by A2Dominion was granted, despite safety concerns and waved through by the OCC committee on dubious grounds. All records of comments by residents have been obliterated. As well as representations by public authorities.
Gibbs Crescent is close to Cherwell College, and applications by A2Dominion were shown plans that showed fire engines couldn’t get to the proposed development. The video says it. All. Cherwell College is as close to Gibbs Crescent as a ciggie paper.
A further application is now under consideration by the egregious OCC planning committee – to build an extra two stories on Cherwell College – even though such an application was trashed by an HM Gov inspector years back.
You can see the existing comments about Cherwell College here.
We had the wildlife lady down Chaucer’s street last week, listening to concern from the residents about the obliteration of albino badgers and bats, but questioned closely by the Oxford Badger Group. Julia has filed an objection but submitted this too, which is worth reproducing. So I will, below. Louise is the wildlife officer at OCC.
Residents of Mill Streets have photos and videos of bats, badgers, frogs and foxes, so we sincerely hope that sense and sensibility prevail here. ♠
Thank you so much for coming to meet residents at Mill Street on Friday. We really appreciate it.
As you heard there are many concerns about this speculative application and it is hoped that the Planning Officer will judge that this is an over-development of the site which will impact negatively on the basic rights of the neighbours .
What is clear is that residents are very enthusiastic and supportive of the rich variety of wildlife including badgers that visit their gardens and which they have nurtured over the years. As I explained, I visited the site before it was first developed and although there were no active setts there was evidence that the badgers used the site and the wooded, scrub area was a welcome refuge for a range of wildlife in an increasingly built up city setting. The building that went up was a clear and intrusive over-development of the site with no environmental benefits, biodiversity gain or understanding of its context. The fact that there is a wealth of wildlife in the the area, including protected species, has not been recognised in any part of this inappropriate development, The mitigation has fallen on the neighbours who have welcomed the dispersed wildlife into their own gardens.
OBG hope that this further application which is clearly about greed and not need, will be rejected. Times have changed because of the worldwide pandemic and the need for more student accommodation and park and rides need to be reconsidered in the light of fundamental changes in travel, work/ study environment and retail.
What is clear is that there needs to be a greater focus on preserving the diminishing wildlife of Oxford and making sure that any development results in biodiversity gain and not loss, which has not been the case with the Cherwell development.
OBG would like to see the following measures implemented on the Mill Street application site, if permission is granted:
Measures to compensate for the initial loss of habitat and foraging on the site
Fencing which is wildlife friendly
Reduced light and noise pollution.Why are lights allowed 24/7 ?
Planting which is species friendly, including living roofs.
Method statement for construction which is environmentally friendly.
OBG would like to see the City Council adopt strategies which respect the mosaic of habitats of and wildlife within the city, with a more coherent and joined up policy. Too many badger setts have been lost because of development and wildlife is diminishing at an alarming rate. A new approach is needed and Oxfordshire Badger Group would work with the Council and other authorities to bring about changes before it is too late.
Oxfordshire Badger Group.