Tag Archives: bellerbys

Students’ hall turns into boutique hotel


You might remember we wrote here on Volesoft a year or two back about the wall that was being built at the bottom of the gardens between numbers 17 to 41 Mill Street.What a racket, since January, and no promise of either a champagne or a cava reception! Typical Oxford.

Yes, it has been delayed and the student accommodation has turned into a boutique hotel, according to the Cherwell College web site.

What is the Cherwell College? Well you can find it on the UK Company House   site. The company number is 07730348.

Originally, this was going to be a place where Bellerbys students could have a nap and consider their futures going to universities and that.

But now it has morphed. And according to Stephen Clarke, ex-UK diplomat, is it going to be a centre of excellence for the children of billionnaires.

Poor kids! Imagine that the kids of billionnaires find themselves opposite  the back gardens of plebs! And in a boutique hotel, sandwiched between the railway station and Mill Street residents.

Stephen Clarke – the proprietor of Cherwell College,  graced us with his presence at famous Mill Street pub the Kite earlier this week. Stephen said this was a place for billionaires’ kids  to come. Discipline would be strict.

One resident said that when Stephen Clarke mentioned the warden taking care of these students, he referred to the ‘Manager’. It seems that what he actually meant  was the Hotel Manager of the Boutique Hotel (i.e. the new building).

I have an objection to the smaller bricks in the wall

FOLLOWERS of this bog will have noticed we scored an apparent victory against developers of stuff between the railway line and the community here.  The developers have scaled down their plans, as expected. But nevertheless there are still cogent reasons why the previous application was declined that haven’t been addressed in the later recension. ♦

I have objected on the following lines:

Commenter Type: Neighbours
Stance: Customer objects to the Planning Application
Reasons for comment: – Affect local ecology
– Close to adjoining properties
– Conflict with local plan
– Development too high
– General dislike of proposal
– Inadequate access
– Increase in traffic
– Increase of pollution
– Information missing from plans
– Noise nuisance
– Not enough info given on application
– Other – give details
– Out of keeping with character of area
– Potentially contaminated land
– Strain on existing community facilities
Comments: The previous plan was turned down for cogent reasons that haven’t been addressed in this, rather expected, re-application. It appears that because the land has already been bought, by hook or by crook a building will be built. The proposed plans of Oxford suggest this is an eminently unsuitable development. Bellerbys is a great college, no doubt, but surely the kids won’t want to be subjected to the nasty habits of the residents between 17-41 Mill Street.

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The email of the specious is more deadly than the Mall or Wall

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

Murray Hancock
Planning Officer
Oxford City Council
Ramsay House
10 St Ebbe’s
Oxford OX1 1PT

Dear Sir

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.

Yours faithfully

Mike Magee