Planned Oxford homes 'are too tall', say residents

An £18m project to build 109 homes in Oxford has met with criticism from existing residents who say the proposed buildings are too tall.

Plans involve redeveloping Dora Carr Close and Westlands Drive in Northway, and Barns Road in Cowley.

Jo Curson, head of development at GreenSquare, said: "This project will really provide some positive outcomes for the whole community."

But Northway resident Georgina Gibbs said people were "up in arms".

She added: "[Residents] are going to be overshadowed by three-storey buildings. For most of the day they're not going to have any daylight.

"The residents would not have minded low-rise buildings."

'Changed substantially'

The project is a joint venture between Hab, a development company set up by Grand Designs TV presenter Kevin McCloud, and GreenSquare, a registered charity that invests in social housing.

Marita Ford, development project manager, said public consultation events had taken place in Northway and Cowley.

She said: "We have amended the scheme design in respect of building heights several times in response to consultation feedback.

"This is particularly relevant to Barns Road where the design has changed substantially to respond to concerns raised.

"At Westlands Drive in Northway we have removed a fourth storey from the building and reduced the height to three storeys in response to feedback provided by local people."

'Reasonable height'

Doug Robinson, a Northway resident, said he still had issues about the proposals for his area.

"The residents feel as though they're going to be enclosed and the heights of the buildings are going to intrude on their lives," he said.

"All we're asking is the height of the buildings to be dropped to a reasonable height and not be intrusive on the OAPs.

"We just hope they'll listen."

Ms Curson said: "They are three very different sites and we have a very innovative solution to developing a number of new homes and community facilities.

"In addition we have a new retail facility for the Emmaus charity who are very popular locally. They're going to have a fantastic new facility at Barns Road."

A formal planning application will be submitted in February. Building could be completed by early 2015.

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