When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Barton West development gets £16.6m boost for infrastructure
DEVELOPERS of the planned 885-home Barton West estate have unveiled plans to spend £16.6m on Oxford’s infrastructure, new documents have revealed.
A report shows that contributions towards schools, roads, bus services and libraries will total £16,679,203, most of which will be handed over to the county council.
The new estate, Oxford’s biggest planned housing development in a generation, will include 885 homes – 40 per cent of them affordable – 2,500sq m of retail space, a hotel, 50 extra care flats, a community hub and primary school.
Plans for the scheme were submitted to planners last month.
The latest details come after the Oxford Mail revealed last month that about £4.5m of the developer contributions will be spent on improving the road network.
Further details on these section 106 contributions have now been revealed following lengthy discussions between the county council and the developers Barton Oxford LLP, a partnership between the city council and developer Grosvenor.
The single biggest payout from the developers will be £7.39m for the building of a new 315-space primary school on the estate.
Education expert and Lib Dem county councillor John Howson said: “I do welcome it. I’m not sure it could get planning permission without plans for a new school, because the new housing is going to create a significant number of children needing spaces which other schools nearby don’t have.”
Concerns were previously raised about the secondary school provision provided as part of the development and how the nearby schools would cope with the extra demand on places.
The figures have revealed that around £3.1m will be handed over to the county council to create extra places at existing secondary schools – the nearest are Cheney and Wheatley Park.
However, Wheatley Park headteacher Kate Curtis said they hadn’t been made aware of any deal, but added: “We are aware of what’s going on with Barton West.
“I wouldn’t want to say I’m alarmed that we haven’t been contacted yet, but I would be alarmed if we were not involved pretty soon in some careful consideration of how we can build capacity for these new children.”
Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “The council has identified the need for the developer to make contributions towards the provision of places for secondary education. However, it is important to remember that this is a development expected to take several years to complete and, as such, the detail of exactly how and where that provision will be delivered can not be predetermined before the development starts to take shape.
“Much will depend on where there is capacity in the school system as the development starts to materialise, but the council will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure sufficient secondary school places.”
Sorrel Basher, a spokesman for the Barton Oxford LLP, said it was up to the county council to decide how to spend the money.
Roads around the estate will have cash spent on them, with around £1.9m allocated for improvements to the A40 including a new bridge over the road, a reduced speed limit, and almost £710,000 set aside to make improvements in Headley Way, Marston Road, Marsh Lane and Cherwell Drive.
New and extended bus services will be subsidised to the tune of £850,000, an investment which has been welcomed by Bus Users UK spokesman Hugh Jaeger.
He said: “It’s often a good idea to provide money to get a service started so you start with an attractive bus service, which until the estate has filled up may be running less than full, but at least it will be able to attract people as soon as they arrive on the estate.”
A ‘linear park’ will replace Barton Village Nature Park, judged to be of “relatively low ecological value”, and a link will be created to Play Barton in Underhill Circus.
Barton Community Association secretary Sue Holden said: “As long as the money stays local and is for the benefit of the existing community and the new community, that is absolutely fine.”
County council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “It’s good that we have reached an agreement and the money will provide the infrastructure that’s needed for the development and that will be a benefit for all the residents.”
The contributions will form part of a legal agreement, which will be set in stone if planning permission is approved as recommended, when the east area planning committee meets on Tuesday, September 24.
Comments are closed on this article.