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Tests delay arrival of students into Castle Mill
9:30am Wednesday 11th September 2013 in News
STUDENTS could be delayed from moving into flats at Castle Mill after a further wrangle in the controversial development.
Oxford City Council was last night due to sign off a series of conditions allowing the student flats to be completed.
The plans included detail on occupant restrictions, car parking numbers, CCTV and landscaping.
But at the last minute the city council withdrew the application at the West Area Planning meeting.
It said it had taken independent legal advice and that further environmental tests were needed.
Oxford University previously insisted it would move postgraduates into the blocks for 312 students next month, but said yesterday it did not know if that date would remain.
University spokesman Matt Pickles said: “‘We remain in regular and constructive contact with the city authorities about the Castle Mill project and were informed in advance of the latest developments in the process.
“We understand fully the council’s desire to ensure that the fine print regarding past activity on the site has been adequately reviewed.”
The city council has denied that the decision to pull the application was related to an upcoming judicial review into the development.
Campaigners have called on the council to be more transparent but welcomed the chance to scrutinise the plans further.
They will take their case the High Court in Birmingham on October 23, arguing that the blocks have ruined views of historic Port Meadow, and are built on contaminated former railway land.
Campaign to Protect Rural England Oxfordshire director Helen Marshall said: “Whatever the details, we hope officers will use this opportunity to give far closer scrutiny to the landscaping and contamination conditions.
“There are still no meaningful mitigation proposals on the table and there are some serious outstanding public health issues such as why the construction management plan allowed for potentially contaminated soil to be used as part of the foundations of the buildings.”
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