‘Housing would be vandalism’

The Oxford Times: Richard Nugent, front left, and other local residents who are concerned about the plans to build on the tree nursery in Abingdon Buy this photo Richard Nugent, front left, and other local residents who are concerned about the plans to build on the tree nursery in Abingdon

RESURRECTED plans to build homes on a tree nursery have been described as an “act of vandalism”.

Vale of White Horse District Council wants to build eight “emergency housing” flats on the former Harcourt Way tree nursery north of Bowyer Road.

A similar plan for 14 flats was rejected in 2009 after strong opposition from residents who consider it to be a nature reserve.

Now the Vale is bidding to develop the site again.

Richard Nugent, a gardener who lives in nearby Marsh Court, said: “I was very upset to learn of yet more plans to build on the old tree nursery in Harcourt Way despite local opposition to this act of vandalism.

“As a child, like many kids, I enjoyed fishing in the stream for sticklebacks and have seen water voles and kingfishers disappear as development increases.

“The nursery is a last oasis for various birds and wildlife.

“I know other people love the nursery but, as usual it seems that money talks, and we are powerless to protect our own local spaces being trashed by development.”

Other residents also objected to the plans on the Vale’s website.

F Walsh and D Charlton of Bowyer Road, Abingdon, said they “strongly objected” to the plans, adding: “The site is completely unsuitable for the development proposed. It would involve the unnecessary removal of healthy trees and destruction of an existing haven for wildlife.

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“The land is described as disused but we derive pleasure from the wildlife the land and trees support, particularly in summer months.

“We believe the diversity of birds and presence of ethnic mammals, particularly hedgehogs makes the site an ecological benefit to the area.”

The homes would be built by Cranbourne Homes, which is developing the Old Gaol site in Abingdon, to meet its affordable social housing quota.

The Vale’s planning department is due to make a decision on the flats early next month.

Comments (6)

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7:19am Thu 8 May 14

Chris Henderson says...

Why is Cranbourne's social affordable housing quota not being met on the sites for which it already has permission?
Why is Cranbourne's social affordable housing quota not being met on the sites for which it already has permission? Chris Henderson
  • Score: 4

9:09am Thu 8 May 14

Headington Jim says...

Chris Henderson wrote:
Why is Cranbourne's social affordable housing quota not being met on the sites for which it already has permission?
Very good point. It's probably because the other sites have been developed for premium, profitable prices. Lots of social housing can be packed onto a small site. The Council's first consideration is rateable value not wildlife.
[quote][p][bold]Chris Henderson[/bold] wrote: Why is Cranbourne's social affordable housing quota not being met on the sites for which it already has permission?[/p][/quote]Very good point. It's probably because the other sites have been developed for premium, profitable prices. Lots of social housing can be packed onto a small site. The Council's first consideration is rateable value not wildlife. Headington Jim
  • Score: 4

1:27pm Thu 8 May 14

horsham says...

You're right Headington Jim, this council will know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
You're right Headington Jim, this council will know the price of everything and the value of nothing. horsham
  • Score: 5

6:06pm Thu 8 May 14

riceisnice says...

Funny how they have allegedly made a donation of equipment to a local school according to the newsletter
Funny how they have allegedly made a donation of equipment to a local school according to the newsletter riceisnice
  • Score: -1

6:18pm Thu 8 May 14

Headington Jim says...

riceisnice wrote:
Funny how they have allegedly made a donation of equipment to a local school according to the newsletter
Otherwise known as a sweetener.
[quote][p][bold]riceisnice[/bold] wrote: Funny how they have allegedly made a donation of equipment to a local school according to the newsletter[/p][/quote]Otherwise known as a sweetener. Headington Jim
  • Score: 2

10:42pm Thu 8 May 14

GaryOxford says...

Chris Henderson wrote:
Why is Cranbourne's social affordable housing quota not being met on the sites for which it already has permission?
It's because the local council have been mugged off. Rather than including the social housing in the old gaol, they were persuaded to let Cranbourne build 'affordable' houses elsewhere and to sell the old gaol flats to the highest bidder. Obviously after they'd allowed Cranbourne homes to renegotiate the price paid for the old gaol after the bidding had ended (not reopening the bidding process as some might have expected).
Maybe the council could fulfil their duty and provide social housing themselves rather than making dubious pacts with developers.
[quote][p][bold]Chris Henderson[/bold] wrote: Why is Cranbourne's social affordable housing quota not being met on the sites for which it already has permission?[/p][/quote]It's because the local council have been mugged off. Rather than including the social housing in the old gaol, they were persuaded to let Cranbourne build 'affordable' houses elsewhere and to sell the old gaol flats to the highest bidder. Obviously after they'd allowed Cranbourne homes to renegotiate the price paid for the old gaol after the bidding had ended (not reopening the bidding process as some might have expected). Maybe the council could fulfil their duty and provide social housing themselves rather than making dubious pacts with developers. GaryOxford
  • Score: 2

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