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Doric plans spark call for more local powers
SAFEGUARDS to protect Botley from unwanted developments are being proposed by parish councillors.
North Hinksey Parish Council is discussing creating a Neighbourhood Plan for the area.
That would influence future developments and mean land could be set aside land for specific uses.
Council member Chris Church said: “Botley is an area that needs careful looking after and I think the parish council has an important role to play. We are right on the edge of the Vale of White Horse and I feel the district council does not really focus on us as an area.
“There has been a lot of discussion about a neighbourhood plan and long-term we could establish a community trust to bring in more money to make projects happen.
“It would have to be done after a full residents’ consultation and would not be something to go into lightly.
“But Botley is facing huge pressures and it needs an effective voice.”
Under new rules brought in by the Government in 2011, local authorities can put forward their own neighbourhood plans that planning authorities have to take regard of.
Mr Church was elected in April along with Emily Smith and Voirrey Carr, after leading a campaign against the proposed West Way development.
Doric Properties wants to knock down West Way shopping centre, Elms Parade shops, Field House sheltered housing and the empty Elms Court office block. It would then build an extended shopping and cinema complex, including a hotel, a supermarket and a large block of student flats.
Last month the Oxford Mail revealed that of the 827 people who responded to a public consultation, 722 were against the plans.
Mr Church added: “The parish council took a long time to decide whether to oppose the West Way plans. It would be the biggest white elephant in Oxford if it went ahead.’’ “We will continue to oppose them because at the moment it would be too big.”
Simon Hillcox, a joint owner of Doric Properties, said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to invest in the future of Botley. The comprehensive scale of the regeneration means that we are able to deliver a commercially viable and socially dynamic scheme for the people of Botley, with a whole range of new and improved community facilities functioning alongside a renewed shopping environment.
The West Way application is currently in the consultation phase after the deadline for submissions was extended to May 31.
The district council must make a decision by August 31.
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