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Northern Gateway opens new ‘green’ planning era
FUTURE developments in Oxford could be turned down if they do not include enough green measures, the leader of the city council has said.
Councillor Bob Price made the comments following the publication of the first plan of the Northern Gateway scheme, which is set to feature a mix of businesses and up to 500 homes.
The site would be developed in a triangular-shaped area on land bordered by the A40, A44 and the A34, at Pear Tree.
Following its approval by the executive board last night, Town Hall officials hope the development could be the first in a new generation that focus more on environmentally-friendly measures.
And the design section of the action plan shows green roofs and solar-powered hot water collectors that are being encouraged as features to be included in new buildings.
Mr Price said: “The Northern Gateway is going to be an entry point into Oxford and we want it to reflect the city’s values.
“Anything we build now is still likely to be here in 100 years and the carbon footprints of developments will become increasingly important.”
The council’s document will become part of Oxford’s Local Plan, Mr Price said, which dictates how certain areas can be developed.
He added: “We don’t want developers to think they can get away with doing something cheap and cheerful.
“It is feasible that if something comes forward that did not include enough of measures we would turn it down. I would take the lead on that.”
Measures proposed include “balancing ponds”to drain surface water flooding, as well as green roofs – where gardens are created on roofs of buildings – to reduce air pollution and also help with cooling.
South-facing solar panels and glazed building facades also feature in designs, in a bid to reduce energy usage.
In addition to trying to make the development environmentally friendly, Mr Price said the council also wanted to set up character areas.
They will be named Peartree, Blindwell, Cowhill and Upper Wolvercote. Cowhill is intended to be the main centre of employment, centred around a hub that would include education and business establishments, as well as entertainment services.
Planners also want a number of features to be included to encourage walking and cycling. Two pedstrian crossings are also to be added to the A40 and A44 approaches to Wolvercote Roundabout.
Oxford Civic Society chairman Peter Thompson welcomed the plans and said: “It is all a step in the right direction, because it is addressing issues that are going to be critical in 20 to 30 years.
“What we have now got to see is something that does more than just pay lip service to these ideas.”
The council said the approved document would go to consultation at the end of the month.
What else is in the pipeline?
During the meeting the council also agreed to:
Contribute funding towards work set to commence on Frideswide Square this autumn in two phases of £350,000 each. The first payment is to be made in the Autumn and the second in spring 2015.
Establish a budget of £320,000 to continue work towards the redevelopment of Oxpens. The council hopes to appoint a developer as a partner in May 2015.
Expand the budget for the refurbishment of the city’s tower blocks by £1.7m, announced earlier this year.
It follows a consultation that identifies a number of extra measures highlighted by residents, Cllr Scott Seamons said.
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