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Concerned residents call for a masterplan
A SUMMIT meeting of Headington residents’ associations has been held to voice concern about looming development in the area.
They have called for development in the area to be brought to a halt until a masterplan is drawn up.
The public meeting was called days before a planning inspector hears the arguments for and against Oxford City Council ’s development plans for the coming decades.
Residents claim Headington has been plagued by traffic and by water bursts in recent years and many of the institutions based in the area seek to expand.
The John Radcliffe Hospital opened its West Wing and Children’s Hospital in 2008 and is hoping to build a multi-million pound extension for a new reception area.
These sites as well as others in the area have been earmarked for further development in the council’s sites and housing development plan document.
Finch Close resident Harry Edwards, a member of Highfield Residents’ Association, said the meeting was held to discuss the concerns. He said: “We have come to the conclusion that we need a planning document because of the cluster of sites in Headington.
“Each plan is currently being looked at in isolation. “I am not against development but there needs to be a strategy and we need to feel that the issues are being properly addressed.”
About 10 residents’ associations were represented including Highfield Residents’ Association, the Jack Straws Lane Association and Friends of Quarry.
On Thursday evening the various residents associations of Headington gathered together to discuss the issue before the inquiry into the sites and housing DPD begins on Monday.
Headington city councillor Ruth Wilkinson said: “A huge surge of development has taken place in Headington over the last decade yet residents feel their community needs have been overlooked.
“There is nothing in the planning documents to specifically address the parking, transport, planning and infrastructure problems that have increased over that time.
“A strategic Headington masterplan is needed right now.”
As well as problems with traffic in Headington, there have been frequent problems with water pipes bursting, with about 2,000 customers having their supply cut off in July.
And last month Thames Water said the city’s infrastructure may not be able to cope with the hundreds of homes planned by the city council.
Council spokesman Louisa Dean said the authority was not looking at new developments in isolation.
She said: “The sites and housing plan looks at the infrastructure needs of the area and expects the major sites to deliver improvements, particularly to transport, as part of their development.
“The Old Road campus, John Radcliffe Hospital and the Churchill Hospital already have masterplans in development by the University of Oxford and NHS Trust and these will be expected to consider the wider traffic and infrastructure impacts of the development.”