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Police want developer to fund crime fighting
POLICE want developers of a new student accommodation scheme in Oxford to pay nearly £70,000 to help deal with crime in the area.
Thames Valley Police said when such accomodation is built there were problems with antisocial behaviour, thefts and burglaries.
The force sets out its concerns about the creation of 140 student rooms on the St Clement’s car park near Magdalen Bridge in a letter to Oxford City Council, which owns the site.
The letter from the force’s strategic planner, Simon Dackombe, said: “Crime and incidents associated with a student population largely centre around complaints about antisocial behaviour.
“However, there are also a number of criminals that specifically target student population areas. These areas are prone to a higher than average number of burglaries and thefts of bikes or from cars.”
The force wants the developer to pay the money – part of the section 106 contribution firms pay to help soften the impact of schemes – over four years.
The bid, which Thames Valley says is not the first it has made, would cover half the cost of employing four community support officers. The current annual cost of each PCSO is put at £33,000, with another £6,140 needed for kit.
Police warnings about a likely increase of night time incidents in an area already with “a significant student population” will be welcomed by residents, who are opposing the scheme.
Residents have also objected about the loss of car parking and the impact on the conservation area.
The revised scheme from developer Watkin Jones is also facing objections from Oxford University, who opposed an earlier scheme that was rejected by Oxford City Council.
The university says the new buildings will overlook and impact on the daylight of nearby graduate accommodation.
Roger Smith, of Savills, the planning consultants acting for Watkin Jones, said the police demand for money had not come as a surprise.
He said: “It is an issue that we see cropping up increasingly. Police argue that the increased need for policing should be part of the section 106 package of contributions. Some local authorities accept that. Other authorities say that is what taxation is for.”