natco

Blogs

Truths, Damned Truths And Projections

I wonder whether there is relief or regret around the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government over the decision last year to transfer responsibility for household growth projections to the Office of National Statistics. The projections, officially the basis of policies demanding the bu...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 21 September 2018

Flat White Knowledge

One of the things about the so-called Knowledge Economy, which is supposed to replace our dependency on traditional industries, is that those involved actually like to meet face to face. ICT is of course a major component of it, so it was once assumed that people would work from home and communicate...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 14 September 2018

A Wealth Of Experience

Last night I was privileged to attend a 120th birthday bash for one of the very oldest environmental bodies in the world, at the Guildhall in London. Environmental Protection UK has its origins in the local smoke abatement societies set up during the Victorian period which came together in 1898 to f...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 11 September 2018

go back

Car-dependent sprawl for West Oxfordshire

Added on 12 September 2016

West Oxfordshire District Council is seeking Government support for destruction of one and a quarter square miles of farmland to make way for a so-called “garden village” and science park.

The Council has submitted an expression of interest to DCLG for a 320ha area next to the A40 trunk road six miles from the centre of Oxford, but just outside its green belt. The proposal is not in the Council’s previously submitted local plan.

“The demand for housing is very high locally and we are also committed to responding to the huge housing need identified in the city of Oxford, a substantial amount of which cannot be accommodated within the city’s own boundaries,” said cabinet member for housing and planning Warwick Robinson.

But despite the fact this housing pressure is caused by employment in the county outstripping housing, the plan includes a “campus-style science park” to attract investment and allow businesses to grow, potentially exacerbating the problem.

The proposed site lies across the A40 from Eynsham, a village already hugely expanded by low-density sprawl. It is up to four miles from the nearest railway station, however.

The 2,200 homes proposed would more than double its size, though a new shopping centre is planned.

“The location is only six miles from the centre of Oxford, just off the A40, and to the north of Eynsham,” says the prospectus. “It is only three miles from the planned new strategic employment area at Oxford Northern Gateway.”

It calls it “a genuine and timely opportunity to deliver an exemplar development for the 21st century on well-planned, designed and sustainable garden city princples”.

Though densities are not specified, it would certainly have the low-densities demanded of garden cities, but it is a fraction of the size of the settlements envisaged by Ebenezer Howard.

The Council says the site is free of constraints, though apparently this only means it is relatively flat, located outside the AONB and green belt, free of flood concerns and having no significant ecological or heritage interest.

Although the proposal suggests a park-and-ride, presumably to Oxford, would be included, the scheme is a prime example of low-density, car-dependent sprawl.

If DCLG supports the proposal, the Council would have to revise its local plan.

go back  |  top