CPRE Oxfordshire concerned that Northern Gateway Plan is unsound


16th July 2014

CPRE Oxfordshire is shocked that the City Council has increased the amount of employment space allocated in the proposed Northern Gateway Area Action Plan (AAP) by 25,000m2, above the level previously agreed by an Inspector. 

The proposed Northern Gateway Area Action Plan (AAP) has increased the amount of employment land from 55,000m2 up to 90,000m2. This includes 10,000m2 for an emergency services area that is no longer required, but this still leaves a 25,000m2 increase over and above the level agreed by an Inspector at the Examination in Public on Oxford’s Core Strategy.

Council Leader Bob Price has denied that the plans have changed1 but the proposed Area Action Plan submission document clearly says ‘the amount of employment at the Northern Gateway has been increased to 90,000m2, from the Core Strategy allocation of 55,000m2’.2 The amount of houses on the site is also set to increase from 200 to 500.

Helen Marshall, Director of CPRE Oxfordshire said: “It is hard to see how the City Council can have given proper consideration to the additional impacts this expanded plan will cause, since Council Leader Bob Price does not even seem to be aware of the changes!” 

CPRE, along with many other concerned residents, objected to the original Northern Gateway proposal on the grounds that it was an unsustainable location. CPRE argued at the time that it would generate additional traffic in an already congested area, worsen air pollution, have an adverse hydrological impact on Port Meadow, and affect the openness of the Green Belt, thereby irrevocably damaging the landscape setting of Oxford. Even the Inspector who examined the proposal as part of the City’s Core Strategy doubted the deliverability of the original plan.

CPRE is particularly concerned to learn that the AAP proposes removing part of the Green Belt to the south of the boundary site, which includes part of the Wolvercote Conservation Area, to accommodate about 250 new homes and some employment. This goes against an Inspector’s ruling in 1994 that this area should remain open to serve a crucial Green Belt purpose – protecting the landscape setting of Oxford – and should not be developed. Developing this part of the Green Belt will have an adverse effect on the integrity of the historic Goose Green – a registered Common, lying adjacent to the site boundary, and the internationally protected Port Meadow, a Special Area of Conservation, lying about 200m from the boundary, as well as the openness of the surrounding Green Belt.

Helen Marshall concluded: “We are now fearful that the expanded scheme could have a significant visual impact on the surrounding Green Belt, including Port Meadow.  The AAP includes proposals for five storey buildings and we have already seen the devastation that such development can have on the visual amenity of Port Meadow.   We also need to understand how much this expanded scheme will add to the already significant traffic and transport issues, including the attendant air pollution that will flow from additional cars on the roads.”

See CPRE Oxfordshire’s response to the public consultation on the AAP Proposed Submission Document below, in which we make strong representations that the Plan is ‘unsound’.


1. Question to the Leader of the Council, Corporate Strategy, Economic Development and Planning (Councillor Bob Price) from Sietske Boeles, Chairman, CPRE Oxford, 14 July: http://mycouncil.oxford.gov.uk/documents/s18518/Council-14Jul14-NoticeQuesti

2. Northern Gateway Area Action Plan (AAP) Proposed Submission Document, p. 9:


Further Information:

The consultation runs from Monday 21 July to Monday 15 September. Respond to the consultation here.