Ivy Lane and Churchill flats

I went to the short-lived pre-application public showing of A2Dominion’s plans to redevelop the Ivy Lane flats on the JR site, and to build new accommodation next to the blocks they already have on the east side of Churchill Drive. The display consisted of two boards showing the site layouts, one board with an earlier version, and various computer graphics of how the developments might look.

I didn’t glean very much information. The architects for both schemes are MEPK Architects. It was not clear just how much extra accommodation there would be, but there would certainly be more than there is now. There didn’t seem to be much to object to in the proposals but I think the contentious points locally will be access for construction traffic, especially for Ivy Lane, as the only viable route seems to be along Osler Road with access on the ‘bendy’ part. The Ivy Lane plans also show a ‘New Access’ entrance to the site on the bends; someone said something about needing to ‘open up the angles a bit’ to improve visibility for this entrance.

The other issue that might be controversial will be the proposed building heights. The site plans didn’t show this, but the architect’s images show some blocks up to (I think) 6 storeys, others less. This may well be acceptable, especially in the context of desirable densification, but the headline is likely to trigger local concern.

A2Dominion hope to submit full planning applications before the end of the year, which should fill in a lot of the details, but they admit they’ve still got a lot of work to do before being ready.

Latest News from Narnia

I noted at the end of last month in HH367 that nothing seemed to have happened for 18 months on the planning application to build next to the C S Lewis Nature Reserve on a plot in Wychwood Lane, Risinghurst. The original story is in my article “Border Skirmish in Narnia“.

One of the unsatisfactory aspects of the application was that it is made in the name of “The Wychwood Foundation”, an organisation that didn’t exist then and still doesn’t exist now. I say it doesn’t exist: it isn’t a registered charity, nor is it registered at Companies House. Search engines only know about it in the context of this planning application. It is not the same as any of several other “Wychwood” organisations including the Wychwood Project and the Wychwood Trust. Nevertheless, the Wychwood Foundation’s planning application seeks charitable exemption from the statutory development levy (CIL).

Then last week someone who had used the services of Beecher Accoustics sent me this letter they had received. The Beechers are the people behind the non-existent Foundation and here describe themselves as Trustees. One of the several bizarre things about the letter is the invitation to buy a 6 bedroom house adjacent to the plot they want to develop. The house is the one at the top of Lewis Close, number 7, which features in the planning application. This shows an access road into the development alongside this house in Lewis Close rather than from Wychwood Lane (where the Beechers live). I’ve looked at several online property sites and it looks as though the house is not on the open market. Do the Beechers actually own this house as well as the house they gave as their address 18 months ago, 4 Wychwood Lane? If they do own it, why isn’t it on the market? If they don’t own it, what are they doing inviting offers? Obviously it would help their cause if the owners of 7 Lewis Close were supporters of their plans rather than opponents, but what do they expect to happen if someone gets their letter and says they are interested in buying number 7?

Eighteen months ago the Beechers were, and still are, Director and Secretary of Beecher Accoustics Limited, registered at 1 Quarry High Street. Earlier this year (31 January) a new company called Quarry Mews Ltd was incorporated with the Beechers as Director and Secretary, together with a William Blackham, B H G Gadhoke and H Gadhoke. This new company is also registered at 1 Quarry High Street. It gives its nature of business as “Development of building projects”. The Gadhokes in turn are directors of, among other interests, Red Kite Property Investments Ltd which has an address in Lighwater, Surrey. It looks as if the Beechers have taken some partners on board to help progress their plans.

Meanwhile there still doesn’t seem to be any movement towards the planning application coming forward for consideration. It will be interesting to see what happens when it does finally surface at the East Area Planning Committee.

Footnote: Companies House information downloaded from their website on 15 May 2018.

1 Pullen’s Lane care home timeline

Here is a brief history of the proposals to build a care home on the site of 1 Pullen’s Lane. Click here for a location map (the site boundaries are approximate).

March 2014 – Developers Carebase submit a planning application for a 55-bed care home at 1 Pullen’s Lane.

August 2014 – Planning permission refused. East Area Planning Committee said it did not fit with the area’s “rural tranquility”.

Jan 2016 – Frontier Estates submit a new planning application also for a 55-bed care home on the same site.

May 2016 – Frontier withdraw their application.

Sept 2016 – Frontier announce revised plans will submitted to Oxford Design Review Panel before submitting a formal planning application before the end of the year.

April 2018 – Frontier’s planning application validated and published on Oxford City Council website on 30 Apr 2018, reference 18/00870/FUL.