Letter to Planning Consultation

Mr M Hancock

Oxford City Council
Planning Control and Conservation St Aldate’s Chambers
109 – 113 St Aldate’s
Oxford OX1 1DS

BY EMAIL ONLY Date: 14 November 2014
Your ref: 14/02402/RES

planning@oxford.gov.uk

Dear Mr Hancock

Planning consultation: Demolition of southern part of Westgate Centre, 1-14 Abbey Place and multi- storey car park, retention of library, refurbishment of remainder of the existing Westgate Centre and construction of a retail-led mixed use development together providing A1 (retail), A2 (finance and professional services) and/or A3 (restaurants and cafes) and/or A4 (public house, etc.) and/or A5 (hot food takeaways) uses, C3 (residential) use and D2 (assembly and leisure) uses, public toilets, associated car and cycle parking, shopmobility facility, servicing and access arrangements together with alterations to the public highway (Reserved matters of outline planning permission 13/02557/OUT seeking permission for details of appearance, landscaping, layout and scale).

Location: Westgate Centre And Adjacent Land Encompassing The Existing Westgate Centre And Land Bounded By Thames St, Castle Mill Stream, Abbey Place, Norfolk St, Castle St, Bonn Square, St Ebbes St, Turn Again Lane And Old Greyfriars St. OX1 1NX

Further to our recent email correspondence on the subject of cycle parking at and around the new Westgate Centre, I have examined the documents for the Reserved Matters plans and would now like to raise some queries and comments for the record on behalf of Cyclox (The Voice of Cycling on Oxford) about the above.

  1. The Cycle Hub. Earlier in the year we were told verbally that there would be a ‘cycle hub’ in the main complex. Can you confirm where this will be? Looking at the diagrams in 9.3.2 ‘Masterplan Proposals’ it appears that it may be in the NE corner of Building B3 close to the taxi turning area at the end of Old Greyfriar’s Street. Would you be able to keep us informed with progress on this site including in the nature and the number of cycle parking spaces that will be in that location? We are anxious to see a good supply of safe, dry and secure cycle parking both for staff and for shoppers and can offer examples and suggestions for design.
  2. We are pleased to see the number of cycle parking locations around the site on the same plan and realise that at this point you cannot tell us an exact number of spaces but we would like to reiterate our hope that there can be at least 2,000 spaces and that they will be perceived to be safe, secure and, in as many cases as possible, weather proof.
  3. We are pleased to see that Turn Again Lane will have 24 hour access and that the cycling restriction will only be from 10am – 6pm. However I have read of the plan to review, after six months, the operation of the cycle route between the hours of 6pm -8pm in Paragraph 14.1 of Schedule 2 ‘Permissive Path and Cycle Routes’. We would appreciate knowing what your concerns are re: ‘safety and amenity of users’ and would like to participate in the review if that is possible.
  4. Looking at 9.3.2 again, there are many new pedestrian crossings indicated. Can you tell me if these will be ‘toucan’ crossings permitting cycle crossings as well as pedestrians, especially the new crossing on Thames Street opposite Building B1? And will these multiple crossings be sequenced unlike the present ones at the bottom of Old Greyfriar’s Lane? The one at the NW corner of Building B1 (over Abbey Place and towards Paradise Street) will be very attractive to cyclists as well and we feel it would help everyone if cycling can be legalised at this point. Cyclists like to make their journeys efficiently as much as any other user of the road and path network.
  5. Earlier in the year we submitted a report ‘Cycle Routes to Westgate’ (copy attached here) to the County at the request of Turley Planning Consultants suggesting ways to improve the access routes to the new shopping centre in order to encourage more bicycle and less car journeys. Particularly we highlighted the poor quality of the cycle routes coming in from the West (including the station) and the South (over the Thames) and a number of ‘quick wins’ on which Section 106 / CIL funds may be usefully directed including contributing to the already planned upgrade of the Wolvercote Canal towpath and/ or to the ‘Bike Safe’ cycle path along the B4044 from Eynsham to Oxford. I hope you will bear this in mind, and remember us, when access and highway matters are discussed with the County. Simon Hunt and I recently discussed these matters with Mai Jarvis, the City Cycling officer. Please keep us informed of any progress or any further ways we can help you to achieve your goal of not increasing car journeys to the Centre in spite of an expected 17% increase in shoppers when the New Westgate opens.

Yours sincerely

Cecilia Fry

Cyclox Committee Member.