In early summer 2017 the Oxford Artisan Distillery (TOAD) submitted plans to construct a visitor centre, restaurant, kiosk and loos on the former park depot in South Park, including landscaping some of the park itself to provide seating areas and planting.
The plans were approved by the Western Area Planning committee. A number of councillors called the plans in for consideration by the Planning Review committee, which also approved the plans. Given the mix of views amongst DRARA residents (those who opposed the plans to greater or lesser extent were the most conspicuous), DRARA objected to particular aspects of the plans but remained neutral on the principle of the development. TOAD will have to get licensing approval and DRARA will continue to push for restrictions to ensure the development has as little impact as possible on neighbours and on the park.
Regardless of personal views for or against the creation of the centre, the design of the buildings and the loss of some of the park to terracing in front of the building (although it will retain public access, though how that will work remains to be seen) will have a significant impact on this corner of the park.
DRARA’s comments to the City Council are here.
Oxford Local Plan 2036
Over the summer of 2017, the City Council completed the second stage of consultation on the new Local Plan, which will be used to determine the development and planning policies until 2036. DRARA and the Bartlemas Action Group (a sub group of residents particularly concerned with protecting the Bartlemas Conservation Area) submitted comments on a number of the council’s ‘preferred options’.