Issue - meetings
In 2015/16 the Chair of Scrutiny requested a report on the proposed demolition of a Council-owned former-farmhouse building at Westhill Farm in Shotover Country Park.
Why is it on the agenda?
For the Scrutiny Committee to consider the proposed demolition of Westhill Farm. The Committee is asked to note the report and provide any feedback on the proposed demolition.
Who has been invited to comment?
· Councillor Linda Smith, Board Member for Leisure, Parks & Sport,
· David Edwards, Executive Director for Regeneration & Housing.
- Appendix 1 Westhill Farmhouse, item 9 PDF 308 KB
- Appendix 2 Planning Correspondence, item 9 PDF 264 KB
- Appendix 3 WHF Business Plan final draft April 5th 2016, item 9 PDF 595 KB
- Appendix 4 Oxford City Council 2016-17 Audit 20. Westhill Farm Business Plan Review, item 9 PDF 2 MB
- Westhill Scrutiny Committee Summary Document _NL, item 9 PDF 169 KB View as DOCX (9/6) 221 KB
The Executive Director, Housing and Regeneration submitted a report which briefed the Scrutiny Committee on the proposed demolition of a derelict building at Westhill Farm on the grounds of public safety.
Nick Lunch and Clare Ridley, members of the Westhill Farm Steering Committee addressed the meeting. They explained their involvement with the Westhill Farm project and made the following key points:
· The Westhill Farm project wanted more time to work with OCC to develop an acceptable business plan
· The Westhill Farm project would support demolition of the derelict building but only when outline planning permission had been secured, which they hoped to achieve in partnership with the City Council
· Demolition would limit the opportunities for any proposals for future use of the site not just those of the Westhill Farm project
The Executive Director, Housing and Regeneration presented the report and highlighted the following points for consideration by the Committee:
- The City Council has not given its support to the proposals in the business plan, which include residential use;
- The City Council management policy for its property assets, including parks, is to exclude residential or service tenancies, outside its Council housing;
- Oxford Preservation Trust has advised that it will enforce all the covenants on land use;
- South Oxfordshire District Council (as the local planning authority) has made it clear it would oppose any additional use (for example café, teaching, retailing, corporate events); and
· The County Council Highways Department has advised that access is unsatisfactory for any intensification of use.
The Board Member for Leisure, Parks & Sports said that she had visited the site and met with members of the Westhill Farm Project and she urged the Committee members to do the same.
In discussion the Committee considered whether there were any circumstances in which the Council might be persuaded to consider a residential tenancy and if there was any prospect of the covenants being removed. The Committee considered, but rejected, a proposal that the Council should act to retain residential use at the site prior to demolition.
On balance they concluded that the only course of action was to proceed with the demolition of the derelict building at Westhill Farm.
The Committee noted the contents of the report.