Town Council makes major objections to five-storey flats plan near Banbury's conservation area

Banbury Town Council has come out against a controversial redevelopment plan that would see 230 flats built in blocks up to five storeys high alongside the town’s conservation area.
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Proposals lodged with Cherwell District Council for the Calthorpe Street site – currently used by TK Maxx, FarmFoods and the NCP car park – have been described as comparable in size to Castle Quay that would affect the setting of the historic listed buildings around it and affect footfall in the Old Town shops.

The plans for the 3.9 acres site have been put forward by agents Framptons. They show flats in blocks from two storeys to five storeys high. There would be underground parking for 75 cars with 25 electricity charging points.

It is understood the applicants met with Cherwell officers who told them their plans were too ambitious and the current application is a new blueprint. Framptons say Cherwell said the principle of development is ‘acceptable’.

An impression of the controversial plan for the Calthorpe Street area occupied by TK Maxx, FarmFoods and NCP car parkAn impression of the controversial plan for the Calthorpe Street area occupied by TK Maxx, FarmFoods and NCP car park
An impression of the controversial plan for the Calthorpe Street area occupied by TK Maxx, FarmFoods and NCP car park

They want to demolish the existing shops and car park and build 154 one-bedroomed flats; 59 two-bedroomed flats, eight three-bedroomed apartments, one three-bedroomed town house and eight four-bedroomed town houses.

They propose 69 of the homes would be ‘affordable housing’ of which 48 would be ‘social rented’ and 21 of ‘intermediate housing’ including first-time homes.

Their application quotes the Banbury Vision and Master Plan, which refers to the Calthorpe Street area, east and west of Calthorpe Street including the council car park, which states ‘‘This area could be redeveloped for town centre uses and car parking’.

Banbury Town Council has objected in strong terms saying 230 flats in blocks up to five stories high is ‘overdevelopment of this conspicuous site’, detrimental to the character and appearance of the area.

A map of the proposed apartment blocks complex presented to Cherwell by agent FramptonsA map of the proposed apartment blocks complex presented to Cherwell by agent Framptons
A map of the proposed apartment blocks complex presented to Cherwell by agent Framptons

It says the plan is out of scale with the conservation area and would have a ‘seriously detrimental’ impact on the character and appearance of the area, contrary to the Local Plan.

The council objects to the materials and says the design, scale, mass and ‘colour palette’ is not acceptable in a small market town. It says loss of car parking will affect the retail sector and put pressure on other parking spaces.

A decision should be made on the application by late September. The public comments deadline was July 27. The plan can be seen here.