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Binsey, Oxford. Historic site under threat of development by Oxford college

Binsey Residents Association | 15.04.2004 16:16 | Ecology | Free Spaces | Social Struggles | Oxford

Christ Church College is pushing development plans to build houses that are 'not practical for an affordable housing scheme' in a location that is both Green Belt and a Conservation Area. Binsey was where Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland, Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote about the Binsey Poplars and a historic site of pilgrimage for St Frideswide, patron saint of Oxford.

The new houses, in this tiny and historic hamlet would be for sale, in contrast to the 15 existing houses (some Grade II listed) which have always been rented out to tenants. The new houses would have garage space for over 2 cars each, with tarmac entrances where there is currently garden and agricultural land. Christ Church claims the new development would enhance the existing community. We believe it would do the opposite.

The whole village is protesting, but as tenants and not owners we have little political clout. The development plans are illogical and contradictory, but although they have been turned down by the City Council with advice from the Environment Agency, Christ Church persists in trying to turn this village into another commuter zone.


It all depends on flooding. The grounds for refusal were that the development would put additional households at risk of flooding, thus placing a further burden on the emergency services.

In December 2001 and January 2003, Binsey was cut off by the floods. West Oxford residents will remember this all too well. There were many real and hidden dangers. The emergency services, were needed in both these floods (we had three separate medical emergencies). Ambulances could not get to us; the fire service tried and failed.

Christ Church’s solutions for dealing with this include building a mile-long causeway the length of Binsey lane. This causeway will be up to a metre high, will be a danger to traffic, will be obtrusive and will disrupt the flow of floodwater. This seems mad.

Please write by 27th April 2004 to:

The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/04b, Kite Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN.

e-mails to:

Include any of these:
- personal experience you may have of Binsey Lane in the floods
- comments on the broader issue of building in the West Oxford floodplain
- any other flooding matters the erosion of the values that make Binsey special to you (it is in the Green Belt, an Area of High Landscape Value and a Conservation Area. These did not in the end sway the Council. But the Inspector is obliged to take account of your views)
- Christ Church want to do 3 things: knock down existing farm outbuildings, build houses on the former farmyard site, convert an existing barn. You should urge the Inspector to reject all 3 of these appeals, since upholding any one of them may be the thin end of the development wedge.

You should quote: Manor Farm, Binsey, Oxford, Appeal Ref. numbers APP/G3110/A/04/1143498, 1143499 and 1143500.

If you want your letter or e-mail acknowledged by the Planning Inspectorate, you should tell them. If you want to send us a copy, please do so to: Binsey Residents Association, The Old School House, Binsey, Oxford OX2 0NG, or to: If you want more information, please ring Oxford 723325.

Binsey Residents Association
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Binsey Village Residents

05.06.2004 17:41

I just came across your Item about Binsey on your webb site so this is just a thank you for helping to spread the news about what is happing here.
Thanks John Gibson

John Gibson
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