Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Developers will ‘pay more’ for county cycling schemes
DEVELOPERS have been warned that they will have to set aside more money for cycle schemes in Oxfordshire under new plans.
The proposals could have an impact on all developments in the county, although full details of how much they could cost house builders are unclear.
Oxfordshire County Council has passed a motion promising to create a fresh cycling strategy as part of the county’s new transport plan.
As part of the planning process, developers have to give contributions towards the infrastructure of the areas around proposed developments.
Under the new measures, they would have to prove they have given specific thought to safer and wider cycle paths.
The county’s transport chief has promised the council will be more stringent in future, in an effort to get more people on bikes.
Councillor David Nimmo Smith admitted the current cycling strategy was not forceful enough.
He said: “We are aware that the cycling part of that is a bit light, and will be pushing for more to take better account of cyclists and pedestrians.
“We will be more robust in pushing developers to put better provision in.
“In the past, developers have brought plans in and said ‘here’s a bit of road’, and have got away with it.”
Cycling campaigners are backing the move.
James Styring of Cyclox said: “Developers often follow plans to the letter when incorporating cycle schemes into plans and we often end up with unusable paths that haven’t been thought through.”
The cross-party motion was submitted by Liberal Democrat Jean Fooks and Labour’s Susanna Pressel.
They worked with campaigners Bike Safe and Cyclox to draw up the guidelines.
Ms Pressel said there had been a lack of conviction in previous years and now was the time to act. She said: “This will concern developments of every size.
“Now is the right moment to be looking at this with so many developments on the horizon.”
Some developers say they have pre-empted the move, despite the fact it is likely to increase their costs.
A spokeswoman for Barton Oxford LLP, which plans to build 885 homes in Barton West, said it had already made comprehensive provision for cyclists.
“This is something that’s incredibly important to us,” she said.
Peter Mapson, of Bower Mapson, which is building a care home and 105 houses at the Butter Cross Works in Station Lane, said: “It is something we took on board a long time ago.” Beeline bikes managing director Luis Tulip said: “There are a number of Government papers doing the rounds and there is a long way to go before were can compete with places like Holland but it is a step in the right direction.”
WHO HAS TO PROVIDE THE COMMUNITY CASH?
Housing developers currently provide cash to councils to pay for infrastructure and facilities.
This is known as section 106 funding and can pay for new schools, improved roads or sports facilities, for example.
The figure is agreed through negotiations between the councils and the developer.
On Monday, Oxford City Council could become the first council in Oxfordshire to agree a new system of developer funding, known as the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
This will largely replace section 106 and means developers have to pay a certain amount towards facilities in the area based on the square metre footprint of the development.
Councillors behind the new cycling proposals hope money from both section 106 and CIL will be used to invest in the cycling infrastructure.
Comments are closed on this article.