Canalside Regeneration
CDC Consultation Launched

Two illustrations from the Banbury Canalside Draft Supplementary Planning Document.

Cherwell District Council launched its ‘Banbury Canalside Draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)’ for public consultation on Monday 2nd November. The document sets out the Council’s aspirations and vision for this large regeneration area and will be open for public comment until Monday 14th December. The Council’s plans are available on the CDC website and on view at Bodicote House, Banbury Library and Neithrop Library throughout the consultation period. CDC held an exhibition in Castle Quay on Saturday 14th November, where officers were available to answer questions.

The area concerned, which includes the River Cherwell, the Oxford Canal, Swan Foundry, the Tramway industrial estate and the Banbury United football ground, is bounded by Banbury Bridge to the north, the railway to the east, Cherwell Street to the west and Swan Close Road to the south. Whilst much of the area is covered by large modern sheds, significant parts are historic, fragile and neglected. Both the Civic Society and CDC are well aware how important this corridor is to the town’s future well-being and how critical it is that this important and central part of the town is developed in such a way as to create a coherent, high quality, sustainable public environment for the benefit of Banburians and visitors alike.

Whilst there are a number of positive ideas contained within the SPD, we have identified several features within it that members may wish to consider:

  • The present barrier of Cherwell Street / Windsor Street is proposed to be developed as a wide boulevard, lined with 4-storey buildings on both sides. Buildings will be set back to allow for the road to be developed as a dual carriageway if required.
  • The hoped for linear park between the Cherwell and the canal has been replaced with a green coloured area called ‘Cherwell Park’. Close study shows this to be an area proposed for ‘high-density 4-storey apartments’.
  • The requirement is for all new development to be ‘overtly modern’ in  appearance, much of it ‘up to four storeys’ in height. There is no guidance on an appropriate palette of materials nor any requirement for development to be locally distinctive.
  • There is no guidance on the area’s history nor on creating a sense of place.
  • Not all historic buildings are retained, casualties of particular note being the buildings on the bridge, the former Barrows & Stewart traction engine works (latterly Burgess) and the historic Samuelsons Britannia Foundry (currently Swan Foundry).
  • There seems to be little offer of local good quality employment, with the present (often skilled) employment being replaced with limited office and retail opportunities.
  • There is little detail regarding pedestrian access routes between the town centre and the canalside.
  • The hoped-for station drop-off route between Bridge Street and Tramway is proposed for buses only.
It needs to be remembered that the SPD forms supplementary planning guidance for all development proposals on the site. If something is not explicitly in the SPD, it is unlikely to happen. If development proposals do conform to wording within the SPD, they will prove very difficult to resist.