This house is owned by property developer (John) Martin Young of Headington Hill, who was Chairman of Headington Hill Residents’ Association until 2008. He stood for the Conservatives from this address at the county council election in 2001 (Wood Farm division), and at the city council election in 2004 (Churchill Ward) and 2006 (Quarry & Risinghurst ward).
Below: Martin Young (right) fighting to Keep the Pound at the Headington Festival 2003
Oxford City Council is undertaking a structural survey of the house.
2015: Planning applications and appeals
The hearing of Oxford City Council v. (John) Martin Young due to be held at Oxford Magistrates Court in August 2014 and then adjourned first to December 2014 and then to 12 March 2015 did not take place because of a legal technicality:
- Oxford Mail, 14 March 2015:
“Council blunder will cost £10,000 after it runs out of time to take court action against developer”
- Editorial: “A basic level of competence is not too much to ask of council”
The city council had claimed that Martin Young did not carry out improvement work on part of the property required under an enforcement order.
April 2014: Three appeals dismissed by Planning Inspectorate
On 16 April 2014 the Planning Inspectorate dismissed the following appeals by Martin Young:
- Lead case APP/G3110/X/13/2201840: Proposed conversion and extension of existing house to form 2x2 bed flats (Class C3) and erection of 3 new buildings to form 2x2 bed and 1x1 bed dwellings (Class C3).
- Linked case APP/G3110/A/13/2205149: Partial demolition of existing house and demolition of existing garages and outbuildings. Erection of two storey side and rear extension. Provision of new access, car parking and turning area. Rebuilding of stone boundary wall fronting Old High Street.
- Linked case APP/G3110/E/13/2205151: Partial demolition of existing house, boundary wall and complete demolition of existing garages and outbuildings.
Oxford Mail, 24 April 2014:
"Controversial developer's planning appeals over Old Headington house are rejected" + editorial
July 2013: Appeal launched against April 2013 decision
In July 2013 Martin Young launched an appeal against the refusal of a Certificate of Lawful Use:
“to certify that proposed conversion and extension of existing house to form 2x2 bed flats (Class C3) and erection of 3 new buildings to form 2x2 bed and 1x1 bed dwellings (Class C3) is lawful development”.
He argued that the permission granted in 1974 to build three chalets in the garden is still valid.
The appeal was held in the Panel Room at Oxford Town Hall on 11 February 2014.
- Planning Inspectorate case summary
- Oxford Mail, 19 July 2013: “Developer ready to do battle on chalets”
June 2013: Planning application for taller extension rejected
On 10 April 2013, when the February 2013 planning application was on the point of being approved, Martin Young submitted a new application which includes a taller extension. This was unanimously rejected by the East Area Planning Committee on 13 June.
- Rejected application 13/00880/FUL
- Oxford Mail, 15 June 2013: “Joy as ‘overpowering’ extension is given the boot”
- Oxford Mail, 9 June 2013: “Developer faces new veto in saga of Old Headington house”
- Oxford Mail, 24 May 2013: “Fresh rundown home scheme sparks anger”
- Oxford Mail, 12 April 2013: “Owner of derelict house now wants taller extension”
April 2013: Certificate of lawful use to build three chalets refused
On 6 February 2013 Martin Young submitted application 13/00317/CPU for a certificate of lawful use, and this was refused on 24 April. In 1974 planning permission was given to turn 29 Old High Street into two flats and to build three 1970s-style chalets in the grounds of the house.
- Oxford Mail, 13 December 2012: “Developer threatens to build chalets in conservation area”
February 2013: Planning application for new extensions approved
In February 2013 Martin Young submitted planning application 13/00311/FUL which seems to be a repeat of withdrawn plan12/01765/FUL below:
“Partial demolition of existing house and demolition of existing garages and outbuildings. Erection of two storey side and rear extension. Provision of new access, car parking and turning area. Rebuilding of stone boundary wall fronting Old High Street”.
This was approved at the East Area Planning Committee meeting on 16 April 2013.
- Oxford Mail, 18 April 2013: “ ‘I’ve won planning permission – but won’t be using it’ ”
- Oxford Mail, 15 February 2013: “Maverick’s back with Headington home plan”
November 2012: Planning application for extensions withdrawn
In July 2012 Martin Young submitted planning application 12/01765/FUL (plus Conservation Area Consent application 12/01766/CAC) for:
“Partial demolition of existing house and demolition of existing garages and outbuildings. Erection of two-storey side and rear extension. Provision of new access, car parking and turning area. Rebuilding of stone boundary wall fronting Old High Street.”
The application was called in for lengthier discussion at the East Area Planning Committee on 6 November 2012. Officers recommended rejection despite the fact that neighbours found it acceptable, and in the event the plan was withdrawn.
- Oxford Mail, 6 November 2012: “Neighbours support Headington house plan – but officers don’t”
- Oxford Mail, 19 July 2012: “New plans for derelict Headington home”
September 2012: Appeal against application for total demolition dismissed
Martin Young’s planning appeal against the City Council’s refusal in December 2011 to grant planning permission to demolish the house was dismissed on 24 September 2012, and the city council won an award for costs. An Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State held an informal hearing at the Town Hall on Thursday 2 August 2012. The lead case was APP/G3110/E/12/2172270 and the secondary case was APP/G3110/A/12/2172895.
- Oxford Mail, 22 December 2011: “‘I’ll fight on to bulldoze house’ says property developer”
- 23 March 2012: Update on 29 Old High Street from ward councillors
- Oxford Mail, 24 March 2012: “Neighbours call on city council to act over ‘derelict eyesore’ ”
- Oxford Mail, 12 May 2012: “Hearing into future of run-down house”
- Oxford Mail, 12 June 2012: “House row is set for appeal”
- Oxford Mail, 3 August 2012: “Demolition plans ‘among the worse seen’”
- Oxford Mail, 25 September 2012: “Developer loses appeal over derelict home demolition”
April 2012: Boundary wall
On 11 April 2012 Martin Young had his boundary wall at 29 Old High Street repaired with breeze blocks:
- Oxford Mail, 14 April 2012: “‘Improvements’ work under fire” and
Editorial Comment: “Common sense needs to prevail”
- Discussion on Headington & Marston neighbourhood forum about the new wall
The blocks fell down in April 2017, and Building Control will remove the top four courses to make it safe and provide temporary fencing.
December 2011: Outline application to demolish entire house refused
Outline planning application 11/02325/OUT (and conservation area application 11/02326/CAC) for “Demolition of existing house, buildings and structures. Erection of 5 x three-storey terraced houses with integral garages, parking and bin stores. Alteration to vehicular access” was refused.
September 2011: Appeal against Enforcement Order dismissed
A city council enforcement order (Section 215 notice) relating to the tidying up of 29 Old High Street was upheld at the Magistrates Court in March 2011 but Martin Young appealed against it. The appeal was heard at Oxford Crown Court on 9 September 2011 and the Judge upheld the ruling that the notice should be served. She also ordered the owner to pay £2,000 costs in addition to the £1,600 awarded to the Council in the earlier case. The owner had until Monday 12 March 2012 to tidy up the property in the way the Notice sets out, but did nothing.
The conservation charity Save Britain’s Heritage has added 29 Old High Street to its “at risk” register.
- BBC Radio Oxford, 31 May 2011: “Oxfordshire buildings listed ‘at risk’”
- Oxford Mail, 3 June 2011: “Home put on ‘at risk’ register”
- Oxford Mail, 29 September 2011: “‘I just hate it’ says man of house he wants to bulldoze”
- Oxford Mail, 18 May 2012: “Action over dilapidated house put on hold”
June 1984: Application to change house into offices refused
Martin Young’s planning application 84/00321/NFH for “Change of use of dwelling house to offices. Erection of two storey wing on north and south sides of main building. Provision of 4 parking spaces” was refused.
June 1984: Application to demolish parts of building refused
Martin Young’s application 84/00322/LH for "Listed building consent for demolition of northern wing, garage and stores (unlisted building in a Conservation Area)” was refused.
April 1974: Application to build three chalets in the grounds approved
Martin Young’s application 74/00198/A_H for Conversion of existing dwellings to form 2 No. flats and construction of 3 No new flats” was approved (following the rejection of two previous applications).
An application by the previous owner to build two semi-detached houses in the garden was also approved in 1957.
Martin Young’s other engagements with Oxford City Council
All links are to articles in the Oxford Mail
Long Wall in Littlemore
- 10 September 2010: "Developer plans to turn plot of land into an official rubbish dump”
- 18 October 2010: “Neighbours’ joy as Littlemore ‘loophole’ dump plan chucked out”
- 21 April 2011: “Property developer tries again to get land designated a dump”
- 21 January 2012: “Double dose of bad news for property developer”
- 24 July 2012: “Dump plan submitted for third time”
- 4 June 2014: “Developer brands planners ‘stupid’ over rubbish dump”
Young's other derelict house at 83 Cowley Road
- 30 January 2015: “'It was my nest egg,' says Martin Young of blighted house”
Young’s car illegally crushed by city council
- 20 May 2007: “‘Council put my car in crusher’”
- 10 February 2008: “Compensation fight over crushed car”
- 21 March 2010: “Council fined for illegally crushing car”
Attempt to stop £132m redevelopment of Oxford Brookes University’s Gipsy Lane campus
- 21 October 2010: “Bid to block Brookes campus plan rejected”
- 12 January 2012: “D-Day over Gipsy Lane court battle”
- 14 January 2012: “Property fight”
Hill Top House
- 27 June 2002: There was a successful challenge in the Appeal Court by Martin Young, then Chairman of Headington Hill Residents’ Association, against Oxford City Council’s decision to grant planning permission for a detached terraced block of 5 two-storey, one-bed mews houses in its back garden, on the grounds that the council had failed to consider a policy statement by English Heritage. The application to build the five houses was eventually approved by the full city council on 17 February 2003 after being called in. The voting was close (16 for and 16 against), and the Lord Mayor’s casting vote decided the matter
In July 2012 Martin Young, the owner of 29 Old High Street, failed in his appeal in Oxford Crown Court against the police decision not to return the firearms and shotgun licences he lost in 2008, when they seized his 400 antique weapons. Oxford Mail articles:
- 16 October 2008: “Police seize antique arms”
- 8 June 2012: “‘Thorn in the side’ wants his gun licence back”
- 9 June 2012: “Gun licence seizure ‘like life under Stasi’”
- 5 July 2012: “Gun collector loses fight to keep 350 weapons at his home”
17 Warnborough Road
- 8 November 2014: “£1m North Oxford house dispute ruling deferred”
- 23 June 2014: “Man loses case that he is rightful owner of £1m home”
- 17 February 2012: “Young funds £1m house legal battle”
- 16 April 2014: “'Documents are forged and people don't exist'”
- 15 April 2014: “Oxford house worth £1m is at centre of eviction fight”
Police & Crime Commissioner candidacy
- 16 October 2012: “Developer pulls out of race for Police and Crime Commissioner”
- 17 July 2012: “Maverick enters race to become police chief”
Comment on change in law re squatters
- 1 September 2012: “Praise for squatters’ rights law change”