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Warneford Meadow, Headington

Warneford Meadow was registered as a Town Green in May 2010, and in September 2013 Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust took on ownership of it from the Department of Health, pledging to preserve it for the community. It lies in the ecclesiastical parish of Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry, and is in the Churchill city council ward.

Meadow in summer
The meadow on 6 June 2006

Directions to Warneford Meadow

The entrance to the meadow is to the south of the Headington Care Home. There are are various ways to get there by footpath. If you are unsure of the way, you can walk there by road via either Roosevelt Drive or Hill Top Road.

Roosevelt Drive runs southwards off Old Road opposite Gipsy Lane, or it can be reached via Churchill Drive, where it is the first road on the right as you go south. When you reach the mini-roundabout at the south end of Demesne Furze, take the road running south and skirt right round the Headington care Home until you spot the entrance to the meadow .

Footpath through meadow
Looking back to the Headington Care Home, 6 June 2006

Cranes at the Churchill
Looking towards the building work at the Churchill, 6 June 2006


The Local Plan

The development of the meadow is permitted under the present Local Plan (click on PDF version of section 14, “Development Sites”), p. 193. This states:

POLICY DS.87 – WARNEFORD MEADOW SITE, HEADINGTON – HOSPITAL USE & OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY USE
Planning permission will be granted at Warneford Meadow for the development of the following uses:
a. staff accommodation for nurses and other key workers associated with the health service;
b. medical research appropriate to this location; and
c. health care facilities associated with the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre or Oxfordshire Mental Healthcare NHS Trusts:
d. Oxford Brookes University education/academic use; and
e. Oxford Brookes University purpose-built student accommodation.
Development of this site will be subject to the retention and enhancement of:
f. substantial wildlife corridors along Boundary Brook and the boundary with Southfield Golf Course; and
g. the belt of trees/hedges on the western and northern boundaries.
Development proposals for the site should make provision for improvements to public transport access within the site.
Planning permission will not be granted for any other uses.

A public meeting about the meadow, chaired by Bill Heine, was held on 18 June 2004:


Planning applications in 2006

In 2006 the University of Oxford was granted planning permission to build a new research building on the playing fields next to the Warneford Hospital.

Early in 2006 the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Mental Healthcare Trust (now the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust put in five outline planning applications:

  • 06/01540/OUT: Hospital playing field
    150 residential units of assisted housing
  • 06/01559/OUT: Warneford Meadow
    Student accommodation and/or key worker residential accommodation not exceeding 685 student units (reduced from 1,950) or 300 residential units
  • 06/01560/OUT: Warneford Meadow
    Healthcare and/or medical research and/or administration and/or academic floorspace, not exceeding 24,500sq.m of floorspace
  • 06/01561/OUT: Park Hospital
    Student accommodation and/or key worker residential accommodation not exceeding 400 student units or 60 residential units
  • 06/01562/OUT: Park Hospital
    Healthcare and/or medical research and/or administration and/or academic floorspace, not exceeding 4500sq.m.

In answer to a parliamentary question about NHS assets, Liam Byrne revealed that the Department of Health’s land at the Warneford was worth £30,900,000, making it the NHS’s sixth most valuable immovable fixed asset.

Warneford MeadowThe Warneford Meadow on Sunday 19 March 2006


Town Green status 2007–2009

The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (which became the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust in 2009 and is now the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust) decided in 2007 not to pursue its appeals with the Planning Inspectorate for the “non-determination of its outline planning applications” by the city council’s Strategic Development Control Committee on 25 April 2007.

This is because those appeals were due to be heard before the announcement of the decision on whether Warneford Meadow should be registered as a Town Green. Paul de Luce, supported by the Friends of Warneford Meadow, submitted the Town Green application to Oxfordshire County Council to save the Meadow from present and future development, and a public inquiry commenced in the Town Hall in October 2007 with QC Vivian Chapman. The application was opposed by the NHS, who own the meadow, and a Mr Whitmey.

The Warneford Meadow Town Green Public Inquiry started at the Town Hall started in October 2007, resumed in January 2008, and concluded on Thursday 22 May 2008. The legal costs of this long drawn-out application totalled £45,000, which was raised by local residents.

In October 2008 the Planning Inspector, Mr Vivian Chapman QC, recommended that the entirety of the application site (including the orchard) should be registered as a new town or village green under the Commons Registration Act 1965.

On 6 April 2009 Oxfordshire County Council Planning & Regulation Committee decided by ten votes to three to accept the Inspector’s Report and register Warneford Meadow as a Town Green. The NHS then announced that it would seek a judicial review of this decision.

Town Green celebrations1 May 2009: Friends of Warneford Meadow and local residents’ associations celebrate with Andrew Smith (Labour),
Steve Goddard (Lib Dem), Peter Tatchell (Green), and Ed Argar (Conservative) and local councillors that
Oxfordshire County Council has voted to register Warneford Meadow as a Town Green.


2010

On 16 February 2010 the North-East Area Committee approved plans for a new 20-bed adolescent psychiatric unit to be built on the cricket ground of the United Oxford Hospitals Cricket Club at the Warneford Hospital. The plans were called in, but approved by the Strategic Development Control Committee on 24 February 2010.

The Judicial Review requested by the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Mental Health Trust was held in the High Court on 25 and 26 February 2010.

On 23 March 2010 it was announced that the Judge upheld the decision of Oxfordshire County Council to register Warneford Meadow in Oxford as a Town Green, and the formal registration took place in May 2010:


2011

The meadow enjoyed its first year as a Town Green.


2012

The Department of Health put the Warneford Meadow up for sale, and local and community groups were invited to submit expressions of interest in purchasing it by writing to Savills by 23 July 2012:


2013

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has expressed an interest in buying the meadow, and marketing has been delayed. The future ownership is expected to be settled in September 2013.


Media reports 2006–12 on the Warneford Meadow

Links

© Stephanie Jenkins

 

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