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Warren Meadow development

Warren Meadow
8 July 2015: Warren Meadow

Second day of work23 September 2019: A small amount of groundwork by Radcot Plant Groundworks & Civil Engineering Contractors
began on the same day that the details submitted in compliance with the final condition were approved

Houses going up5 December 2022: Ten houses for Oxford City Council being built on Warren Meadow by R. J. Leighfield & Sons Ltd.

Warren Meadow was the greenfield space off Warren Crescent directly above the Lye Valley. It was the rainwater catchment and infiltration area for the best spring feeding the Lye Valley SSSI fen with nutrient-poor, calcium-rich water crucial to the plants and invertebrates which have survived there for the past 8,000 years. It was also the treasured informal play and kickabout area for local children. FOLV had hoped to enhance its biodiversity and encourage its educational use by local children and students.

On 14 July 2023 Oxford City Council announced here that following the completion of this OX Place development they were letting the ten new council homes (four at social rent and six at affordable rent).

The unsuccessful campaign to save Warren Meadow

Lye Valley drone image
The above photograph, taken on 16 April 2019 from a drone belonging to Phil Cutt, shows
the Lye Valley looking south. On the right, immediately above the valley, is the area of
grass to the east of Warren Crescent where the city council is building housing

Bank at Warren Crescent
Map by Judy Webb showing the tipped embankment and possible instability problems

Judy Webb letter, Oxford Times 7 Nov 2019
Letter from Judy Webb published in the
Oxford Times on 7 November 2019

Letter from Judy Webb 22 Aug 2019
Letter from Judy Webb published in the
Oxford Times on 22 August 2019

On 30 March 2016 the Planning Review Committee voted 7:2 in favour of this development at Warren Meadow:

On 7 March 2019 an amendment was approved:

The following conditions of the above planning permission have been approved:

  • Approved planning application 13/01555/CND
    Details submitted in compliance with condition 26 (Phase II Contaminated Land Assessment)
  • Approved planning application 13/01555/CND2
    Details submitted in compliance with condition 11 (Sustainable Urban Drainage Scheme)
  • Approved planning application 13/01555/CND3
    Details submitted in compliance with Condition 3 (Material Samples), Condition 4 (Details of all means of enclosure), Condition 5 (Details of refuse and cycle storage), Condition 6 (Landscape plan required) Condition 8 (No felling lopping cutting), Condition 9 (Tree Protection Plan (TPP) 1), Condition 10 (Arboricultural method statement (AMS) 1), Condition 13 (Method statement for preserving ecology), Condition 14 (Arch - Implementation of programme), Condition 18 (Construction Traffic Management Plan) and Condition 22 (Secure by Design Principles)
  • Approved planning application 13/01555/CND4
    Details submitted in compliance with Condition 15 (Details of the proposed parking areas), Condition 16 (Details of the allotment access), Condition 23 (Sustainability Measures / NRIA), Condition 27 (Feasibility of grey water harvesting) of planning permission 13/01555/FUL
  • Approved planning application 13/01555/CND5
    Details submitted in compliance with condition 19 (A Travel Plan Statement)
  • Approved planning application 13/01555/CND6
    Details submitted in compliance with condition 26 (Phase II Contaminated Land Assessment)

Email sent by Judy Webb to the Project Officer for the development, James Graham, on 4 August 2019 (PDF)

The building control plans submitted on 8 November 2019 were rejected on 20 November 2019 (19/01160/PARTFP/A)

Oxford Mail, 10 November 2020:
Lye Valley demonstration in Headington to 'prevent a landslip'


Oxford Mail 19 March 2021
Letter, Oxford MailI, 19 March 2021


Footpath through Warren Meadow

Oxford City Council has diverted this footpath during the building work:see separate page

FOLV campaign to save the meadow in 2016

Dr Judy Webb addressed the Full Council on Monday 7 December 2015 concerning the Lye Valley and the petition to save Warren Meadow:

The Friends of Lye Valley  launched a petition to save the green space (Warren Meadow) which lies directly above the Lye Valley fen, from development. The beautiful grassy area, besides being the local football and picnic area, is the crucial rainwater catchment and infiltration area for the Lye Valley SSSI fen. Development here will have a devastating effect on the fen, inflicting damage which can never be rectified.

Our thanks to Cllrs Fooks and Wolff for supporting the FOLV concerns about this development and its effects on the Lye Valley SSSI, the hydrology and geology of the area, and the families of Town Furze estate. A new requirement of ‘Monitoring’ has been added to the Conditions.

Below: Coverage by the Oxford Mail of the FOLV campaign to save Warren Meadow, Wed 21 October 2015:

OxfMail 21 Octo 2015

View Larger Map

This planning application was discussed by the East Area Planning Committee on Wednesday 4 September 2013. Several members of FoLV spoke in opposition to the development. After discussion the decision was deferred to a future meeting pending further information on a number of issues, mainly information on the mitigation Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) proposal and the width of the access for deliveries to Town Furze allotments.

Judy Webb explained the effect this development could have on the Lye Valley:

This application for ten houses removes a green informal recreation area for local children and it removes an essential green buffer to the SSSI areas. It threatens the wildlife of the Lye Valley fens because the green area adjacent to Warren Crescent is in the catchment of the springs which feed the wetland SSSI and LWS fens immediately adjacent. Building and paving over this area would prevent rainwater entering the soil and percolating down so that it can feed the springs. Potentially the springs may produce less water and the wetland become drier, with loss of species.

However the application has a mitigation plan (SUDS) to infiltrate water into the soil to overcome this problem. This has pipes to catch all the water from roofs and permeable paved areas and pipe it to a long thin shallow pond called a swale in the remaining green part of the site. After a rainstorm the swale would fill up with water and then slowly drain down over a couple of days, so the water gets into the soil to feed the springs. This looks good in theory as a design on paper, but will only work long-term (for ever, which is what is needed) if the whole interception and shallow swale system is de-silted every year and the system is protected from oil and petrol pollution from vehicles. Its proposed position is right under a row of large trees so it will quickly fill with leaves. It will need to be fenced off from people and dogs to prevent dumping and compaction of the swale base. De-silting of this and the permeable paving, removing leaves and vegetation and pollution protection will be expensive procedures which will need to be done annually at some cost. Will there be enough money? Will the work be done frequently enough, to a high enough standard? The occupants of the houses will have to be prevented from paving over their green back gardens to make sure they stay permeable — how will this happen?

There is not enough information in the application to be sure that this mitigation will actually work for ever to protect the fens, therefore the housing should not happen, it is too risky. The fens have already been seriously damaged by surrounding urban development, enough is enough.

TV & Radio coverage

Keene letter

Local press coverage
Friends of Lye Valley, 2013–2022