Archive : BMC Oxford depot approved

B.M.C. Oxford Depot Approved

The British Motor Corporation have been given permission by the Minister of Housing and Local Government to build a £4m. spare parts depot at Garsington Lane, Horspath, near their factory at Cowley, Oxford.

There will be one million sq. ft. of factory buildings, together with offices and a canteen. The Minister has accepted the recommendation of his inspector, who held a four-day public inquiry into the plans last December, that the corporation should be allowed to carry out their proposals to build on 44 acres of the 70-acre site. He has made a condition that the remaining 26 acres should not be developed.

Sir Douglas Veale, secretary of the Oxford Preservation Trust, described the Minister’s decision today as “very unsatisfactory”.  A letter from the Ministry announcing the decision says the inspector, Mr John Botterill, felt tat the application was a special case
“because the proposed development was undoubtedly of very considerable local and national importance”.

He found that the weight of evidence at the inquiry was “overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal”.


The inspector, said the letter, appreciated that the Oxford Preservation Trust were concerned about the principle of the green belt. But there were other principles which also deserved consideration. This was not a new industry setting up in Oxford, but the natural expansion of  “an existing warehouse activity which was commenced, rightly or wrongly, some six years ago in the Cowley area”.

Oxfordshire County Council as the local planning authority, Oxford City Council and the district and parish councils most concerned supported the corporation’s plans, as did various trade unions. The application represented an extension of the firm’s present activities in the area and the site adjoined the industrial fringe development at Cowley which already jutted into the green belt. It was a principle of positive planning to avoid long journeys from home to work.

In this respect the site could not be better situated. Visual amenities there and in the immediate surroundings were not great. and the inspector thought the corporation had given cogent reasons why they should not be forced to go further afield.

Keith Adams

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