I attended the committee meeting of the St John Street Area Residents association today largely to give advice and support on the upcoming appeal concerning the St Cross Planning application. Last summer St Cross College put in a planning application for a rather large and inappropriate building on the corner of Pusey Street and Pusey Lane. Planning officers recommended approval to the West Area Planning Committee but the member of that committee (I think wisely) decided that the development was not appropriate so turned down the application. For a while before Christmas I had thought progress was being made on getting the College to get round a table with the Residents’ Association and see if common ground could be reached so an appeal could be avoided. Sadly this was not to be and an appeal has now started. We talked through the process and I made clear that it is now the residents helping the council to resist the appeal rather than the resident opposing the council. Some excellent pooint were made and many residents are extremely well-informed about the issues so I do hope the planning inspector will refuse the appeal when it is heard sometime later this year.
We also talked about the Christmas light night celebrations that has happened last November – while they were very nice and enjoyed by many they did cause traffic chaos in the run up to Christmas, serious losses to City Centre Traders and serious disturbance to the working lives of University students and staff that live, work and sleep in the immediate vicinity of St. Giles. The message seems to have got across to the Council and it has already been decided that next year’s event will be somewhat re-thought and there will be far fewer road closures. It will probably centre on Gloucester Green instead.