Time for a turndown

Then Planning Committee Chair Colin Cook is not remotely convinced by the ’expert‘ on house prices

Planning Inspector to consider Cornerstone’s appeal

Posted - Jan 12, 2023

For the Jericho Wharf development, Tuesday January 17 is another big day. Planning Inspector Benjamin Webb will consider Cornerstone’s appeal against the refusal of planning permission. If you can, please come to the hearing, as it will signal how much we care about this unique site.

At the Planning Committee meeting in March 2022, members unanimously rejected Cornerstone’s application, among other things, because it lacked social housing, had a small and unviable public square, and included parking spaces.

Cornerstone argued that they would not get enough income from house sales to cover social housing and other obligations. Councillors were deeply sceptical about this, since the viability assessment offered was based on house prices in more remote areas of Oxford – and took no account of the ‘Jericho premium’. When formally issuing the refusal, the Council officers limited the grounds to the lack of social housing, though it was clear that the councillors had much broader concerns about the application. 

The councillors’ decision has been vindicated. Two subsequent viability assessments, one commissioned by the City Council, the other by the Jericho Wharf Trust, have estimated higher revenue from house sales. 

The Planning Inspector will take these into account. But he will also consider information from the JWT and many others. It is difficult to say what conclusion he will arrive at, but Cornerstone seem to be conceding that they may have got it wrong. While persisting with the appeal, they  are also preparing a new application. So, we may have that to look forward to…..

The hearing will be in the Town Hall from 10.00 am Tuesday January 17 and is expected to last one day. The meeting is open to the public, though if you are going to attend, the planning officers ask that you notify them in advance with an email to You can do so as an ‘interested party’. Residents, councillors and groups can speak if they notify the Inspector on the day.  

Please come along if you can, for at least part of the time, as it demonstrates the importance of this appeal to the local community. Developers rely on wearing Councils and communities down. They should know better.