Grand Designs’ treehouse plan in Oxford sparks anger
A GRAND Designs-style plan for a futuristic ‘tree house’ in Oxford’s Protected Forest has caused a stir among neighbors who fear it will spoil the area.
The proposal for a custom-designed ‘floating’ treehouse in wood and glass for Hid’s Copse’s grounds in Cumnor Hill, West Oxford, was discussed at a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Wednesday of the Vale of White Horse district.
The planner recommended that the committee reject the plan for several reasons, including “a detrimental impact on visual equipment” and potential damage from construction and pressure on protected trees.
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This despite the assurances of the applicant concerning an ecological development which would not harm the forest.
Baroness Ruth Deech, who lives on the road, spoke on behalf of a number of community members who are fighting the plan.
The exact location of the treehouse on Cumnor Hill Forest Photo: Western Design Architects
She stressed that this was the second request for the site and said the proposal, “strongly opposed” by tree experts, runs counter to a number of national and national policy frameworks put forward. in place to protect biodiversity.
The Baroness added: “To ignore these clear criteria would set a damaging precedent for future claims.
“There is a tree preservation group order in 1999 and a previous request failed in 2012 for tree conservation reasons.
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“The applicant now claims that the forest will be protected by adopting environmentally friendly construction.
“Even if this questionable proposal were accepted, the future occupants would very quickly find it impossible to live there without removing the trees protected because of the shading.
“If approved, the development would impoverish the local ecological zone.”
Drawings for “The Tree House” at Hids Copse Road, Cumnor Hill, Oxford, submitted to Vale of White Horse District Council. Image: Western Design Architects
Themis Avraamides, one of the people behind the innovative proposal, promised that the house would “sit in harmony” among the trees as it is specifically designed to make it “practically invisible” from the street.
Mr Avraamides added that the architects were chosen for their experience in the design and construction of award-winning treehouses.
He added: “Not a single tree would be damaged or removed as part of this proposal.
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“In fact, there is a net gain as we will be planting more trees within the boundaries, also keeping in mind that most of the existing trees are category C and below.
“We will use well-established techniques to prevent damage to trees or their roots during construction.”
However, advisers are not convinced, although a number of them praised the design and plans as “fantastic” and “beautiful”.
Design plans show the view of the treehouse Image: Western Design Architects
Since the fury of the residents of Cumnor Hill, the application has been denied in accordance with the planning officer’s recommendation.
To learn more about the application, visit the Vale Planning Portal using part number P20 / V3322 / FUL.