The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Old Gaol Plans

The planning application for the Old Gaol development were published a week ago, and the Abingdon Herald has done a front page on it with the title: Gaol deal 'should be renegotiated'. One of the factors on which the original decision was made was value for money. The newspaper reports that the district council will get less money for the site than when the developer was first chosen - before the credit crunch and the detailed plans, but the actual figures are not yet in the public domain.

Main points of the Old Gaol plan itself:

New vehicle access onto Bridge Street will be provided by demolishing part of the old Police Station (the picture is from the earlier model). The swimming pool building will also be demolished.

The plan sees the conversion of the Old Gaol to restaurants and apartments. It was to be restaurants and shops and apartments, but the developers have listened to local opinion, voiced back in January, and dropped the shops and added more restaurant space. There are three restaurants: one in the Old Gaol and one in each of the two buildings, pictured in front of the Old Gaol, on Bridge Street.

Other features of the plan include:
  • a pedestrian walk way from East St Helen Street next to Twickenham House
  • more apartments to the back
  • underground parking
  • public open space fronting the river
  • the Bridge young peoples centre moves from cottages next to the river to part of the police station further up
You can see all the details on the Vale District Council Planning Web Site. ( .... select planning applications... select view and comment on application online... then Application Search: 08/01238/LBC . )

The District Council are involved in this as vendors who chose this developer, and as the planning authority that decides the application, so that must add a complication.


Anonymous hester said...

Mmm - I may be an old cynic but I suspect the change was driven by commercial considerations rather than public opinion - and in any case the latter is divided on the shops v. restaurants issue. Many of us would have liked a few "destination" shops there - as well as a riverside restaurant - to attract more people to this area of town and increase its daytime vitality. Restaurants mainly contribute to the evening economy - and it is arguable that Bridge Street is fairly well endowed there already.

However it is largely academic at this stage - it would not be difficult for them to apply for a change of use for some of the public spaces when they see how the market is once the development nears completion. (And who knows - if they can't let them perhaps they'll let us have some community use after all!)

18 October 2008 12:41  

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