Stockham Park Farm Development - Phase 2
The Dandara Application for 90 homes at Stockham Farm Phase 2 was recommended for approval at the Planning meeting last night. It doesn't matter that it closes the gap between Phase 1 and Crown. It doesn't matter that the Planning Committee has already approved 2,700 homes in Grove. The requirement in the NPPF states that it is important to ensure that there is a reasonable prospect that planned infrastructure is deliverable in a timely fashion. Grove Airfield infrastructure is unlikely to be built before 2018 and this development must be started within 2 years so where will the school places come from?
We don't know why we have a planning committee. They seem to believe that they have to approve everything and the way that the Officers present the applications suggests that they are working closely with the developers. All 47 comments from residents were squeezed into one paragraph which wasn't even mentioned!
The Housing Need figure that they are working towards hasn't been updated since last July (think what damage they have done since then). If we haven't fulfilled a number that the Officers haven't calculated since last July (regardless that there has been 11 planning committees since then) any application has to be approved because if they don't it will be approved on appeal. Is this really how the design of our local community is managed?
Full planning permission for 90 homes has now been granted - the decision notice with full conditions is available of the District Council's Website. The Section 106 agreement is now available and requires contributions before occupation of more than 50% of the general market housing. The Decision requires 36 affordable homes so that means there will be 54 general market homes. it is a separate agreement to that with the County Council for funding of schools, highways etc. which is not yet available.
Conditions included in the decision relate to: [show detail]
- No development shall take place until full details of both hard and soft landscape works have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority
- No works shall be carried out on site before the arboricultural protection and safeguarding
methodology has been implemented.
- Prior to the commencement of development, a woodland management plan shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority
- Prior to the occupation of any dwellings, a management plan for the future maintenance and layout of the open space and childrens play area(s) shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
- Development shall not begin until a sustainable water drainage scheme for the site based on the agreed flood risk assessment and the drainage strategy and overland flow routes drawings has been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The sustainable water drainage scheme shall be implemented in accordance with the approved details and shall be provided prior to the first occupation of the
- Development shall not begin until such time as a scheme to dispose of foul drainage has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, thelocal planning authority.
- Prior to the commencement of development a detailed plan showing the
provision for car parking spaces and cycle parking / storage spaces to be
provided within the site in accordance with Local Planning Authority standards
shall be submitted and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
- Prior to the commencement of any development a Construction Traffic
Management Plan shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local
- Prior to the commencement of any development a residential travel plan shall
be submitted and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.
- No development hereby approved shall commence, including any demolition
and any works of site clearance until habitat creation works in the western newt
habitat area have been completed in accordance with a mitigation strategy for
great crested newts, which has been submitted to and approved in writing by
the local planning authority.
- No development shall take place until details of the provisions to be made for the
provision of 12 bat roosting sites have been submitted to and approved by the council.
- A habitat management plan specifically designed to maintain and enhance the
western newt and eastern newt habitat areas and the area alongside the Wilts
and Berks Canal for great crested newts shall be developed and submitted to
and approved by the local planning authority prior to the occupation of the
- No development shall commence until a phased contaminated land risk
assessment has been carried out by a competent person in accordance with Defra and the Environment Agencies 'Model Procedures for the Management of Contaminated Land, CLR 11'. All phases need to be approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority
- Prior to the commencement of the development a scheme for the buildout rate
of completed and fitted out dwellings shall be agreed in writing with the Local
Planning Authority. Construction shall proceed in accordance with the agreed
scheme. Any variation to the agreed scheme shall first be agreed in writing by
the Local Planning Authority.
We are also concerned for the wildlife on the site. Great Crested Newts have been seen there as have Barn Owls. These are fully protected by law under the 1981 wildlife and countryside act. Protection for Newts and Bats are included in the permission but no mention of Barn Owls.
Details can be found on the Council website with application reference P13/V1826/FUL.
The Dandara Application for 90 homes at Stockham Farm Phase 2 comes to the committee with a staff recommendation for acceptance.To see the detail go to the Agenda for the meetingAs the report to the planning committee states:
6.9 Local concern has been expressed that the proposal would cause traffic congestion and existing roads surrounding the site are unsuitable for more traffic. However, there are no objections from the County Engineer on traffic generation or highway safety grounds. Similarly there is considered to be no harmful impact to other users of Downsview Road (i.e. Crown Packaging) arising from this development. Furthermore, the land is not required for any future link road westwards to the A417 as alternative routes could be provided along the existing Downsview Road. The development is therefore acceptable in terms of highways.
6.10 Paragraph 109 of the NPPF says that “the planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment”. The site is designated under policy NE10 as important open land between Wantage, Grove and East Challow. This policy is fully consistent with the framework and seeks to safeguard the separate identities of these neighbouring settlements and aims to prevent their coalescence. The site if developed would therefore be contrary to policy NE10.
6.19 The applicant has provided comprehensive surveys / reports in relation to protected species within the site. The plans have also been amended to ensure habitats are created / protected. Subject to further work prior to commencement of development (see Countryside Officer’s comments) the proposed mitigation measures are considered acceptable and the relevant licence tests are considered to have been met.
Vale of White Horse District Council – Committee Report – 15 January 2014
However, members need to be aware the proposed habitat works will take longer than 12 months. It is therefore suggested that the time limit for implementation is set at two years in this case which will still ensure the quick delivery of the site to address the housing shortfall without harming protected species. Any impact on other wildlife (i.e. that is not protected under EU directives or UK law) is considered acceptable.
See their website at http://stockhamfarm.info/ contact them email@example.com or call 0800 019 2054
The Planners have submitted:
- A revised proposed site layout plan showing the removal of the 22 homes previously proposed for the NE corner;
- An updated Illustrative Masterplan and Landscape Masterplan produced by Define showing the 22
homes removed from the NE corner; improved pedestrian linkages through the site and connecting to the wider townscape; dedicated GCN habitat to the south and south-west; new GCN habitat and open space to the NE and formal play equipment to the central 'Village Green';
- Revised plans showing the extent of hard and soft landscaping including POS, retained and future
canal corridor, GCN mitigation area and retained boundary planting / woodland;
- Revised landscape sections;
- A transport addendum written in response to the comments received from OCC Highways (n.b. they will be confirming the exact areas of existing and proposed roads to be offered for adoption as indicatively shown in Appendix 1 on a revised plan to be sent soon);
- A revised accommodation schedule;
- An updated Flood Risk Assessment in response to
comments from VoWH, OCC and the Environment Agency.
AREAS OF CONCERN - see your comments
We submitted our comments in September but now have a second chance.
- Vale Policy H13 states that outside the defined settlement boundary new homes will only be permitted as part of small-scale infill schemes or if essential to meet the needs of an activity which requires a rural location. This planning application for residential development currently falls outside the defined settlement boundary and is not essential to meet the needs of an activity which requires a rural location. Nor is it part of small-scale infill scheme.
- Even though 22 dwelling have been removed from the NE corner, there still appears to be 90 dwellings shown on the plans as we assume that the housing density of the build area has increased. We oppose high density dwellings on the very edge of the town/village as these are inconsistent with nearby estates.
- The adopted Local Plan states (Policy DC8) that development will only be allowed where the necessary social and physical infrastructure will be provided in association with the development. No school places are available at pre-school, primary or secondary school levels. All GP surgeries are full, roads are close to capacity without the impact of already approved developments and the leisure centre is more than 100% utilised. On this basis alone, the application should be refused. As the Planning Minister Nick Boles stated in the debate in Parliament on 24 October: “..we have attempted to make it clear that planning authorities can very reasonably say, “Yes, we’ll pass this planning application, yes, we will consent, but it can only go ahead and be built out once that infrastructure has been put in place.”
- As the Urban Design Officer states: “this housing does not integrate visually or physically into the surrounding built environment. The housing is likely to be a relatively car dependant, particularly as Wantage town centre and local shopping facilities in Grove are well beyond the desirable 400m walkable neighbourhood. Access and movement are fundamental urban design qualities that contribute towards the creation of a vibrant, safe and successful place. As the site not well located in relation to existing or proposed facilities and does not integrate with surrounding development, the quality of this development proposal will be effectively limited. Given the number of allocated and consented sites in the Wantage/Grove area, it is questionable whether this site is also required for residential development.”
- The Response to the OCC Holding Objection states “2.6 The area to the south-west of the main development area is now proposed as an ecological mitigation area that will be managed by the on-site management company. It is proposed to provide vehicular access to the country park via the proposed Phase 1 development. The link to the ecological area will be surfaced to allow the passage of light vehicles suitable for the passage of the types of vehicles that may need to access the area.” This would suggest that that this link will go through the “Native meadow grassland throughout the western corner of the site” together with the attenuation ponds shown in the plans for the proposed Phase 1 development. This should be opposed as this will have a detrimental impact on the wildlife not to mention the drainage.
- The transport assessments states that in 4 cases arms of local junctions are approaching capacity albeit it with a maximum RFC value of 0.924 on the Denchworth Road (north) arm of the Mill Street junction. This road contains a special needs school and a number of mini-roundabouts as well as going through a large residential area, all of which will be impacted by this level of traffic.
Does this take account of the increase in traffic expected along the Denchworth road when the WELR is completed and all traffic is diverted along the Mably way and down the Denchworth road to the A417 west of Wantage?
- Development by stealth
This is the second application following the successful application for 200 homes last year. We know they have to pay the S106 contributions but by putting in a number of smaller developments (I never thought I would count a development of 100 houses small!) they don't have to provide land for schools or leisure. We understand that a third application could follow.
Vale Policy H13 states that outside the defined settlement boundary new homes will only be permitted as part of small-scale infill schemes or if essential to meet the needs of an activity which requires a rural location. This planning application for residential development currently falls outside the defined settlement boundary and is not essential to meet the needs of an activity which requires a rural location. Nor is it part of small-scale infill scheme.
- Housing Density
Most of Charlton and the area to the West of the Denchworth Road has a housing density of 30 homes per hectare. Based on my rough estimates, this estate is proposing a density of 40 homes per hectare. This seems too high a density for the rural edge of a small market town.
- Types of Dwellings
The proposal is for 100 homes including 60 private residential dwellings (to use Dandara terminology) 1 Bed Apartment, 4 2 Bed Apartments, 15 2 Bed Houses, 16 3 Bed Houses and 24 4 Bed Houses. The affordable homes include 7 1 Bed Apartments, 8 2 Bed Apartments, 12 2 Bed Houses, 8 3 Bed Houses and 5 4 Bed Houses. A total of 20 properties will
achieve Lifetime Home compliance. No bungalows (as recommended by Government minister Eric Pickles) are proposed.
- Reducing the reliance on Cars
The transport plan is based on reducing the dependence on cars and encouraging the use of public transport and bicycles. Employment is mostly at least 8 miles away at Harwell Oxford and Milton Park or further away in Abingdon, Swindon, Oxford, or London all of which require a commute which is likely to depend on a car. Retail facilities are 1.5km away in Grove or the centre of Wantage.
The 36 bus service will no longer operate in the sections between Wantage & Didcot from mid October. The 32 service between Grove, Wantage and Didcot will continue to run hourly for the time being. This is not a commuter service.
The plan quotes "The Effects of Smarter Choice Programmes in the Sustainable Travel Towns: Research Report" - this was based on the much larger towns of Worcester, Peterbrough and Darlington and doesn't easily translate to a town the size of Wantage where most jobs are more than 10 miles away and public transport is limited.
- School places
Primary school places were tight when the last development was approved and will be non-existent when these dwelling are built. Secondary school places will be full by 2016 (roughly by the time these properties are built and occupied).
- Health facilities
Existing practices are up to capacity and have no space to expand without significant investment.
- Leisure facilities
Wantage Leisure Centre is estimated to be running at 100% full, at 810 visits per week in the peak period and there is no capacity to cater for any additional demand. 80% is usually considered full. "A visual inspection of the existing Wantage Leisure Centre was undertaken in October 2012. The cost of addressing the maintenance defects and to deal with the aging building immediately and in year 1 are estimated to be around £1.1m. A further £560,000 is estimated to be likely to be required between years 2 and 10." (Source: VoWH Leisure and Sports Facilities Strategy
2013 - 2029)
- Birds etc.
Barn Owls live/nest at Stockham Farmhouse buildings (which are not part of the development) and hunt on Stockham Farm farmland. The farm buildings are basically central to the property and the owls’ activity is immediately connected to the surrounding farmland/fields.
The Ecological Appraisal mentions that no snakes were recorded during any of the site surveys. However, a sighting of a grass snake in the area has been reported.
We do not see evidence of a wild flower survey having been done on this long established meadow field
All vegetation and, particularly, woody vegetation proposed for clearance should be removed
outside of the bird-breeding season (March - September inclusive) as all birds are protected
under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (as amended) whilst on the nest.
If the Airfield development isn't built there will be no new Schools, no new Leisure Centre or Community Centre. The Council keep approving new developments without requiring these things to be built.
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