outline applicationhas been recommended for approval by the District Council.
The outline application is for 2,500 dwellings on the former Airfield with a mix of market and affordable houses and flats. In addition to the housing, the application includes a new district centre which will include a supermarket, other shops, a library and other community facilities. Also included are plans for two primary schools, a secondary school, playing fields, other large areas of open space and the realignment of Denchworth Road to the south.
The approval of this application will fix certain parameters:-
BUT: detailed applications (officially called "Reserved Matters") for the exact number, style and location of the buildings etc. will have to be approved before anything can be built.
Planning staff have been given authority to agree the detail of the S106 (approx. £49.5m) and the conditions (approx. 65).
The recommendations approved by our elected Councillors agreed that “outline planning permission be granted subject to the provision of, in the order of, 35% affordable housing on the site (of which 30% shall be affordable rented) and the completion and signing of a S106 agreement to secure the following infrastructure:
It is anticipated that the first homes will be built in 2017 at the earliest. This means the schools will probably not be ready for use until 2019-2020.
According to the Application:
"The development will be split into three phases. There will be in the order of 500 dwellings in Phase 1, 1000 dwellings in phase 2 and 1,000 phases in phase 3."
"The development will be built out over 10 years on an average of 250 dwellings per year, with building work starting in Autumn 2013. It is envisaged that the development will be completed by 2023."
Road Improvements [show detail]
Section 7.10 Transport.pdf (6Mb)is the latest document submitted by the developers. In it the access strategy during development has been amended. In Phase I – 500 units access will be served from the Southern Access Road (SAR) and a minor access from Newlands Drive adjacent to Savile Way. Phase II – additional connection to the north from Denchworth Road, delivered during phase II, to serve up to 1,500 units. Phase III – additional connection via the completed NLR. The Northern Link Road is to be completed prior to the 1501st occupation The Northern Link Road will continue in a generally easterly direction from Denchworth Road to connect to the A338. The design of the NLR will be subject to subsequent planning application. The SAR connects from the Camel roundabout and follows the exiting Denchworth Road alignment. As the existing alignment turns to the west past the electricity sub-station, the SAR continues on a new alignment to the east of the substation, forming a new Priority T junction with Cane Lane before proceeding to link into Newlands Drive. The SAR is of a constant width, 6.5m, and delivers a 2.5m wide footway/cycle way.
Section 7.3 Development Proposals.pdfproposes junction improvements at:
Schools [show detail]
Development Proposals.pdf (11Mb)proposes that:
7.3.4 "Two x 2 form entry primary schools are proposed each on a site area of 2.2ha as well as a 9 ha secondary school site with an additional 2ha expansion area are proposed on the airfield."
7.3.7 "The primary schools will be single storey with a maximum height of 12m to allow for enclosed spaces. The secondary school will be 3 storeys (up to 15 metres)."
but later in the document:
7.3.26 “The first primary school will be located to the north west of the local centre with the playing fields abutting Newlands Drive to the west." We believe this should be north east of the local centre otherwise all plans are wrong.
7.3.28 "A 9 ha site has been reserved along the southern boundary of the allocated site to accommodate a Secondary School. The school is located to be in close proximity with the community park so that the open space can sit together."
Drainage [show detail]
Hydrology & Hydrogeology.pdf (5Mb)is the latest document submitted by the developers. Grove Parish Council have commented on the lack of clarity of the 'Technical Explanation", and it has requested an independent review of the drainage proposals.
In particular, in Figure 2g, surface water flow from each of the sub-areas are individually tabulated. However, this subdivision doesn't include those areas of the site which are not built on. Also, each area is 'reduced' into an impermeable area, presuming that the remainder is nicely permeable. But this is not justified, because the earlier Baseline Studies revealed that the permeability is close to zero. The implication in the table is that water onto the permeable areas soaks into the soil, which it certainly does not. So the impermeable area should be the same as the sub-area, and the true run-off will be much higher than the table suggests. Further, in para 2.16 the model flow was reduced by 44% to include the effects of the drainage proposals. Isn't that a way of saying they reduced the input figures because doing so helps the output figures?
The foul water system is claimed to be capable of coping with 217l/sec or 781,200 l/hour. But a 1% event will provide approximately 3.75Ml in an hour into the foul drains. Since the Bradfield Farm works does not have 3Ml storage capacity, a 1% event will cause an excess of around 3Ml, which will have to be be dumped into Letcombe Brook.
So what the developer's consultant is doing is to 'talk down' the post-development run-off in order to exaggerate the performance of the drainage system.
Housing density [show detail]
The amended housing density plan is available here. It still proposes densities along Newlands Road of up to 45 homes per hectare with the centre of the site being up to 55 homes per hectare. For comparison purposes, St Mary's is 70 homes per hectare, Wolage Drive (the estate on the site of the old Yoplait dairy) is 52 per hectare, Cherbury Green is 29 per hectare, Belnheim Gardens is 27 per hectare and Churchward Close is 22 per hectare. There are no areas on the developments which will be less crowded than Cherbury Green.
As Grove Council has said "We believe strongly that a lower density of housing needs to be placed adjacent to the existing housing along Newlands Drive. The density should be the same as, or less than, the current housing along Newlands Drive, not greater. We observe the development of the St Mary’s School site in Wantage and do not want to see similar density in Grove. That site already has a poor reputation, which we do not want to repeat in Grove."
Allotments [show detail]
Development Proposals.pdf (11Mb)proposes that further to a suggestion made by the Council’s Landscape Officer it is proposed to relocate the proposed allotments to land adjacent to the sub station on Denchworth Road.
As Grove Council has said "As the allotments are in the area where underground storage facilities were, then will that be suitable for allotments and have the necessary EI [Environmental Impact] studies included this area?"
Car parking [show detail]
As Grove Council has said
"The Parish Council is concerned about the apparent lack of provision of car parking spaces. Residents are to travel to employment sites
elsewhere in the locality but have to park their vehicles in the village somewhere. The roads in the village are already ‘clogged’ with
cars and other vehicles parked on the roadside making smooth flow of traffic difficult at times. We anticipate that the development will
suffer from the same issue of lack of parking in garages and driveways. Consequently provision for overnight and daily parking (not in
one big car park and not subject to parking restrictions and clamping) is necessary to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
It has also been suggested that secure parking for tradesman’s vans would be a sensible addition to the facilities being provided."
Energy Efficiency [show detail]
As Grove Council has said "The outline application suggests that the dwellings are being built to level 3 Code for Sustainable Homes (CFSH). The Parish Council would like to see the first homes built to CFSH level 4 in keeping with other proposed developments in the area. Moving forward, the Parish Council would like the later stages of the development to be compliant with one level above the then current standard levels of CFSH as the Part L Building regulations change."
Flood Risk [show detail]
It has been announced in the press that the agreement or understanding between the Government and Home Insurers on the cost of home insurance is to end this summer. This comes in the wake of local people discovering that flood insurance premiums have shot up after the events of summer 2007.
Hence it is likely that flood insurance in some areas (probably including the Vale) will rise even further.
If it should come to light that drainage provision is 'sub standard' at any of the proposed development sites, it may become next to impossible for homeowners to obtain flood insurance. This likelihood is hardly evidence of sustainable development!!
Grove Parish Council commentson the application, including some useful FAQ's
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