Wantange and Grove Campaign Group (WAGCG)
Chain Hill Road Development

 

For a summary of the final approved application and the section 106 agreement see the Council website (P13/V2454/RM and P12/V2316/O).

Yes, they are managing to squeeze 85 dwellings into the lower (Northern) portion of the site. They do appear to have listened to the concerns about height of houses near to existing properties but none of the images show what it will look like from existing properties or in relation to existing properties (except 19 Chain Hill which will now have a wooden fence very close to the first floor windows on the South Side).

I would expect details of the traffic calming scheme which has to be installed on Chainhill prior to the first occupation of the development to be included.

The sustainability statement states that "it is proposed that, where required, photovoltaic (PV) panels will be fitted to the roof ..." What does 'where required' mean in this context?

The transport statement states that "It has been assumed that a proportion of trips associated with the [Stockham Farm] development would travel through the junctions within the site but, as first occupation of the Stockham Farm development will not occur until 2017, these trips have only been added to the factored baseline for the assessment year (2019) only." We understand that Stockham Farm will be occupied in 2014 and therefore suggest that this should be factored into all calculations.

The bus map included is months out of date.

 

The Vale Planning Meeting was 11 March. The application was approved subject to the Chairman of the Council being satisfied with road safety. [show detail]

They want to add a 1.5m pavement to the road at the point shown in the photograph.
Councillors voted in favour to avoid expensive appeals despite concerns being expressed.
What does sustainable development mean when there are no jobs, no school places and no buses within 500 yards and planning applications are still approved?

 

"It is quite true that there is a lot of affordable housing at St Mary's. However, across the Vale we never achieve the affordable housing target..." says Conservative Councillor Roger Cox.

There are no school places in Wantage or Grove and putting a pavement along the road will make it VERY narrow as you can see from the photograph. It will not be sustainable without at least these two factors. It's all very well the Council saying that Section 106 money will be forthcoming but if it takes 5 years for the County Council to spend this money (as it did with the pedestrian crossing on Limborough Road) we will have 5 years with no school places and no road improvements.

 

Who Takes Planning Decisions?
The main item on the agenda at the Vale District Planning meeting last week (12 March 2013) was the outline planning application for 85 homes on AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) land on Chain Hill, Wantage.
The application came to the Committee because Wantage Town Council had objected and also 28 letters of objection had been received.
In the discussion prior to the vote, there were two comments which gave me concern.
Firstly, one Councillor stated that because there were no objections from the County Highways even though there were concerns about the width of the road Councillors can't go against this advice.
A Second Councillor also stated that if they turned down a planning application the developer would go to appeal and it would not in the public interest for the Council to let it go to an expensive appeal (although this hasn't stopped them turning down the application for Drayton - which the Herald has told us will go to appeal).
So do Highways and developers take planning decisions, because it's very clear that the Planning Committee doesn't.

The Council has a responsibility to ensure that Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change. The "needs" are difficult to identify - no jobs, no school places etc.

  • The regional allocations for building new homes have been abolished so there is no longer a target set by the Government.
  • The promised jobs are not materialising. 140 additional jobs would be required to make this development sustainable - in fact 100 job losseswere announced at Culham on Monday 11 March 2013.
  • There are no school places available - a new classroom recently opened at Charlton is already full.
  • The traffic survey was carried out on one day (Thursday 21 June 2012) and was a day without any incidents on the A34. This was assumed to be a peak day. This is incorrect. Any closure of the A34 between Abingdon and Newbury has a signficant impact on this road and this should be taken into account.
  • The traffic survey also suggests that there will be less than 50 two way journeys at peak times from this development - this is at odds with the statistics in Paragraph 3.6 of Analysis of travel patternsof people living in new homes built between 2001 and 2007 in the Vale of White Horse which suggests that for houses of this size (2-4 bedrooms) the figures are likely to be nearer 150.
  • There are no bus stops within the usually accepted 400m distance, so car traffic could be higher than that indicated above.

 

According to paragraph 6.3 of the Committee Report However, the council does not currently have a five year supply of housing land, as required by paragraphs 47 - 49 of the NPPF. ... The NPPF makes clear that, where the development plan is absent, silent or the relevant policies are out of date, planning permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts would demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal. The proposed development, therefore, must be considered on its site specific merits and, in particular, whether it constitutes a sustainable form of development as defined in the NPPF.

BUT: Paragraph 47 of the NPPF requires the Local Authority to "meet the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area" - we believe that there is not a objectively assessed need for more housing in Wantage at the moment.

AND: Paragraph 49 of the NPPF requires "Housing applications should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development." This means jobs, schools, drainage, community facilities etc should be available to create a need for housing development - where are the jobs and school places?

 

If the Airfield development isn't built there will be no new Schools, no new Leisure Centre or Community Centre. If it is built, these school places will be two miles from Chain Hill road. The Council keep approving new developments without requiring these things to be built.


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