This topic paper provides a brief summary of the evidence relating to the natural environment and includes consideration for landscape, green infrastructure, biodiversity, ecology, Green Belt and leisure issues.
Vale of White Horse Sustainable Communities Strategy [show detail]
This document recognises the need to manage change in a way that
will protect and enhance the Vale of White Horse’s (Vale) distinctive
natural character. It is anticipated that this will be carried through to the
Local Plan by making sure that new development retains important
local landscape features and makes use of planting and landforms to
help it blend into its surroundings and to enhance biodiversity. The
strategy expects the Local Plan to allow development in rural areas
that directly support commercial land uses such as farming, forestry,
equestrian centres and leisure activities such as golf, in ways that will
maintain or improve the landscape as well as the wider environment.
Another of the priorities is to provide access to good quality green spaces, sport, cultural and leisure facilities. It is required that the Local Plan will make sure that existing green space, sport and recreation facilities are protected and that all new housing developments either provide or contribute to appropriate open space, sport and recreation facilities with firm arrangements in place for their future maintenance.
New development should retain important local landscape features and make use of planting and landforms to help it blend into its surroundings and to enhance biodiversity
Actions to take forward into the Local Plan from previous Consultations [show detail]
The review of comments to the previous consultation stages have identified a number of actions to take forward in to the Vale Local Plan 2029 Part 1. These are:
Natural England stated that AONBs should be provided with the highest level of policy protection, but this didn't apply to Chain Hill.
Woodland was significantly under-represented and the document should include plans for rectification.
Oxfordshire Wildlife and Landscape Study (OWLS) [show detail]
The Oxfordshire Wildlife and Landscape Study (OWLS) was jointly sponsored as a national demonstration project by the county council, Natural England and The Earth Trust. It provides a landscape character assessment and biodiversity appraisal of the County.
This document shows that in landscape terms:
of the two sites to the south of Wantage, Manor Road could accept a moderate level of development; however as a playing field, it presents a buffer between the town and the AONB. Chain Hill is considered to have a low capacity to accept change as it is of similar quality to the adjacent AONB. The site to the north west of Wantage has capacity to accept change closest to the settlement with the rest remaining open.
The site to the north east of Wantage has capacity to accept change; however the most western section should remain open.
To the north of Grove, the sites are considered robust enough to accept large scale development, except for Monk’s Farm, which is considered to have a high sensitivity due to its proximity to listed buildings and because of the historic field patterns.
Chain Hill is considered to have a low capacity to accept change, but the planning committee approved the application.
Monk’s Farm is considered to have a high sensitivity due to its proximity to listed buildings and because of the historic field patterns, but the planning committee approved the application.
Wildlife and Conservation Designations [show detail]
Within the district there are the following wildlife and conservation designations:
Development that harms locally designated sites will not be allowed unless the reason for the development clearly outweighs the harm.
Conservation Target Areas [show detail]
Under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, the
Secretary of State has to produce lists of the species and habitats
which are most important for conserving biodiversity. This list is based
on the national Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) and is formally published
A local BAP has been produced by Oxfordshire County Council, to which all of the Oxfordshire Local Authorities have signed up and are being taken forward mainly within the Oxfordshire Conservation Target Areas (CTA).
The CTAs within the Vale are:
None near Wantage and Grove
Draft Leisure and Sports Facilities Strategy 2013 – 2029 [show detail]
The Leisure and Sports Facilities Strategy has been prepared to ensure the effective delivery of leisure services across the district in relation to:
This Document will be used to justify any necessary contributions to sport and leisure infrastructure.