Community - Development Watch

Planning Update: 5 October 2020

  1. White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’

The Government is proposing the greatest shake-up of planning laws in over 70 years. The present planning control system would be replaced by a zoning system, with three types of zone: growth areas, renewal areas and protected areas.

Growth areas would be deemed to have outline planning permission. There would be a presumption in favour of development in renewal areas. Current planning permission procedures, with the ability for the public to comment on individual planning applications, would be retained only in the case of protected areas, such as conservation areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Zones will be determined by local planning authorities (e.g. Cherwell District Council) through a streamlined local plan process with limited community engagement (just one six-week consultation).

It seems that neighbourhood plans are to be retained but may be limited to dealing with design matters.

It is to be expected that Deddington (apart from the Conservation Area), Clifton and Hempton would be designated as a renewal area ‘suitable for development’, with the risk of unconstrained housing development around the village edges.

The link to the Government white paper is:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future

The consultation runs until 29 October. Draft legislation is to be tabled later in the year and considered during the 2020–2021 parliamentary session. In the meantime there is a lot of uncertainty.

The proposals have been described as an assault on local democracy and the principle of ‘localism’. Local people would in large measure lose the ability to have a say over the quantity and quality of development and to hold their locally elected representatives to account.

  1. Proposed new method of calculating housing numbers

The Government is also proposing changes to the way local housing need is to be calculated in future.

Allocations to local authorities are to be based not on where future growth might be best located, or where need is greatest, but on relative house prices. The higher local house prices, the more houses you will have to build. Housing numbers will be imposed top-down by the Government on local authorities using a controversial algorithm.

The net result would be that rural areas will be required to build significantly more houses, while urban areas will be given reduced allocations. This has already attracted a lot of adverse comment as reported in the media.

It has been calculated that the housebuilding allocation for Cherwell District under the new algorithm would rise from 756 houses a year to 1,305 new houses a year, an increase of 549 (72.6%).

The link to the Government proposals is:

https://mcusercontent.com/fed48c5989cc48aae4f99e321/files/f9312a48-564e-43be-bb6d-4ed2e2960384/200805_Changes_to_the_current_planning_system_FINAL_version.pdf

  1. ‘Have your Say’

If you feel that the proposed Government planning reforms would significantly undermine local democracy, result in over-development and risk spoiling the countryside, please write with your concerns to our MP, Victoria Prentis, at victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk

The key issues that you may wish to mention are:

  • the imposition of unrealistic and unacceptable top-down housing numbers;
  • the loss of local democracy and ability to comment on individual planning applications;
  • threat to the countryside, green spaces and key views;
  • impact of over-development on all types of infrastructure (e.g. traffic, schools, drainage, Market Place parking).

 

Planning Update: 4 October 2020

 

  1. Cherwell Local Plan Part 1 Review: Meeting Oxford’s unmet housing need

Following a public examination by the Planning Inspectorate, this has now been adopted by Cherwell District Council. All the other Oxfordshire local authorities have been required to accommodate a share of Oxford’s projected future housing needs which it says cannot be accommodated within Oxford City’s boundaries.

Cherwell’s share is 4,400 new homes, which are to be built on Green Belt land in the south of the district on sites north of Oxford and around Kidlington, Begbroke and Yarnton.

  1. Cherwell Local Plan Review 2040

Cherwell District Council has commenced a three-year process to review the policies in the current Local Plan which expires in 2031. This will also supersede previous plans to produce a Cherwell Local Plan 2011–2031 Part 2.

There has recently been a high-level ‘issues’ consultation and a Call for Sites with development potential.

The relationship between the Cherwell Local Plan review process and the Government’s proposed planning reforms, which would introduce a zoning system, is unclear. The district housing target would also be set by a new Government algorithm. The CDC link is:

https://www.cherwell.gov.uk/info/83/local-plans/729/local-plan-review-2040—planning-for-cherwell-to-2040

  1. Stonepits phase 2 planning application

An outline planning application has been submitted to Cherwell District Council for permission to build a further 14 houses on this site north of Hempton Road and west of Wimborn Close (CDC ref. 20/02083/OUT):

https://planningregister.cherwell.gov.uk/Planning/Display/20/02083/OUT

Outline permission has previously been granted for 21 houses fronting Hempton Road (phase 1).

 

Planning Update 18 September 2017 – Potential development sites in the Parish

In July 2015 Cherwell District Council adopted a new 20-year strategic plan (Local Plan Part 1 2011–31) providing for the building of 21,734 new homes between 2014 and 2031. Subsequently, CDC has been working on two further plans:

– a Partial Review of Local Plan Part 1 dealing with Cherwell’s contribution to Oxford’s unmet housing needs; and

– Local Plan Part 2, which will focus on non-strategic site allocations for new housing and development management policies.

CDC is currently consulting on how best to accommodate the Oxford overspill. It has put forward plans to build an additional 4,400 houses on sites north of Oxford and around Kidlington, Begbroke, Yarnton and Woodstock.

Work on preparing Local Plan Part 2 has consequently been delayed, but Cherwell has recently published a Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) which assesses the potential for sustainable development of some 290 sites across the District which have been put forward in response to ‘calls for sites’ to landowners and developers.

Under Local Plan Part 1 the 24 larger villages in the District, including Deddington, are to accommodate an additional 750 homes (on sites of 10 or more) between 2014 and 2031. These are to be allocated under Local Plan Part 2. Because of planning permissions granted in the meantime, it is understood that fewer than 150 remain to be allocated. Deddington Grange (School Ground) does not count towards the 750 since the planning permission dates from 2013.

Nine sites have been put forward around Deddington and one each in Clifton and Hempton. The sites assessed by the HELAA are:

  • 114 Home Farm, Clifton 4.35 acres
  • 116 Land north of Wimborn Close 4.62 acres
  • 117 The Poplars, Clifton Road 4.13 acres
  • 118 Western end of Pond Field, Earls Lane 5.24 acres
  • 119 Land to the north of Clifton Road 8.2 acres
  • 120 Land to the west of Banbury Road (north of Deddington Grange) 18.21 acres
  • 121 Land between Chapman’s Lane and Oxford Road 8.23 acres
  • 122 Land off Hempton Road 3.88 acres
  • 123 Land east of Banbury Road and north of Fire Station 5.1 acres
  • 124 Part of Gas House field, Earls Lane 7.73 acres
  • 137 Land west of Hempton 5.54 acres

A copy of the HELAA may be found here.
Next, click on the second link to ‘PR79 Final 2018 HELAA with Appendices (excl. App. 5)’.
Summaries of the site assessments may be found in App. 4 to this document (beginning on p. 81).
A map showing the nine sites around Dedddington may be found on p. 150 of this document.
For individual site plans, including Clifton and Hempton, please click on the fourth link to ‘PR79 Appendix 5 – HELAA076-HELAA158’ .

The HELAA identifies two sites adjoining the built-up limits of Deddington as potentially suitable for development, 3.88 acres on the west side of Wimborn Close opposite the entrance to the Windmill Centre (No. 122) and 5.1 acres east of the Banbury Road and north of the Fire Station (No. 123), although the latter submission related to developing one acre at the southern end of the field.

Where only part of a field has been proposed for development by a landowner or developer, the HELAA methodology is to treat the whole field as having been put forward for development. Sites 117, 118, 121 and 124 were also submitted for materially smaller areas than are assessed by the HELAA.

The HELAA assesses the suitability of the two above-mentioned sites 122 and 123 on the basis of 20 dwellings per hectare (d.p.h.), although the minimum density prescribed by the Local Plan is normally at least 30 d.p.h. (12 dwellings per acre). The reality is that as at Deddington Grange (School Ground), builders may be expected to push for the maximum achievable density.

The HELAA is a source of evidence to inform plan‐making. It does not determine whether a site should be allocated for future development. This is a matter for Local Plan Part 2 when it appears.

Nor does it mean that those landowners or developers promoting sites which have not been assessed as being potentially suitable to be allocated for development will be deterred from submitting planning applications.

The 11 sites assessed by the HELAA total 75 acres, enough for 600 houses at 20 d.p.h. and 900 at 30 d.p.h. This does not take account of any plans the Prudential may harbour for Grove Fields (20.5 acres), which could accommodate 165 homes at 20 d.p.h. and 250 at 30 d.p.h.

Hopefully the Neighbourhood Plan in the course of preparation will offer a degree of control over future development.

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Earlier Reports

Reports on the School Ground, Poplars, St Thomas Street and general planning covering the years 2012 to 2017 can be found here