Current Status of the ‘Hands Off Hanborough’ Campaign
Update 1 (4 August 2014)
This is Update 1 of what is happening with the Hands Off Hanborough campaign. An Interim Committee of residents from the Hanboroughs has been formed who are trying to coordinate responses to the planning proposals. It’s mandate is:
To counter the planning proposals, should they be progressed in the scale and locations currently suggested.
It is not the intention of the committee to be NIMBYs but rather to prevent developments in the Hanboroughs and at the boundary of Freeland, that are not proportionate or sustainable.
An outline planning application was submitted on 27 July 2014 by Savills to West Oxfordshire District Council for a 68 dwelling development on the east side of Church Road, in the field immediately to the south of the last house on the way to Church Hanborough. Details are available on the WODC website.
Blenheim Palace Estates
We are all aware of a much larger plan for 362 dwellings, to the west of Long Hanborough, on land owned by Blenheim Palace. The development would be led by Pye Homes and details are available here. A formal planning application has not yet been made.
A major factor in the proposals brought forward by Pye on behalf of Blenheim Palace is that the proceeds of the sale of the land, which is currently part of the Blenheim Estate, will go directly towards the upkeep of the Blenheim Palace World Heritage Site. Our first concern however, has to be the sustainability of our village and community, and not the sustainability of Blenheim Palace as a World Heritage Site.
WODC Local Plan
WODC clearly state as part of their Local Plan, “A strong message received throughout is that this part of the country is a special place which is highly valued by the people who live here and which must not be eroded by decisions to accommodate inappropriate future development or other change. A key challenge for the plan is to deliver the new development needed to support economic growth in a way that does compromise the quality of life and the environment enjoyed by those who live and work in the District – in other words to achieve ‘sustainable development’.” We do not consider these proposals reflect this in anyway.
This is the definition of ‘sustainable development’ from the draft NPPF.
“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is central to the economic, environmental and social success of the country and is the core principle underpinning planning. Simply stated, the principle recognises the importance of ensuring that all people should be able to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life, both now and in the future”.
A note about the affordable homes plan within the proposals; We (HAG) are dismayed that although 50% of the housing is designated as ‘affordable’ this does not mean that it is going to be affordable for local people, or be the type of housing that local people are interested in. The 50% designation will be comprised of shared ownership (which we understand is not an attractive or desirable option to many), social housing and rental properties. It does not appear from the information we have received from Hanborough residents that there will be an opportunity for local people to buy a reasonably priced home without being tied into a shared ownership scheme.
Current HAG Activities
The following communications routes have been opened to residents and in the case of the webpage, to members of the public to keep in touch with our activities and progress. There is a:
- This website.
- A Facebook group called Protect Hanborough Villages, where you can see announcements and discussions. This is a closed Facebook group so you need to request to join it if you have not already done so.
- An email discussion forum, email@example.com, intended to enable discussion(s) of matters relating to the Hanborough Action Group campaign. It is anticipated that this email group will make group discussions and sharing of ideas as simple as possible.
- A general contact email address firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know of residents who wish to join the hag-discuss email group, they can do so by emailing their name, address and phone numbers to the getintouch address.
You can help too – If you know of people in your vicinity who are not on our email list, or don’t use the internet, please help to spread the message by printing the attached file giving them a copy. Thank you.
A lot of time and effort is currently being spent reading the extensive documentation that has been provided as part of the Church Road planning application, to identifying misleading or incorrect information and to help preparing the committee for what it should do next.
A meeting has been arranged with our District Councillor, Toby Morris who is on the WODC Uplands Planning Sub-committee (this is the committee that make decisions on planning applications for Hanborough). The meeting with Toby Morris has some limitations as Mr Morris can only listen to the views of the Hanborough Action Group (HAG), he is not allowed to comment at this stage, as this would constitute prejudging the issue before all the evidence is available. This would disqualify him from voting at the Uplands Planning Sub-committee meeting.
We are liaising with the Hanborough Parish Council, to seek their support.
Initial discussions have taken place with a firm of professional Planning Consultants. This may result in a measure of professional guidance and other direct help being available to the HAG. This has a cost implication and the Parish Council has been contacted to ask if they can assist.
Consultations with the Schools and Eynsham Medical Group are being planned. These are two critical village facilities that will be significantly affected by the proposed developments.
The Woodlands Trust and CPRE Oxfordshire have been contacted for their opinion on the development proposals. Both these organisations have concerns about the impact of intensive housing development on rural communities and the natural environments they are located in.
The proposed developments will cause a significant increase in traffic on the A4095 and through Church Road, on to Church Hanborough. A Traffic sub-group has been formed to provide as much information as possible on this issue. The developments are likely to result in an additional 2000 – 3000 additional journeys a day (if delivery and other vehicles are added to cars in domestic use), using the A4095, A44 and A40. The increase will have a particularly negative impact on local users of the A4095 – especially at peak times since so many drivers use the A4095 to avoid the heavily congested A40.
A letter writing campaign is being planned. One of the outcomes of the study of the planning documents and any input that may come from planning professionals will be the detailed information to be used in letters of objection to be sent to councillors and the council. When these have been drafted, they will be posted on all our communication channels.
In the long term we are working towards a Community Lead Plan and a Neighbourhood Plan which will identify the areas the village that residents believe are suitable for development. This could include filling gaps in the village and small housing developments that fit local needs. We need your opinion – what do you think Hanborough needs? We hope to conduct a survey of village residents and other constituencies in Hanborough to gain a clear understanding of the full range of views held in the village and to help us engage with as many residents and village constituencies as possible. Everyone is encouraged to ‘spread the word’ to inform their friends and neighbours about how they can keep in touch with developments and to offer their opinion about what is needed.
For your information… What Is Taken Into Account When Making A Decision On a Planning Application?
Source – The London Borough of Sutton website. This information applies nationally.
The Council cannot refuse or approve a proposal simply because many people oppose or support it. Planning applications must be assessed against the Local Development Framework (LDF) and any other relevant Development Plans and Policies, unless other considerations indicate otherwise. The weight that can be given to other considerations will depend on the circumstances of each case.
Other things, referred to as “material considerations”, that the Council can consider may include:
- Undue loss of privacy or overlooking;
- Loss of sunlight/daylight;
- Effect on trees;
- Access or traffic problems;
- Need for car parking;
- Unacceptable or incompatible use;
- Excessive height or bulk of building
- Inappropriate design/layout;
- Inadequate landscaping/means of enclosure.
The following are examples of commonly expressed concerns which the Council cannot consider:
- Disputes over boundaries;
- Restrictive covenants, including ancient and other rights to light;
- Loss of value;
- Inconvenience or other problems caused by building works;
- Opposition to business competition;
- Opposition to the principle of development when outline permission has already been granted for the same type of development;
- Matters dealt with by other legislation for example building control
If Enough People Object Will the Application Be Refused?
Not necessarily. Planning applications can only be refused on valid planning reasons. The number of objectors may indicate the strength of local feeling, but that in itself, may not be sufficient to result in a refusal. A single objection based on relevant planning matters can be effective, whereas a hundred irrelevant objections may carry no weight at all.