The UK has a shortage of new homes, which is pushing up the cost of housing for everyone. It is up to each local council in this country to objectively assess its own housing need and work out where houses should go in a fair and reasoned manner. At the moment, West Oxfordshire District Council have not identified enough sites for new homes to meet the local need for housing.
Identifying suitable locations for development is obviously a difficult task, as there are a number of factors that should be considered when determining the location of new homes, such as the availability of community infrastructure, impact on the Green Belt, capacity of the local road network and the impact on the livelihood of near neighbours. On this basis, your elected members have suggested that Woodstock, Eynsham and Long Hanborough would be suitable and sustainable locations to help to meet the identified need. We’re aware that other developments in Long Hanborough have recently been granted planning permission, including land opposite the site entrance in Church Road. We will be carrying out detailed assessments regarding the sustainability of development in the village which take into account the additional homes which will be built on these sites.
We think that new homes of the right type, designed in a sympathetic and considered way, can bring value to existing communities, making existing community facilities and infrastructure more sustainable and bringing vitality to the local economy.
We believe that this former quarry site is an ideal location to help meet the identified need in West Oxfordshire, close to good rail, bus and road links. We feel that 94 homes is the right number of homes for this site.
The site is close to Hanborough Railway Station and with a good local bus service. There are also good cycle and pedestrian routes to the site, and development on the site could provide additional links into this network. Furthermore, the site is at a lower level to the surrounding dwellings because of its former use as a gravel quarry, meaning that the visual impact of new homes on local residents would be minimal.
The site also enjoys a number of facilities close by, including sports pitches, the Village Hall and Pavilion, the Bowls Club, supermarket, Hanborough Manor Primary School and walking routes which are enjoyed by residents of the whole area.
Developing this previously used land avoids the use of prime agricultural land to help meet the overall housing need identified by your elected representatives on West Oxfordshire Council. In addition, it would mean that the entire local community could benefit from new walking routes across the site, new publicly accessible open space and the enhancement of the designated ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’.
The site does not form part of the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and does not affect the status of any listed buildings or scheduled ancient monuments.
A 'Site of Special Scientific Interest' or 'SSSI' is an area designated for conservation due to its natural or scientific importance. The SSSI which lies around the edge of this site was given this designation because the geological strata of the ground was uncovered by the historic quarrying that took place on the site. This is one of the last places in the area where these particular geological strata are exposed.
The proposals to develop the site would mean that a plan for the long term preservation and management of the SSSI is put in place in conjunction with Natural England. The current plans by Cantay Estates include viewing points which would allow the wider public the opportunity to view, study and learn more about this important local site.
As part of our planning application that we are preparing to submit to West Oxfordshire District Council, we are required to demonstrate that the site is not at risk of flooding and that building on this site would not create additional flood risk nearby or elsewhere.
We are currently carrying out a Flood Risk Assessment, which will be included with the planning application, and this will set out any measures necessary to mitigate any risk, such as drainage systems, balancing ponds or soakaways.
Early stage findings suggest that there is no risk to the site, nor is it likely that the proposed development will cause additional flood risk. However, we will publish the full findings when the assessment is concluded.
It is firmly in our interest to ensure that the new homes proposed on this site enjoy good local schools and community facilities, because they add value. We’re also a local company that want to create a great development and a lasting legacy for the local area.
We fully appreciate that the capacity of Hanborough Manor C of E School has been identified as an issue. Land for the extension of the school has now been identified and development of this site would enable a significant financial contribution to help facilitate these improvements. Cantay Estates will continue to look at ways in which it can help make these happen.
The site currently does not play any significant role for existing local ecological habitats. We are currently carrying out surveys of the wildlife on the site and preliminary reports indicate that development here will not cause any harm.
We’re proposing to add in new areas of woodland around the periphery of the site as well as new green spaces throughout the site. These areas will actually create new habitats and migration routes for existing local species, meaning there will be a net gain from the development.
The site is well connected to the local public transport network, including Hanborough Railway Station, a good local bus service and a network of pedestrian and cycle paths. We are proposing a simple ‘T’ junction on Church Road for motorists to access the site, which our studies show will be safe and not cause additional congestion on Church Road.
As part of the planning application, Cantay Estates will be required to demonstrate that the traffic resulting from the proposed new homes will not have a detrimental impact on the local road network. We are in the process of carrying out a full transport assessment which will accompany any planning application. This will take account of both existing traffic and expected traffic generated by the sites in Long Hanborough which have recently been granted planning permission.
We will also prepare a Travel Plan, to be submitted with the planning application, which will set out alternative methods to private car travel for new residents on site.
Alongside our recent public consultation exercise, we have been carrying out a number of technical studies which will help us to refine our proposal and demonstrate to West Oxfordshire District Council elected members that it will not have a negative impact on the local area.
Once these studies have concluded and we have considered the feedback from the local community, we will revise our plans and submit them in the form of an outline planning application later this year. The term ‘outline’ means that detailed design matters will be determined at a later stage as part of further ‘reserved matters’ planning applications, and you will have a chance to comment on detailed plans at that stage.
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