Development of an existing greenfield site for 31 new affordable homes to include 4 x 1B maisonettes, 18 x 2B4P houses and 9 x 3B5P houses. The homes are to remain affordable in perpetuity under the community land trust mechanism and are to provide homes to people with a local connection to Thame. The masterplan includes on-site parking and shared green spaces for residents and the wider community. The proposed design also includes proposed upgrades to local infrastructure where the Phoenix Trail meets Windmill Road.
Councillor Jo Robb arrived at the meeting after the discussion on this application had commenced, therefore had not heard the whole debate and did not participate in the vote. Local ward councillors David Bretherton and Kate Gregory did not participate in the vote on this application. Councillor Ken Arlett, attending virtually, did not vote on this application.
The committee considered planning application P20/4693/FUL for the development of an existing greenfield site for 31 new affordable homes to include 4 x 1B maisonettes, 18 x 2B4P houses and 9 x 3B5P houses. The homes are to remain affordable in perpetuity under the community land trust mechanism and are to provide homes to people with a local connection to Thame. The masterplan includes on-site parking and shared green spaces for residents and the wider community. The proposed design also includes proposed upgrades to local infrastructure where the Phoenix Trail meets Windmill Road on Land to the West of Windmill Road, Thame.
The planning officer reported an incorrect statement in the report regarding Councillor Kate Gregory; she had not called in the application, the planning officer, under delegated powers, had referred the application to the committee owing to the number of concerns expressed by the public.
Consultations, representations, policy and guidance, and the site’s planning history were detailed in the officer’s report, which formed part of the agenda pack for the meeting.
The planning officer reported that the application was for 31 dwellings, with the express purpose of providing affordable homes for people with a local connection. This type of tenure had been identified through a 2019 housing trust survey. A legal agreement would maintain this type of tenure, an approach which south oxfordshire housing officers had endorsed. The proposed development would be of low density at 24 dwellings per hectare, of high quality and a good proportion of open space. An increased density would have incorporated more flats, which was not considered appropriate by the developer. The site was not located in the green belt.
Car parking was allocated in on-plot cases and off-plot spaces were not allocated. The Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), the highway authority, was satisfied with these arrangements. The design has been subject to a Stage 1 road safety audit, which also made reference to the Phoenix Trail. The audit, coupled with the designer’s response, had been approved by the OCC. The design of the dwellings would be contemporary, with public and private amenity space and play areas. The philosophy implicit in the development was to create a good sense of community. The proposal was in keeping with policy DES 10, which sought to ensure that all new development minimised the carbon and energy impacts of their design and construction, and that the design should improve resilience to the anticipated effects of climate change. The developer’s energy statement demonstrated energy conservation in the design and choice of energy saving building materials, as well as minimising the use of gas in space heating and domestic hot-water heating, as examples.
The planning officer advised the committee that the bulk of concerns from the public had been in respect of the Phoenix Trail and the potential effects of the development upon walkers and cyclists using it. The developer had made considerable efforts in working with SUSTRANS to effect a crossing. The scheme would have a single lane and new signage. The design had passed the road safety audit and the OCC and SUSTRANS had found it satisfactory. The planning g officer displayed to the committee a detailed slide, depicting the proposed crossing, its signage and road markings, and the interface between motor traffic and other road-users, giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists.
Councillor Linda Emery, a representative of Thame Town Council, spoke in support of the application. In response from a question from the committee regarding the model upon which tenure would be offered, Councillor Emery responded that it was envisaged that properties would be offered at 30% lower than the market value.
Mr. Robert Smith, a local resident, spoke objecting to the application.
Ms. Cathy Gaulter-Carter, a local resident, spoke objecting to the application.
Ms. Lisa Meaney, a local resident, spoke objecting to the application.
In response to a question regarding the choice of sites.
Mr. Alex Towler, the architect, spoke in support of the application. Ms. Helen Flitton, a member of the Thame Community Land Trust Board, was present with the architect to answer technical questions. In response to a question from the committee regarding the selection of appropriate sites, Ms. Flitton advised the committee that to her knowledge, the town council had called for suitable sites, but that no location within the built-up area of Thame had resulted; subsequently this was the only suitable site which had been identified.
Councillor Sam Casey-Rerhaye, Cycling Champion, spoke to the application.
Councillor David Bretherton, a local ward councillor, spoke in support of the application.
Councillor Kate Gregory, a local ward councillor, spoke objecting to the application.
In response to a question from the committee, the planning officer advised the committee that it was intended that the vehicular speed, where the road crossed the trail would be reduced to 20mph from 30mph. The OCC would have the final decision on this issue.
Responding to a question from the committee as to whether the proposed development was contrary to the neighbourhood plan, the planning officer reported that application site was not allocated in the made Thame Neighbourhood Plan and that council officers had considered that this proposal met the requirements of policy H10 (‘exception sites and entry level housing schemes’), as it responded to the local need in a way that was not being met elsewhere, providing a mix of affordable rented properties and discount market properties.
The committee noted the proposals for the Phoenix Trail crossing, of which it approved. It considered that this was an application for a much - needed family-centred affordable housing development in a sustainable location, which should be supported.
A motion moved and seconded, to grant planning permission was declared carried on being put to the vote.
RESOLVED: to grant planning permission for application P20/S4693/FUL subject to the following conditions;
A) Completion of S106 a legal agreement to
i) secure the affordable housing and
ii) financial contributions and infrastructure as outlined in the report
B) The following conditions:
1. Commencement within three years
2. Approved plans
3. Levels details of existing and proposed levels
4. Details of lighting, utilities and landscaping
5. Landscaping Scheme
6. Tree Protection
7. Sample materials
8. Energy Statement Verification
9. Refuse & Recycling Storage details required – prior to commencement above slab level
10.Protect hedges during development operations
11.Open Space and Play Areas
12.Construction Environmental Management Plan
13.Biodiversity Enhancement Plan
14 : Biodiversity offsetting
15: Cycle Parking Facilities
16 : Construction Traffic Management Plan
17: Surface water drainage works
18 : Foul drainage works
Prior to occupation
19 : New estate roads
20 : Parking & Manoeuvring Areas
21 : Landscape Management Plan
22 : Tree pits design
23 : Surface Water Drainage
24 : Electric charging point – access for every house to an EVCP
25 : Air Quality mitigation measures
26 : Traffic Survey
26: Traffic Survey (to establish if the crossing of the Phoenix Trail is effective, and implementation of post completion mitigation measures if required)