Outline planning application, with all matters reserved for subsequent approval except details of vehicular access, for demolition of all existing structures and redevelopment of the site with up to 500 dwellings and associated works.
The committee considered outline application P17/S4254/O for the demolition of all existing structures on the Oxford Brookes University site, Waterperry Road, Holton and redevelopment with up to 500 dwellings and associated works, with all matters reserved except details of vehicular access.
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 this meeting.
· Town and Country Planning (England) Direction 2009 requires local planning authorities in England to consult the Secretary of State before granting planning permission for certain types of development. Because the proposal exceeds 1000sqm of floorspace in the Green Belt, if the application were to be approved, it would need to be referred to the National Casework unit first, who will consider whether the Secretary of State’s intervention is needed.
· Additional consultation responses had been received from the following:
o Urban Design Officer: The revised plans address previous concerns.
o Conservation Officer: The proposal is an improvement on the previous scheme, but there will still be a considerable compromise to the historic relationship of Holton Park with its former deer park. The level of harm would be ‘less than substantial’. A planning judgement is needed to assess whether the heritage and public benefits clearly outweigh the harm.
o Housing Development Officer: The scheme meets the criteria for a slight reduction in affordable housing through the Vacant Building Credit route. This has been agreed at 34.57%, with a split between 75% Affordable Rent and 25% Shared Ownership. The development would provide 172 affordable units on-site, and a commuted sum of 0.85 of a unit.
Allan East, a representative of Holton Parish Council, spoke objecting to the application.
Doug Lamont, a representative of Wheatley Parish Council, spoke objecting to the application.
Michael Blowfield spoke objecting to the application.
Robert Gardner, the applicant’s agent, spoke in support of the application.
John Walsh, the local ward councillor, spoke objecting to the application.
In response to questions raised by the committee, the officers reported that:
· The application is for outline permission for up to 500 dwellings and CIL would be payable, the figure of which would be finalised at a later stage.
· Oxfordshire County Council Highways have withdrawn their objections as the required mitigations concerning connectivity have now been secured.
Committee members expressed concerns regarding the following:
· the encroachment of proposed built form to the west of the site having an impact on the openness of the green belt;
· the number of properties proposed being higher than that which is proposed in the emerging neighbourhood development plan;
· the impact on the setting of the adjacent historic asset, Holton Park; and
· issues with connectivity into Holton.
A motion, moved and seconded, to refuse the application was declared carried on being put to the vote.
RESOLVED: to refuse outline planning permission for application P17/S4254/O for the following reasons:
1. The residential development would extend beyond the predominantly developed limits of the campus onto the western area of the site, which is currently undeveloped land in the Green Belt. The encroachment of development into this area would significantly harm the openness and visual amenity of the Green Belt, and result in loss of undeveloped land which contributes positively to the open character of the site and wider setting within the Green Belt. There are insufficient public benefits provided by the development to amount to very special circumstances for development in the Green Belt. The development therefore conflicts with paragraph 145 of the NPPF, policy CSEN2 of the South Oxfordshire Core Strategy 2027 (Adopted 2012) and saved policy GB4 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan (2011).
2. By reason of the encroachment onto the western, undeveloped area of the site, the development would significantly compromise the historic relationship of Holton Park with its former deer park, and erode the understanding of the open setting and rural context of the Scheduled Monument and therefore conflicts with paragraphs 193 and 196 of the NPPF (July 2018), policy CSEN3 of the South Oxfordshire Core Strategy 2027 (Adopted 2012) and saved policies CON5 and CON15 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan (2011).
3. In light of the lengthy walking distances between the development site and facilities in Wheatley, and the poor connectivity with Holton, the development would represent a detached and poorly integrated neighbourhood where future occupants would be highly reliant on private transport. The mitigation, in the form of pedestrian and cycle link improvements, would be insufficient to reduce distances to the extent that they would become attractive alternatives to private transport. It therefore conflicts with paragraphs 92, 102, 108 and 110 of the NPPF (July 2018), policies CS1, CSS1, CSM1 and CSM2 of the South Oxfordshire Core Strategy and saved policies T1, T2, T7 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan (2011), and Policy 17 of the Local Transport Plan 4 (2015 - 2030).
4. In the absence of a completed Section 106 legal agreement, the proposal fails to secure infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of the development. As such, the development would be contrary to the NPPF, policies CSI1 and CSM2 of the South Oxfordshire Core Strategy and policies R2, R6 and T1 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2011.
5. In the absence of a completed Section 106 legal agreement, the proposal fails to secure affordable housing to meet the needs of the District. As such, the development would be contrary to the NPPF and policy CSH3 of the South Oxfordshire Core Strategy.