Sue Cooper

Andrea Powell



Avant Homes Ltd



Land to the south of Newnham Manor, Crowmarsh Gifford



Hybrid planning application for the erection of 100 new residential dwellings including new access road off the A4074, public open space (full application) and the provision of school land (outline application) at Newnham Manor, Crowmarsh Gifford (as amended by plans submitted 26 November 2019, 18 December 2019, 14 January 2020 and 18 May 2020 and revised Arboricultural Assessment received 5 May 2020 and as amended by plans and information received 30 April 2021).




Amanda Rendell






This application has been referred back to Planning Committee at the discretion of the Development Manager due to amendments and material changes to policy since 16 January 2018 when the Planning Committee previously resolved to approve subject to conditions and completion of a s106 legal agreement. The permission and s106 legal agreement were not progressed due to further consideration of the proposed highways works arising from the s278 process which altered the planning application details.  



Since that resolution and further to discussions with the Highways Authority, the scheme has been amended to address highway concerns relating to the proposed means of access and there have been several changes which are material to the consideration of the application which are detailed below and will be addressed in more detail in the relevant sections of the report.



The report will also provide an update on various matters in light of the adopted South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035, including consideration of policies DES10, EMP3 and EMP13 and will review the exceptional circumstances case for development in the AONB.



This is a hybrid planning application seeking full planning permission for the development of 100 residential dwellings, with associated infrastructure and outline planning permission for school land to incorporate a school car park and outdoor play and sports facilities.





The site is identified on the Ordnance Survey Extract attached at Appendix 1. The site is located on the edge of Crowmarsh Gifford within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It measures approximately 8.3ha in area and is largely flat. The site can be divided into two sections according to its character.


The western section of the site contains 56 caravan pitches covering approximately 2.1ha, which comprises Newnham Manor Caravan Park (30 pitches), Newnham Murren Caravan Park (16 pitches), Newnham Manor Caravan Club (5 pitches) and Newnham Manor Caravan Camping Club (5 pitches). At the west accessed from the Old Reading Road, the site also comprises a number of small commercial business units at the Pheasantry which is divided into two sections: MS Truck Ltd who occupy the commercial buildings on a temporary commercial occupational lease; and an open storage area with two buildings which are currently vacant and have planning permission for residential development over the entire site. Both commercial areas cover approximately 0.52ha.



This part of the site is made up of several ‘compartments’ created by hedgerows and tree belts some of which are protected by Tree Preservation Orders (though the trees to the east are not within the site boundary). There are other protected trees dotted around the site.



The Old Reading Road which runs along the western boundary of the site, is residential in character at its northern end where it serves several dwellings and the Crowmarsh Gifford Church of England Primary School. Further down the lane there is a close boarded fence with tall tree and hedgerow behind bordering the site.



The eastern section of the site is much more open in character and is used for agricultural purposes. There is a belt of conifer trees separating this section into two.



To the north west of the site is Meadow Lane, a short, narrow line just beyond the boundary vegetation.  Residential development, including Newnham House, a Grade II listed manor house, and its associated garden lies to the north of the site and this boundary is marked by trees and hedgerows. These dwellings are set back from The Street, the main road running through Crowmarsh Gifford towards Wallingford. To the east of the site is Port Way A4074, the main by-pass road around Wallingford. It is a wide single-carriageway road which changes from a 40mph speed limit to 30mph speed limit alongside the site boundary. On the opposite side of the road is Cox’s Lane, which serves around 100 dwellings. The boundary between the site and the A4074 is a high hedgerow. The only break in this hedgerow is for site access to Lister Wilder and then another small commercial estate to the south.



Crowmarsh Gifford Church of England School to the west of the site was opened in 1969 and was built to provide primary school education for 100 children, however as of September 2019, there were 202 pupils on the school roll (its total capacity is 210). It employs 28 full-time (teaching) staff and eight part-time (non-teaching) staff.



The catchment area includes Crowmarsh Gifford and North Stoke but the school admits pupils from Wallingford and the surrounding area. A school bus service serves the surrounding area and includes a twice daily service to/from North Stoke and Mongewell.



The school site also comprises Crowmarsh pre-school which has a capacity of 23 children. The Pre-School operates a Forest School, and this is located within the allotments located off Thames Mead (in Crowmarsh Gifford); this is on land donated by Owen and Emery Charity. Forest School is accessed on-foot (via public footpaths) with staff guiding children through Thames Mead housing estate; this takes approximately 15-minutes.



There are no heritage designations within the application site, however it forms part of the wider curtilage of Newnham Murren, a grade II Listed C18 manor house. The main entrance elevation looks to the west with the garden elevation facing south over the existing garden and application site.





This application seeks full planning permission for 100 new dwellings with associated access road and open space, and outline planning permission for land for use by Crowmarsh Gifford C of E Primary School, full details of which are set out under paragraph 3.6 below. The proposed layout is shown in figure 1 below and attached at Appendix 2:





























*      Figure 1: Proposed Site Layout














The development proposes 60 market and 40 affordable homes comprising a mix of 2, 3 and 4 bed terraced, semi-detached and detached houses with supported infrastructure, individual private gardens, and on-plot parking spaces. The following housing mix is proposed:



1 bed

2 bed

3 bed

4 bed +


Market Homes






Affordable Homes



























Of the affordable units, the following tenure split is proposed:



1 bed/2p flat

2 bed/4p flat

2 bed/4p house

3 bed/5p house

Affordable rented






Shared Ownership





























A new access to the site will be created off the A4074 Port Way, which involves remodelling the Port Way itself and proposes:


·         Left turn only out of the development site into the A4074 Portway

·         Proposed staggered ‘traffic light-controlled’ toucan crossing away from the development site/Cox’s Lane staggered junction on the A4074 Portway

·         Extension of the existing central reservation south of Portway roundabout on the A4074 Portway

·         Existing bus stop and associated cage on the A4074 Portway relocated further south on the southbound carriageway

·         Existing ghost island length on the A4074 Portway reduced in length as a consequence of the extension of the 30mph limit; and

·         Provision of a gateway feature at the point of speed limit change.


Appendix 3 and Appendix 4 show further detail. A footpath and cycleway will also be provided through the site onto The Street via the Old Stables residential development.



This application also proposes the gift of 0.39 hectares of land to Crowmarsh Gifford Church of England Primary school. This land is located off the Old Reading Road and currently forms part of the grounds of Newnham Manor, comprising a collection of rural buildings known as ‘The Pheasantry’ and an agricultural field. This area is considered brownfield/previously developed land with access off the Old Reading Road. The field is laid to grass and includes a mix of mature trees/hedges along boundaries.



The gifted school land has the support of the head teacher and governors at the school and are as a result of discussions going back to 2012. It will allow the school to meet Oxfordshire Education Authority’s adopted site area standards for a one form entry school and also provide:


·         Increased outdoor play and sports facilities for the school, pre-school, and local community

·         Forest School

·         A new staff car park and parental drop off area to relieve pressure on the main school site and improve safety of Old Reading Road. The car park will create 18 staff and visitor parking spaces including separate in/out entrance off the Old Reading Road


Appendix 5 indicates how the gifted school land could be arranged.



The development would provide a large area of landscaped open space to the south with a play area, a second play area to the west of the development adjacent to school car park, and a LAP (Local Area of Play) on the eastern side of the development.



The application is accompanied by several technical assessments, some of which have been revised/amended during the application following consultation with statutory and non-statutory consultees, as follows:

·         Landscape and Visual Assessment (LVIA) Addendum

·         Revised Landscaping Details

·         Supplementary Biodiversity Information

·         Revised Drainage Information

·         Road Traffic Noise Assessment

·         Revised Layout

·         Supporting Statement from School

·         Revised Access Plans

·         Environmental Noise and Impact Assessment

·         Updated Air Quality Assessment



All plans and representations can be viewed on the Council’s website under the planning application reference number.






This provides a summary of the techical comments on the most recent iteration of the plans and supporting information. Comments from the public and town/parish Councils summarise all comments made throughout the course of the application.



Comments on latest plans submitted

Crowmarsh Parish Council

No objections. The Parish Council originally objected to the application raising concern over the number of homes proposed for the village; access concerns; and pressure on infrastructure and services. However, as a result of the submission of amended plans, they remain supportive of the development which has been improved significantly over the years through discussions with SODC, OCC, the Chilterns Conservation Board and others. They stress the need for a traffic-light controlled toucan crossing to connect the two parts of the village that are divided by the A4074. This is a prime benefit of this application. The footpath and cycleway through the site into The Street via the Old Stables and footpath link to Old Reading Road is welcomed, which are essential for community connectivity. The changes to the layout and redistribution of affordable around the site are also welcomed. The submission of an energy statement proposing energy saving measures is supported. Finally, the Parish Council would like to explore the ownership and management of the landscaped area to the south of the development. 

Wallingford Town Council

Object. WTC have consistently objected to this application. Original objections centred on: site within an AONB; concerns over traffic generation; concern that sufficient infrastructure was not in place; development was not sustainable and the impact on Wallingford’s Air Quality Management Area. Further to submission of revised plans, concerns were raised over the impact of the new highway layout on traffic, local residents, national cycle route and pedestrians; poor design layout. Revisions to the scheme are not considered to have addressed these concerns.     

Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB)

No objection. In respect of the highways alterations the simplification of the junction on the A4074 Portway looks like an improvement in terms of conserving and enhancing the AONB. Additional landscape details are welcome.

Conservation Officer

No objection subject to conditions regarding additional landscaping and lighting details. Less than substantial harm.

Countryside Officer

No objection subject to conditions regarding ecological mitigation and Biodiversity Enhancement Plan.

Forestry Officer

No objection subject to imposition of planning condition covering detailed tree protection measures.

Health & Housing (Air Quality)

No objection subject to condition regarding EV Charging points, sustainable travel packs, gas fired boilers to be meet a minimum standard, and cycle storage provision.

Health & Housing (Contaminated Land)


No objection subject to the imposition of a contaminated land conditions regarding phased risk assessment and remediation strategy.

Health & Housing (Env Protection)

No objections. Happy with the results of the noise report undertaken in July 2021 and previous noise surveys relating to both road traffic and aircraft noise from RAF Benson. Despite the BS 8233 mentioning that a 5dB reduction can be made in certain
scenarios, I believe that it will be necessary to install glazing with a higher acoustic
performance in the windows facing east on plot numbers 1,2,25,26,27,31,32 and 34.
I would be happy for this criteria to be covered by way of condition.


No objection subject to conditions regarding SUD’s and a foul drainage scheme.


Environment Agency

No objection. The planning application is for development that they do not wish to be consulted on.


Thames Water Development Control

No objection. Request that a Grampian style planning condition be imposed requiring confirmation of all sewage works upgrades required to accommodate the additional flows from the development have been completed; or a development and infrastructure phasing plan has been agreed with the Local Authority in consultation with Thames Water to allow development to be occupied.


Waste Management officer

No objection. Current tracking documentation and bin collection points are acceptable.

Oxfordshire County Council - Highways


No objection. Subject to conditions and S106 agreement.

Oxfordshire County Council-Education

No objection. The Council supports the offer of additional school land.

Oxfordshire County Council-Lead Local Flood Authority

Object-although the LLFA previously indicated that they that no comments to make on the application, they have now expressed queries regarding infiltration values.

SGN Plant Protection Team

No objection. Information is provided on plant networks in the area.

Urban Design Officer

No objection. Overall happy with the changes submitted as part of this amendment. 

Natural England

No objection. The proposed amendments are unlikely to have significantly different impacts on the natural environment than the original proposal.

Landscape Architect


No objections subject to conditions regarding: all planting details and services, open space details, hedge and tree planting, boundary treatment, SUD’s details, details of ply areas, maintenance of planting area, etc.

Crime Prevention Officer

No objections. Advice is provided in respect of crime prevention/community safety and recommend that a condition be imposed regarding secure by design accreditation. 

Crowmarsh Gifford School

No objections. The school have previously indicated their support of the land gift to the school for the following reasons a) it would meet the Education Authorities’ adopted site area standards for a one form entry school and b) it would provide increased outdoor play and sport facilities for the school, pre-school and local community, and c) it would provide a new staff car park and parental drop off which will relieve pressure on the school and improve safety on Old Reading Road. They neither support nor object the proposal for housing.

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group

No objection subject to developer contributions of £395,640.00 towards primary care infrastructure funding.

Energy Saving Consultant

No objection.

Economic Development

Comment that there is insufficient evidence presented for the development to comply with policies EMP3 and EMP13 of the SOLP.


Sixty-Seven letters of objection have been received for this application since it was first submitted raising the following issues:


·         Road speeds along The Port Way are already dangerous.

·         It will be unsafe for pedestrians to cross the road.

·         It is already difficult to pull out safely from Cox Lane, particuarly at peak times

·         Additional traffic will create further delays on The Port Way and an increase in noise and air pollution.

·         The road should be resurfaced so that it is quieter.

·         Impact on Wallingford Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) 

·         Proposed junction is unworkable, a roundabout would be better and it would slow traffic down

·         Have the traffic calculations taken into account the new developmen at CABI and Carmel College?

·         Loss of tree screening along The Port Way, which provides some sound proofing. There is a lack of detailed information about this and no mitigation proposed.

·         Proposals show the road moving closer to Robert Sparrow Gardens, which will increase road noise impact. The road should move into the site rather than towards Robert Sparrow Gardens.

·         The strip between Sheringham House and the A4074 is over a metre narrower than shown in the scheme, which is significant given the strip is 7-10m wide.

·         Houses shouldn’t be built in the AONB. Why isn’t the old Council site being developed instead?

·         Impact on wildlife on the site

·         Services and facilities couldn’t cope with the increase in population, particularly drains, sewers, the school, doctors’ surgery

·         Recognise that we need houses by why here and why this many?

·         Development would contravene the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

·         Expansion of the school will create more traffic.

·         School expansion should occur before the end of the development

·         Impact on 3 Grade II listed buildings nearby.

·         Fibre optic broadband cable should be available for the new residents and those along Cox Lane.

·         The site to the south of the Primary School should be developed instead


Chandlers Farm Equipment (Formerly Lister Wilder)- Express concern regarding the proximity of houses to their boundary, particularly the properties adjacent to the rear of their premises, and the potential for noise complaints arising from activities at the premises.


Crowmarsh Residents Action Group- Object. No response received to the latest revisions. Original objections raised concern regarding: Impact on capacity at Crowmarsh School; Traffic and impact on Wallingford Bridge; Access to Doctors Surgery’s; Access to retain facilities; Lack of job opportunities for newcomers to the village; Impact on Utilities and sustainability of the development.


Pegasus Group-Object to the application on the grounds of sustainability and future growth of Crowmarsh Gifford and the strategy for primary school places against the background of 250 dwellings.





P16/S3868/SCR – EIA not required (12/12/2016)

P16/S1409/PEJ - (01/06/2016) Further pre-application advice to P15/S3171/PEJ (application for up to 100 dwellings). This site has a long planning history, in the main relating to the stationing of caravans on the site. The full planning history can be found on the Council’s website.





This proposal does not exceed 150 dwellings, but the site area is over 5ha.  Consequently, the proposal exceeds the thresholds set in Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011.  The site is also within a ‘sensitive area’ as defined by the EIA regulations and was therefore screened under reference P16/S3868/SCR.  The decision, issued 12 December 2016, was that an Environmental Impact Assessment is not required as the majority of issues are considered to be of local significance only and can be examined through the normal planning process.  



Given the fact that the environmental impacts have not materially changed over the past 3 years, it is not considered that a further screening opinion is required.





Development Plan Policies


South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 (SOLP) Policies:

STRAT1  -  The Overall Strategy

STRAT2  -  South Oxfordshire Housing and Employment Requirements

STRAT5  -  Residential Densities

H1  -  Delivering New Homes

H4  -  Housing in the Larger Villages

H9  -  Affordable Housing

H11  -  Housing Mix

DES1  -  Delivering High Quality Development

DES2  -  Enhancing Local Character

DES3  -  Design and Access Statements

DES4  -  Masterplans for Allocated Sites and Major Development

DES5  -  Outdoor Amenity Space

DES6  -  Residential Amenity

DES7  -  Efficient Use of Resources

DES8  -  Promoting Sustainable Design

DES10  -  Carbon Reduction

ENV1  -  Landscape and Countryside

ENV3  -  Biodiversity

ENV4  -  Watercourses

ENV5  -  Green Infrastructure in New Developments

ENV6  -  Historic Environment

ENV7  -  Listed Buildings

ENV8  -  Conservation Areas

ENV9  -  Archaeology and Scheduled Monuments

ENV11-Pollution- Potential Receptors of Pollution

ENV12 -  Pollution - Impact of Development on Human Health, the Natural Environment and/or Local Amenity (Potential Sources of Pollution)

EP1  -  Air Quality

EP3  -  Waste collection and Recycling

INF1  -  Infrastructure Provision

INF4  -  Water Resources

TRANS2  -  Promoting Sustainable Transport and Accessibility

TRANS4  -  Transport Assessments, Transport Statements and Travel Plans

TRANS5  -  Consideration of Development Proposals



Neighbourhood Plan


Crowmarsh Gifford Neighbourhood Area was formally designated on 1 June 2017 and following a referendum on 2 September 2021, residents voted for the adoption of the Crowmarsh Parish Neighbourhood Plan (CPNP). On 7 October 2021, Cabinet member’s recommendations to adopt the Crowmarsh Neighbourhood Plan was approved. The Crowmarsh Parish Neighbourhood Plan  is now made and will continue to form part of the development plan.



The CPNP does not make any housing allocations and instead, sets out village boundaries and infill development under policy CRP1 within which, proposals for infill development will be supported, relative to their specific settlement hierarchy classifications and requirements, provided they accord with the design and development management policies of the development plan and other policies of the Neighbourhood Plan.


Supplementary Planning Guidance/Documents


South Oxfordshire Design Guide 2016 (SODG 2016)


Developer Contributions SPD



National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance



Other Relevant Legislation


Human Rights Act 1998

The provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 have been taken into account in the processing of the application and the preparation of this report.


Equality Act 2010

In determining this planning application the Council has regard to its equalities obligations including its obligations under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.



Other Material planning considerations


               Chilterns AONB Management Plan 2019-2024

               Chilterns AONB Design Guidance

               Landscape Character Assessment for the Local Plan 2033 November             2017

               Oxfordshire Wildlife and Landscape Study (Oxfordshire County Council,             2004)





The relevant planning considerations are the following:

·         The principle of the development, including

-     Current policy position

-     Housing land supply

-     AONB

·         Matters of details/technical issues, including:

-       landscape impact

-       highways

-       design and layout

-       density, mix and affordable housing

-       heritage impact

-       trees and landscaping

-       noise impact

-       air quality

-       ecology

-       flood risk and surface / foul drainage,

-       neighbour amenity and amenity of future residents,

·         Infrastructure requirements, including:

-       on-site infrastructure to be secured under a legal agreement,

-       contributions pooled under the Community Infrastructure Levy.



Principle of development.


Section 38 (6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Section 70 (2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provides that the local planning authority shall have regard to the provisions of the development plan, so far as material to the application, and to any other material considerations. In the case of South Oxfordshire, this is the South Oxfordshire Local Plan (SOLP) 2035 and the Crowmarsh Neighbourhood Plan.  Development which is not in accordance with an up-to date development plan should be refused unless material considerations indicate otherwise.



Current Policy Position.


Policy H1 of the SOLP states that residential development will be permitted on sites allocated by the Local Plan or allocated by Neighbourhood Development Plans. Development on sites not allocated in the development plan would only be permitted provided it is development within the existing built-up area of larger villages; provided an important open space of public, environmental, historical or ecological value is not lost, nor an important public view harmed. Residential development of previously developed land will be permitted within and adjacent to the existing built-up areas of Larger Villages. Crowmarsh Gifford is classed as a larger village.


Between the committee’s resolution to approve the proposed development on 16 January 2018 and the present time, the Crowmarsh Neighbourhood Plan (CNP) has been produced and is now made, forming part of the Development Plan.



The SOLP in Section 4 on Larger Villages confirms (table 4f) that the housing requirement figure for the Parish has been met through existing completions and commitments at Carmel College (166), CABI (91), Benson Lane (150) and Newnham Manor (100). These sites along with other developments of single houses, infill and change of use to existing buildings take the total up to 571, which exceeds the planned growth target for Crowmarsh Gifford (312). On this basis the Neighbourhood Plan does not make any housing site allocations.  



Policy CRP1 of the Crowmarsh Neighbourhood Plan defines village boundaries and infill development for the area. It states that


Proposals for infill development within the village boundaries will be supported, relative to their specific settlement hierarchy classifications and requirements, provided they accord with the design and development management policies of the development plan and other policies of the Neighbourhood Plan. Proposals for development outside the boundaries will only be supported if they are appropriate to a countryside location and they are consistent with development plan policies”.



The CNP does recognise that this application site at Newnham Manor was the preferred site for development, compared to other sites, due to it being seen as the “logical infill development between the existing built-up area of Crowmarsh Gifford and a new employment use site to the south”….”In addition, the Newnham Manor site is part brownfield”…  



The application site is within this settlement boundary (see Figure 2 below) and has a resolution to grant planning permission in 2018. Paragraph 5.11 of the CNP indicates that acceptable development for this site shall include low density housing, landscaping at the edge of the AONB, Toucan crossing of the A4074, safe route to school, mixed development with 40% affordable dwellings and land to be made available for the primary school on Old Reading Road.



Figure 2: Crowmarsh Neighbourhood Plan Submission Policies Map showing Settlement Boundary.



Housing Land Supply.


In June 2021, the Council issued its latest assessment of the District’s five-year housing land supply position for South Oxfordshire as of 1 April 2021 covering the period until 31 March 2026. Based on a year by year and site by site trajectory of the expected housing supply in the District between this period, the Council can demonstrate a 5.33 year’s supply of housing land. This development would make a small but valuable contribution to the Council’s housing land supply.



AONB Policy.


The site is located wholly within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which are part of a broad belt of chalk upland running across England in an arc from Dorset to Yorkshire. 



Section 85 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW Act) states that a relevant authority in exercising or performing any functions in relation to, or so as to affect land in an area of outstanding natural beauty, shall have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the area of outstanding natural beauty.  This section of the report sets out the planning assessment made in relation to conserving and enhancing the AONB having regard to CRoW Act and the NPPF and development plan policies.



Paragraph 176 of the NPPF requires that great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty of AONB’s. Paragraph 177 goes on to say that:


“when considering applications for development within AONB’s, permission should be refused for major development other than in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated that the development is in the public interest. Consideration of such applications should include an assessment of:


(a) the need for the development, including in terms of any national considerations, and the impact of permitting it, or refusing it, upon the local economy;


(b) the cost of, and scope for, developing outside the designated area, or meeting the need for it in some other way; and


(c) any detrimental effect on the environment, the landscape and recreational opportunities, and the extent to which that could be moderated”.



NPPF Tests – (a) Need for development.


Policy STRAT1 of the SOLP indicates that proposals for new development should be consistent with the overall strategy of the following relevant criteria:

·         supporting and enhancing the roles of the Larger Villages of Crowmarsh Gifford; and

·         protecting and enhancing the countryside and particularly those areas within the two AONB’s by ensuring that outside the towns and villages and change relates to the very specific needs such as those of the agricultural industry or enhancement of the environment.



Policy ENV1 of the SOLP requires the Chilterns AONB to have the highest level of protection, and development would only be permitted in an AONB where it conserves, and where possible enhances the character and natural beauty of the AONB. Major development will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated to be in the public interest.



Policy ENV1 reflects NPPF guidance in providing high priority to the conservation and enhancement of the AONBs. Proposals which support the economies and social wellbeing of the AONBs will be encouraged provided they do not conflict with the aims of conservation and enhancement.


This is not the type of development that would ordinarily be allowed in the AONB. Whilst objections have been raised to the application on grounds of landscape impact and its position within the AONB, consultation with the community as part of the Neighbourhood Plan process showed a preference (62%) for allocating land for housing at Newnham Manor rather than land to the east of Benson Lane. The land at Newnham Manor was seen as logical infill development between the existing built-up area of Crowmarsh Gifford and the new employment use to the south. The site is also part brownfield with 32% of the site being previously developed land.


The minutes from Planning Committee on 16 January 2018 where a resolution to grant permission was made also state the local preference for this proposed site over others in Crowmarsh and the benefits of land being offered for the local primary school.



Exceptional Circumstances.

The catchment area for Crowmarsh School includes Crowmarsh Gifford and North Stoke but the school also attracts significant numbers of non-catchment children who, in due course, could be displaced by in-catchment pupil generation; future non-catchment children who might otherwise have attended Crowmarsh Gifford CE Primary School would be accommodated as a result of the additional school capacity being provided elsewhere in the Wallingford area. It is therefore not proposed at this time to expand Crowmarsh Gifford CE Primary School beyond its current capacity of a 1 form entry school.



However, the adopted County Council’s standard for a 1 form entry school requires a 1.34ha site. The school site is currently only about 0.95ha, which leaves the school constrained for outdoor space. The additional land would bring the school up to the County Council’s adopted site area standard for a 1 form entry school. Should the school ever expand beyond 1 form entry, the additional land would also help support that, with any additional land sought.



Although the school is not currently proposed for expansion, the additional land will be of significant benefit to the school and local community. It would allow for increasing outdoor play and sport facilities. The full details of the layout would be provided by reserved matters application but is capable of providing 0.13ha of sports pitches (rounders/’kwik’ cricket), 0.08ha for Forest School, and a car park for staff and parent drop off.



The CNP identifies that the school is situated on a “small and confined site with no room for further expansion. Parking is a problem during the morning and afternoon arrival and departure of children accompanied by parents”. Current arrangements to park at The Bell Public House have been stopped due to closure of the pub. Therefore, additional pressure is being put on Reading Road, just outside the school.  A new car park would be connected to the main school via a pedestrian crossing, across the Old Reading Road.  Lighting would need be considerate to the AONB location. Once the new car park is opened the current school car park would be used as a children’s hard surface play area. Within the longer term this area could be used to extend the school.



The County Council as Education Authority have confirmed that whilst there are no plans to expand Crowmarsh Gifford CE Primary School beyond its current capacity of 1 form entry school, the additional land would bring the school up to the County Councils adopted site area standard from 0.95ha to 1.34ha.. It would allow for increasing outdoor plan and sport facilities. It would also support a staff car park area and parental drop-off loop to relieve pressure on the main school site and improve safety on the road when children are arriving and leaving.



The amended application also includes relocation of the footpath to Old Reading Road to the south of the gifted school land, which was previously shown to transect through the school land. This is considered necessary for the security and management of the Crowmarsh Gifford CE Primary School.



The transfer of the land to the Oxfordshire Diocesan Board of Education  (ODBE) at nil cost prior to the occupation of any houses in the development is supported by the County Council and will be secured by S106 agreement. The land should be laid out to the specification agreed with the ODBE and governors of Crowmarsh Gifford CE Primary School prior to transfer and conditions will cover the stages of provision and precise details of layout and landscaping.



NPPF Tests- (b) Alternative Sites.

Notwithstanding the inclusion of this site within the housing requirement for Crowmarsh, in terms of assessing alternative sites for housing development, it is important to acknowledge the local constraints. Crowmarsh Gifford is covered by the Chilterns AONB which abuts the North Wessex Downs AONB to the west. To the west lies the flood plain associated with the River Thames. Planning permission was granted on appeal for the development of 150 houses to the north of the village at Benson Lane, under appeal on 29 May 2018 (P16/S3608/O), but no other sites or areas have been identified as  suitable in the CNP.  



Alternative sites outside of the AONB are not located in a suitable location to allow for the expansion of the primary school. Representations have suggested that land to the south may be more appropriate however an earlier planning application for housing development on the site to the south of the school was refused planning permission due to the harmful impact to the AONB (application reference P16/S3665/O). 



NPPF Tests-(c) Impact on environment and mitigation.



Figure 3 below shows the amount of previously developed land that would be included within the redevelopment of the site. The development would involve the removal of the caravan sites, which occupy approximately 2.1ha and employment areas which occupy approximately 0.52ha. It is considered that the caravan parks detract from the AONB (as acknowledged in the Landscape evidence for the Core Strategy). The proposals would incorporate  2.1 ha, of new parkland incorporating wildflower meadow grass, paths and two areas of play which for the residents and wider community which creates landscape, heritage and biodiversity and recreational improvements. The Parish Council have indicated their interest in managing this space in the long term which can be secured in the s106 agreement.




Figure 3-Previously developed land identified in hatching.



The existing village is divided by the A4047, with a pocket of housing to the east of this busy road somewhat separated from the main core of the village.  By extending the built development up to the western side of the A4074, the development has the potential to better integrate this pocket of housing into the village to the benefit of the overall social cohesion of the settlement. This would be facilitated by the provision of the proposed staggered toucan crossing which would connect the site to the wider community and provide a safe crossing point. 



The applicants have worked closely with the Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB) in drawing up proposals for the site, and the CCB now raise no objections to the proposed scheme (as amended) and acknowledge that this is a reasonable site for development, mainly because of its brownfield status, its visual containment and its location opposite the primary school and near the functional centre of the village. They acknowledge that there is a reasonable case to be made that the detrimental effects could be moderated and that there could be some enhancement of the site, providing benefit to the wider AONB designation through the improvement of a degraded landscape and through the removal of inappropriate landscape planting. It would also provide some reconnection of Newnham Manor with its historic parkland setting through the provision of the parkland to the south of the site.



The CCB supported the layout of the scheme that was presented to Planning Committee in 2018, commenting that the scheme was greatly improved and a landscape-led approach has now been taken. Re-shaping the layout, landscaping and materials reduced the impact on views from the higher AONB footpaths to the east. The substantial area of green infrastructure which references the historic parkland of the past was welcomed. Through the submission of additional photomontages from the key viewpoints, they were satisfied that these demonstrate that the development, as amended, is not unduly harmful in terms of impact on AONB views. Whilst further amendments have been made to the layout of the scheme, the CCB have not raised any objections to these changes and welcome the revised landscape plans. 



This site is the most appropriate for delivering the expansion of the school owing to its proximity and its limited landscape harm. The development of the site will also provide some benefit to the wider AONB designation through the improvement of a degraded landscape and through the removal of inappropriate landscape planting. It would also provide some reconnection of Newnham Manor with its historic parkland setting through the provision of the parkland to the south of the site. This parkland will be available for the public and is a significant benefit.



Landscape Impact


A key consideration in terms of the environment is the landscape impact. The site is located in the AONB and therefore great weight should be given to conserving its landscape and scenic beauty. The site was included in the Council’s Landscape Capacity Assessment: Sites on the Edge of the Larger Villages of South Oxfordshire 2015. It was assessed as CRO6, which comprises the caravan park, commercial elements and hardstanding, and CRO7, which comprises the remainder of the site in agricultural use. This assessment found that CRO6 has a medium/high capacity for development from a landscape perspective. CRO7 was further split into two sections with the western part having a medium capacity to accommodate development and the eastern part closest to the A4074 having a medium/low capacity to accommodate development with a suggestion that development be contained in the northern part of the parcel and open space to the south.



The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) submitted with the planning application explains that the site does not meet the ‘special qualities’ of the AONB as defined in the AONB Management Plan. This is due to the use of the site for caravan park and commercial purposes as well as some incongruous landscape planting such as a conifer belt associated with the former Lister Wilder site. It found that the site has quite a high level of visual enclosure and there is very limited visual relationship with the AONB. The principle views into the development would be from the east and south, particularly one viewpoint from the Ridgeway, with limited visibility from the north and west. The Landscape Consultant engaged by the Council to review the LVIA didn’t identify any fundamental omissions with the assessment.



Minor queries raised have been addressed through the submission of additional information, and further details/revisions can be dealt with via planning condition. 



In terms of mitigation, the proposed development will be set back from the southern boundary, so that it largely follows the suggested development area in the Landscape Capacity Assessment. The development on the edge of the built-up area will be of a lower density to soften the built edge of the village as it gradually moves into open countryside. Existing vegetation along the site boundaries will be retained and supplemented by new planting. The coniferous tree belts will be removed and replaced with more native species. 



I am satisfied that the amended scheme has reduced the impact on the special qualities of the AONB to those already affected by adjacent built form. The development itself brings benefits in terms of: provision of additional land for the school for outdoor activities and safer, purpose built car parking; provision of open access amenity space comprising parkland and play areas that could be used by the wider community; and the provision of the toucan crossing which integrates the development with the wider area and makes these areas available to the local community.  





Since the application was previously presented to Planning Committee, the main access serving the development site off the A4074 Portway has been revisited due to concerns by the Highway Authority regarding conflicting movements between vehicles and pedestrians. As a result, amended access details have been developed and agreed setting out the details as described in paragraph 3.4 above.  As a result of these changes, the County Highways Authority have confirmed that they have no objections to the revised scheme subject to appropriate legal agreements, planning conditions and informatives.



The number and size of dwellings proposed would not significantly increase the potential for trip generation.



The Highways Authority have confirmed that they are content with the proposed layout of the car park and welcome it as a feature.



Conditions are recommended to be imposed regarding: new vehicular access; vision splay dimensions; estate accesses, driveways and turning areas; cycle parking facilities; construction arrangements and traffic management; wheel washing facilities; green travel plans; restrictions on garage conversions; drainage; and off-site highways works.



Design and Layout


Since the application was last presented to planning committee, some changes have been made to the proposed layout. Where possible, parking courts have been removed and areas opened up where possible to reduce the opportunity for anti-social behaviour. Following the creation of the footpath link from the development to the north, the layout has been altered to create a further footpath link/landscaped area through the middle of the site. The Councils Urban Design Officer has been involved in these discussions and has confirmed that the changes are acceptable. 



Policy DES1 of the SOLP sets out a number of criteria in order to achieve high quality development, such as using land efficiently whilst respecting the existing landscape character, providing a clear and permeable hierarchy of streets, routes and spaces to create convenient ease of movement by all users, ensure that streets and spaces have positive relationships with their surroundings, and provide a wide range of housing type and tenures. Policy DES2 requires development proposals to take into account local context, including local character and existing features.



The same principles apply to the design of the scheme and the layout is still driven by the need to locate the higher density development in the northern part of the site, closest to the existing village, and lower density in the southern part, to soften the village edge.



The slightly revised scheme still proposes a substantial parkland located to the south of the site that will contain two play areas, formal footpaths, infiltration basins and landscape planting. The purpose of the parkland is to provide some green space for the development, to recreate the historic parkland of Newnham Manor and to provide a buffer between the edge of the village and the AONB. This exceeds the amount of open space required for a development of this size.



There is an area of green space proposed on the western side of the development adjacent to the land to be gifted to the school. This will incorporate existing landscaping on the site and will include a play area, which is suitable adjacent to the school. The landscape buffer along the northern boundary with Newnham Manor is an important feature of the development, helping to mitigate the impact of the development on the Manor.



Appropriate provision has been made for bin storage and for refuse collection.



In terms of the detailed appearance of the houses, this has been carefully considered with input from the AONB Board. The dwellings will all be two storey and of vernacular appearance. Corner dwellings generally turn the corner with windows on front and side elevations. Boundaries facing onto public areas are to be brick rather than close boarded fence, which will vastly improve the street scene and create more consistency in the built form. Construction materials will generally consist of facing brick (to be confirmed), dark stained horizontal timber cladding on garages and some facades, and knapped flint set within lime mortar bed. Roof tiles are likely to be grey slate or red-brown clay tiles. The proposed materials plan is attached as Appendix 6.



With regard to density and policy STRAT5 of the SOLP and policy CRP1 and the CNP, the development is relatively low density with 12 dwellings per hectare. Whilst this demonstrates a low-density development, it takes into consideration the position of the site within the AONB. It is considered that the development can accommodate and sustain an appropriate amount of development, with high quality design that respects local character, taking into account local circumstances and site constraints.



I am satisfied that the dwellings are of an appropriate density and appearance and that the proposed materials are suitable to the AONB location.



Housing Mix


Policy H11 of the SOLP states that “a mix of dwelling types and sizes to meet the needs of current and future households will be sought on all new residential developments” and that the “mix of housing should have regard to the Council’s latest evidence and Neighbourhood Development Plan evidence for the relevant area”. This evidence comprises the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) for Oxfordshire (April 2014), the Annual Monitoring Report and Crowmarsh Neighbourhood Plan policy CRP2-Housing Mix and Tenure.



Policy CRP2 of the CNP refers to the Housing needs Assessment carried out as part of the Plan. This concluded that there was an inadequate provision of starter homes in two-bedroom accommodation. The policy therefore requires that new infill homes provided for by Policy CRP1 include a majority of 2 bed and 2 bed apartment style homes.



The mix of affordable and market units are presented in paragraphs 3.2 and 3.3 above. As demonstrated in table 1 below, the mix of market units is concentrated towards larger units. There are however a higher number of smaller units within the affordable housing mix.








Table 1: SHMA and proposed market housing mix








No. of beds.

SHMA (market)

SHMA required #

Application Proposal


1 bed




2 bed




3 bed




4+ bed













The applicant has explained the reason for the higher proportion of large market dwellings in this particular scheme, citing that due to the AONB location of the site, the development has been designed to be ‘landscape-led’, to ensure the impact on the AONB is minimised. The higher density development has been kept to the north, close to the existing village and to the previously developed part of the site. The remainder of the site to the south has a lower density as it meets the open space/wildflower meadow area, which has necessitated the provision of larger detached units. A denser layout here would result in a different appearance from the AONB.



With regard to meeting housing need, the Authority Monitoring Report 2019/20, dated February 2021 (previously known as the Annual Monitoring Report) showed that for the permissions granted 2019/2020, more 2 bed units were permitted than required by the SHMA target percentage and the amount of 1 bed units was exactly on the SHMA target. For market housing, well over double the amount of SHMA recommended 1 bed units were permitted (16% permitted against the 6% SHMA target percentage), slightly more 2 bed units permitted and slightly less 3 bed units were permitted compared to the SHMA target percentage. Given the recent delivery of smaller units and the sensitive landscape-led nature of the site, in this case I do not consider the mix of market dwellings in this specific case to constitute a reason for refusal of planning permission.



Affordable Mix


In accordance with Policy H9 of the SOLP 2035, the development proposes  40% affordable units. For 100 units, this equates to 40 affordable homes of which 75% (30) should be for rent and 25% should be for shared ownership. The proposed affordable housing mix is considered acceptable and is mainly distributed evenly across the site. Whilst policy H9 now requires a slightly revised tenure mix in view of the previous resolution in January 2018, the housing officer is satisfied with the agreed mix being retained.



Heritage Impact


Policy CRP4 of the CNP provides for the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty of the countryside and local historic environment.



The site is adjacent to Newnham Manor, a Grade II listed building. The Manor House itself is located approximately 50m to the north of the site. The site was historically part of the grounds of Newnham Manor as part of its wider parkland setting. Gradually the estate lands have altered from the once open parkland to agricultural land and a caravan park, albeit this is located outside of the main view cone experienced from the listed building.



With regard to paragraph 201 of the NPPF, overall, there will be some harm to the listed building as a result of development within its historic open rural setting which will compromise the relationship of the manor house to its wider lands. As the manor house was designed to take in the views to the south, there will be some loss of significance here, in particular as a row of housing aligns with the existing break in mature planting of Newnham Murren garden. However, with regard to paragraph 202 of the NPPF this is considered to be less than substantial harm. With more detail as to the proposed landscaping proposed between the garden and application site, this could soften the impact of the proposed development.



The effects of street lighting at night and in the winter months also needs to be considered in terms of its impact on the relationship of the listed building to its rural setting and how its experienced. Therefore, conditions will be imposed to require a detailed lighting scheme to be submitted for approval by the Council to ensure lighting is at a minimum level in order to mitigate the impact of a listed building.



Trees and Landscaping.


The majority of trees within the site are protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and the site is located within the AONB, therefore tree cover is important to the character and visual amenity of the site. The TPO trees are concentrated in the northern part of the site and surround the caravan park. A good many of the TPO trees are on the site boundary, though there is a belt running through the north western section of the site and a small number of singular trees within the site. A revised Arboricultural Assessment supports this application which proposes the majority of trees on and around the site retained although nine individual trees are proposed to be removed, along with 9 groups of trees and four hedgerows. All tree loss will be mitigated by additional planting.



Noise Impact


Further to the application originally brought to planning committee in January 2018, and observations from the Councils Environmental Health Officer, an updated road traffic noise and impact assessment was undertaken for the site in July 2021 which assessed noise from both the road and RAF Benson. The Council is satisfied with the results of this noise assessment and the previous noise surveys relating to road traffic and aircraft noise from RAF Benson. However, it is recommended that additional mitigation be secured under condition to ensure that the windows of certain dwellings (1, 2, 25, 26, 27,31,33 and 34) are installed with glazing to a higher acoustic performance, in accordance with policies DES6 and ENV11 of the SOLP.



Concerns have also been expressed from Chandlers Farm Equipment (Formerly Lister Wilder) to the south of the application site, regarding the proximity of houses to their boundary and the potential for noise complaints arising from activities at the premises. The nearest proposed residential property to the existing commercial unit is approximately 100m away.   The presence of the commercial unit was acknowledged in the noise assessment and it was considered that operational noise was not significant.



Air Quality


An Air Quality Assessment has been submitted as additional information as part of the planning application. The Assessment specifically considers the suitability of the site for residential development and assesses the impact of the construction and operation of the development itself on air quality in the surrounding area. It also assesses the impact of the changes to the A4074 on air quality. The report finds that the impact of development on local air quality is not considered to be significant.



Based on the increased traffic associated with the development, which may contribute to pollution within the area and will cause new impacts on current

NO2 levels on a moderate level and taking into account the size and location of the proposed development nearby Wallingford's Air Quality Management Area, it is recommended that a planning condition is imposed which requires the submission of mitigation measures in relation to construction. Electric charging points for vehicles will also be required for each dwelling.





The application site does not contain any statutory or non-statutory nature conservation designations. The impact of the proposed development on local ecology has been assessed and with regard to policies ENV3 of the SOLP and CRP5 of the CNP, the proposals would not have any significant impacts on important habitats or species. The proposed layout has the potential to ensure that the site can deliver a net gain for biodiversity i.e. through the planting of native hedgerows and creation of wildflower meadow. In order to secure appropriate biodiversity enhancements and to ensure that appropriate mitigation is in place to protect the small grass snake population, conditions regarding a Biodiversity Enhancement Strategy will be imposed. The development would also be required to be carried out in accordance with the reptile mitigation and enhancement strategy and ecological mitigation submitted with the application. 



Flood Risk and surface/foul water drainage.


The application site is within Flood Zone 1 (least probability of flooding) and as such, there are no objections to the development in relation to flood risk. 



The application does not intend to discharge surface water into the public network. As is now standard practice, a detailed scheme for the site would need to incorporate a Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDS) compliant strategy to ensure that all surface water run-off is accommodated within the confines of the site and discharged in a controlled manner.  As required by the Council’s drainage consultant, the details of this could be secured by condition along with a requirement for a foul water drainage scheme to be submitted.



With regard to foul drainage, Thames Water recognise that this catchment is subject to high infiltration flows during certain groundwater conditions. The scale of the proposed development doesn’t materially affect the sewer network and such no objections are raised; however they do advise that care needs to be taken when designing new networks to ensure that they don’t surcharge and cause flooding. In the longer term, Thames Water are working along with other partners on a strategy to reduce groundwater entering the sewer networks. It is recommended that a condition be imposed requiring a development and infrastructure phasing plan to be agreed with Thames Water and the LPA to addressing all sewage works upgrades and before development can be occupied.



The Council is satisfied with the drainage strategy proposed for this development subject to conditions regarding: the submission of a detailed sustainable drainage scheme; a SUD’s compliance report to be prepared by a suitable qualified engineer; approval of a detailed adoptable foul water drainage scheme. In response to the new objection raised by the Lead Local Flood Authority, the Council is of the view that additional infiltration/ permeability tests and detailed strategy can be covered under a pre-commencement planning condition. 



Neighbour Amenity and Amenity of future residents


The proposed development will not directly affect the amenity of nearby dwellings as there are not many dwellings around the periphery of the site. The three dwellings in the north western corner of the site (Langfield House, No, 112 The Street and Walled Garden) will be bordered by land gifted to the school (which is covered by outline planning permission) and by open space. Plot 95 is 13m to the south east of Walled Garden. The dwellings do not directly line up and the only window at first floor will be a landing window. Therefore, there will be no issues with overlooking or loss of privacy as part of this application.



Newnham Manor itself is located around 60m from the nearest dwelling. In addition to this, there will be significant landscape planting along the boundary.



The residents of Meadow Cottage and No. 9 Meadow Lane will be separated from the development by Meadow Lane and the existing, dense landscape planting with the nearest dwelling over 20m from the former and nearly 30m from the latter.



Hatchery Cottage on Old Reading Road currently backs onto the employment units in the Pheasantry, however as a result of this development, will be surrounded mainly by open space and to the south, by plot 68 which has been repositioned to address the street more within the site. The new dwelling at plot 68 will be situated broadly on the footprint of the current employment unit occupied by MS Truck, and will be approximately 6.3m to the south east of Hatchery Cottage but backing mainly onto the garden rather than property. There is also a substantial row of evergreen trees along the boundary, therefore I do not consider there will be any issues regarding loss of privacy or loss of light.



Open Space/Amenity Space.


Policy CF3 of the SOLP supports the provision of recreation facilities where they are co-located with other community facilities and are well related to the settlements that they serve, being sited within or adjacent to settlements. Policy CF5 also requires new residential development to provide or contribute towards inclusive and accessible open space and play space having regard to the most up to date standards including amenity greenspace, allotments and equipped children’s play areas.



The development provides a mix of public and private spaces. To the south of the main built development an area of wildflower grass meadow (known as the Parkland) will provide 2.1ha of amenity space. This would include cut vegetation to create informal paths for residents. The Parkland would also provide two Local Areas of Natural Plan for younger children). Another area of informal open space known as The Green (0.38ha) is located at the north of the site which would accommodate a Local Equipped Area of Play (LEAP) for older children.



Revisions to the layout have also focused on the garden sizes and where possible, these have been amended to ensure that every property has a good size and shape garden which is proportional to the size of the dwelling in accordance with policy DES5 of the SOLP. Appendix 7, attached shows the dimensions of garden sizes for each dwelling.



Contaminated Land


The application is accompanied by a Phase 2 Desk Study Report which identified a number of potential sources for contaminated land, making recommendations for intrusive investigations. To ensure that any land contamination is addressed during any development, it is recommended that planning permission is granted subject to conditions regarding a phase risk assessment, remediation strategy and informative regarding the identification of contamination.





The site is located in an area of archaeological potential as identified from the desk-based assessment, a geophysical survey and a trenched evaluation undertaken for the site. The evaluation recorded a small number of archaeological features across parts of the site and a staged programme of archaeological investigation will need to be undertaken ahead of any development. This will be secured via planning condition.



Loss of tourist facility


Policy EMP13 emphasises the importance of existing visitor accommodation in the District and indicates that development resulting in the loss of sites or premises used as visitor accommodation will only be considered acceptable where is can be adequately demonstrated that the business is no longer viable and has no reasonable prospect of continuing and alternative visitor accommodation businesses have been fully explored.



The application would have previously been assessed under policy H16 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2011, which stated that planning permission would only be granted for the redevelopment of residential caravan or mobile home sites for permanent residential development if such development would comply with policies in that plan.



As explained above, the application site is comprised of four parcels of land using as touring caravan facilities which provide a total of 56 touring caravan pitches. The Council’s Economic Development Team would normally require more evidence to demonstrate that a business is no longer viable, in the form of business activity for the part 3 years, or that the site had been actively marketed to test potential purchasers of the business. Whilst the application is not accompanied by a viability report, the agent has stated that these current facilities are outdated and there has been a shortage of enquiries to the Newnham Manor site for short term holiday pitch occupiers. The agent has informed us that passing trade is relatively low (about 5 visitors per week) and this is due to the proximity of the more popular Bridge Villa Caravan site is situated approximately 600 metres away to the west, next to the river Thames. Bridge Villa larger, more modern and is licensed for 111 touring caravans for holiday and recreational use for 11 months of the year.



The loss of tourist facilities with regard to policy EMP13 is regrettable, and in the absence of any detailed viability regarding the success of the business, the decision to grant planning permission resulting in the loss of a tourist facility is finely balanced and needs to be weighed against the fact that the site has not been utilised at its full capacity and that there are alternative facilities situated very close by.



Loss of employment units.


Policy EMP3 of the SOLP provides for the protection of existing employment land. Proposals for the redevelopment or change of use of employment land to non-employment uses will only be permitted if the applicants can demonstrate that any employment use is no longer viable and it is evidenced that there is no market interest in the site following one year of active and effective marketing, or the development would bring about significant improvements to the living conditions of nearby residents, or to the environment. In assessing this, the Council will consider whether there is a realistic prospect of mitigating the detrimental effects of continuing employment use.


The White Store and adjacent building have been vacant for over 5 years and both sites have planning permission for residential use under P12/S2541/EX and P12/S2542/EX, therefore assessing its use for employment is compromised due to this change of use to residential already having been granted.



The remaining unit is a farm type barn from the 1950’s with asbestos roofs which is nearly at the end of its useful life in term of commercial occupancy and not suitable for modern commercial use. This a factor in consideration of its continued suitability as an employment use. It is currently let on a short-term commercial lease, however it is understood that if planning permission is granted for this development the current occupier will vacate the premises on 3 months’ notice as their business model is no longer productive for the owner. The remaining employment unit is currently surrounded by a tourist facility to the north and east and residential (Hatchery Cottage) to the west. Whilst the loss of this employment unit is regrettable, it is considered that given the small, limited nature of the facility, the poor/dated condition of the building and their location within a mainly residential area, it’s retention as an employment use would be hard to justify given the housing benefits, community facilities created and landscape improvements to previously developed land.    



Energy Efficiency/Sustainability.



In accordance with policies DES8 and DES10 of the SOLP the application is accompanied by an Energy Statement which meets the requirements of this policy. This mainly proposes the use of air source heat pumps in this development as this fits with the agenda of phasing out fossil fuel boilers and it better for bigger houses with larger space heating requirements. Whilst photovoltaics could be included in the project this would need to be assessed in landscape terms.  A compliance condition will be imposed which requires the development to be carried out in accordance with the approved details.




On-site infrastructure to be secured under a legal agreement


On-site infrastructure is to be secured through a legal agreement under S106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended). Specific items to be included in the S106 are (all contributions are to be indexed linked from the date the costs were prepared):


·         Affordable Housing, as specified in the report

·         The laying out and landscaping of the school land following approval of reserved matters, the design of which to be agreed by the District and County Council and Oxfordshire Diocesan Board of Education.

·         The transfer of the school land to the Oxfordshire Diocesan Board of Education for use by the school.

·         Provision of open space and play areas for use by the public

·         Future management and maintenance of open space

·         Street naming and numbering - £ 2,900

·         Provision of recycling bins - £18,600

·         Provision and maintenance of Public Art – £30,600

  • Monitoring fees - £5,309



As advised by the County Highways Officer, the following site-specific highways contributions would also need to be secured under a S106:

-       Public transport services contributions towards enhancing the Oxford-Reading bus service - £103,700

-       Public Transport infrastructure-£18,887

-       Traffic Regulation Order-£5,000

-       Travel Plan monitoring fee - £1,426

-       S278 off-site works and Traffic Regulation Orders

-       Monitoring fee for County Contributions



The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) have requested a contribution towards surgery alterations or capital projects to support patient services. The development will be liable for CIL and for this type of development the Council do not seek S106 contributions for health. In accordance with the Council’s CIL Spending Strategy, healthcare infrastructure is secured under the community infrastructure levy.



Off-site contributions pooled under the Community Infrastructure Levy



The Council adopted a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on 1 April 2016.  New dwellings are CIL liable at a rate of £150 per sq. metre (index linked from 2016).  The money collected can be pooled with contributions from other development sites to fund a wide range of off-site infrastructure to support growth, including schools, transport, community, leisure and health facilities.   


If the application were to be approved, under the CIL regulations, the Parish Council would receive a proportion of the CIL money.  This could be spent on infrastructure projects that are priorities for the community or could contribute towards strategic infrastructure. 






The report describes the proposals in full and assesses the proposals against the relevant material planning considerations which have changed since the resolution to grant planning permission in January 2018. Since the adoption of the SOLP and CNP, the site is now included within the settlement boundary for Crowmarsh Gifford and is therefore in accordance with the development plan.



The proposed development remains the locally preferred choice of site to meet the housing needs of the area, as stated in the neighbourhood plan. In terms of AONB policy, the site is major development within the AONB and new housing would not normally be permitted unless there are exceptional circumstances. The exceptional circumstances are the provision of the school land which could not be provided by another development located elsewhere. It would also offer significant benefits to the local community in the form of the parkland and through the provision of the toucan crossing, sustainably connecting up the parts of Crowmarsh Gifford that are currently divided by the A4074. The employment/tourist areas are not utilised to capacity and offer opportunities for landscape improvement which complement the AONB.



In assessing the application, I have had regard to paragraph 176 of the NPPF which requires great weight to be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in AONBs. As set out in the report, the proposal would cause localised permanent moderate adverse harm to the AONB landscape and great weight is given to this harm. The detrimental effects on the landscape can be moderated by the retention and enhancement of boundary vegetation.  



I have also had regard to paragraphs 38 and 105 of the NPPF which requires Local Planning Authorities to approach decision-taking in a positive way to foster the delivery of sustainable development where possible.  The three strands of sustainable development are set out at paragraph 8 of the NPPF as economic, social and environmental.  All these have been considered throughout the report and my conclusions against each of the strands is summarised below.



In social and economic terms, the development will result in the loss of caravan pitches and a building used for employment. However, the proposed housing would provide construction jobs and some local investment during construction, as well as longer term expenditure in the local economy. The proposal would contribute towards the objective to significantly boost the supply of housing, consistent with paragraph 20 of the NPPF, by providing 100 houses in a high-quality environment, including 40% affordable units.



I have given weight to the less than substantial harm to the setting of the of the nearby grade 2 listed manor house and to the loss of trees, including those protected by a Tree Preservation Order. However, I consider that sufficient mitigation can be put in place and that this harm is justified in the public interest.


Other aspects I consider can be mitigated so that they have a neutral benefit/harm include air quality, noise impact, ecology, flooding, and highway impact.



Paragraph 177 of the NPPF provides that major development within the AONB should be refused planning permission except in exceptional circumstances. However, I have given weight to the exceptional circumstances of this particular application. I consider the harm to the environment and landscape to be moderate but outweighed by the benefits of the development.



Overall, placing all of the relevant material considerations in the balance, but particularly the exceptional circumstances of enabling the expansion of the school, the provision of parkland and the improved connectivity to the eastern side of Crowmarsh Gifford planning permission should be granted.



The approval of this site would make a small but important contribution to the Council’s 5-year supply of housing land as the applicant has indicated that all 100 homes will be delivered within the next five years. The NPPF recognises at paragraph 69 that small and medium sized sites can make an important contribution to meeting the housing requirement of an area and are often built-out relatively quickly.






Delegate to the Head of Planning to grant planning permission subject to completion of a Section 106 agreement to cover the matters set out in the report  and the following conditions:



1.    Commencement of development – full permission

2.    Commencement of development – outline

3.    Submission of reserved matters application for the school land

4.    Approved plans

5.    Sample materials (All)

6.    Removal of permitted development rights for extensions

7.    Removal of permitted development rights for outbuildings

8.    No conversion of garage accommodation

9.    Submission of details of landscaping including hard surfacing and boundary treatment

10.  Landscape Management Plan

11.  Detailed tree protection

12.  Hours of operation for construction

13.  Construction Traffic onto A4074 only

14.  Wheel washing facilities

15.  Construction Traffic Management Plan

16.  Travel Plan

17.  Construction Method Statement

18.  Off-site Highway Works

19.  Noise-Acoustic Glazing

20.  External Lighting

21.  Electric Vehicle Charging Points

22.  Efficient Gas Boilers

23.  Ecological Mitigation

24.  Biodiversity Enhancement Plan (BEP)

25.  Contamination phased risk assessment

26.  Contamination remediation strategy

27.  Foul drainage works (details required)

28.  SUD’s compliance report

29.  Sustainable drainage scheme

30.  Adoptable foul drainage scheme

31.  Thames Water Infrastructure and phasing plan

32.  New vehicular access onto A4094 Portway

33.  Vision Splay Dimensions at Access

34.  Vision Splay Dimensions at Internal junctions

35.  Estate Accesses, driveways and turning areas

36.  Cycle Parking Facilities

37.  Off-site highway works (implementation as approved)

38.  Archaeological written scheme of investigation

39.  Programme of archaeological evaluation and mitigation






Author:             Amanda Rendell

Contact No:      01235 422600