Anne-Marie Simpson

Jane Murphy



Cordage 7 Ltd



Horse & Harrow Main Street West Hagbourne, OX11 0NB



Change of use of existing public house (Sui Generis) to provide a three-bed dwelling and a four-bed dwelling (Use C3), erection of a three-bed and two four-bed dwellings (Use C3) on land adjacent to the public house accessed from Main Street, with associated parking and landscaping, along with the demolition of existing outbuilding (amended plans received 1 and 8 December 2022 to rectify discrepancy on existing elevation plans, amended boundary treatment, revised energy statement, revised site plan to include air source heat pumps and biodiversity metric and amended red line plan to reduce site area received 8 February 2023. Further amended plans also received on 15 February 2023 to include amended visibility splays, turning area, car parking, amendment to the roof of plot 1, amendment to the finish of the dwellings to render, and the setting back of plot 5).



Andy Heron






This report sets out the officer’s recommendation that planning permission should be granted having regard to the material planning considerations and the development plan.



The application is referred to planning committee at the request of the Development Manager, and following an objection received from West Hagbourne Parish Council. The Developer Manager has requested the application be considered by committee because a member of staff in the planning service lives in a first floor apartment at the pub. The parish council have raised concerns that the owners of the public house have not liaised with villagers to discuss alternative uses, particularly as this is the last remaining amenity in the village. A map extract identifying the site is attached at Appendix 1.



The site consists of a public house and overflow car parking area which is located on Main Street to the south-western fringe of West Hagbourne. Neighbouring dwellings are situated to the east and south, whilst dwellings are currently under construction to the west. Agricultural land is situated to the north. Vehicle access is taken via a road which runs to the west of the pub and to the east of the overflow car park.



The overflow car park which forms the western part of the site is within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), whilst the public house is situated within the West Hagbourne conservation area which runs to the east. A public right of way runs to the north of the pub.





Planning permission is sought for the change of use of the existing public house to provide a 3 bed dwelling and a 4 bed dwelling, and the erection of a detached three-bed and two detached four-bed dwellings on land adjacent to the east and west of the public house. The dwellings will be designed with a mix of pitched and hipped roofs, a white render finish to appear in keeping with the recently approved dwellings which are located to the east and west. Each property will benefit from vehicle access from Main Street. Unit 3 will also utilise the existing access to the west.



Amended plans were received to rectify a discrepancy on the existing elevation plans, to amend the boundary treatment, revise the energy statement, and revise the site plan to include air source heat pumps and a biodiversity metric. An amended red line plan was also to reduce the site area. Further amended plans were also received to alter the vehicle access and car parking to overcome highway concerns. These plans also amended the roof of plot 1, altered the external finish of the dwellings to render, and set-back plot 5.



An aerial photograph showing the surrounding area is shown below. Please note this does not show the newly constructed houses to the west, whilst the houses to the east are still under construction on this photograph.



Reduced copies of the plans accompanying the application are attached as Appendix 2 to this report. All the plans, supporting information and representations can be viewed on the council’s website under the planning application reference number.





The comments below represent the latest comments on the scheme. Full details of the representations can be viewed on the Council’s website under the planning reference number. 


West Hagbourne Parish Council

Object. The owners of the public house have made no attempt to establish what villagers would like to be done with the public house. There will be nowhere else in the village for people to meet. This will be the last remaining amenity in the village to be removed.

Upton Parish Council

No objection.

Letters of representation

12 letters of objection and 2 letters of support were received.


The 12 letters of objection were concerned with;

-       Impact on the character of the rural area and AONB

-       Flooding

-       Impact on the conservation area

-       Loss of the pub

-       Traffic implications

-       Highway safety

-       Unsustainable location


The 2 letters of support stated;

-       The pub is no longer viable.

Highways officer (Oxfordshire County Council)

No objection, the development proposal is unlikely to have a significant adverse impact on the
highway network. I recommend parking, access and cycle parking conditions.


No objection. The building is considered a non-designated heritage asset. I am satisfied that its interest and contribution to the conservation area will not be lost by these proposals. The conservation area will not be demonstrably harmed by this application. I suggest that conditions are applied to agree the final materials to be used in the proposed new dwellings and the final boundary treatments across the units.

CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale)

Object. The viability report fails to consider the potential of the premises to generate income from other sources which could not only provide

complementary services but also cement the pub more into village life and become a focus for the community.


I note that there is no evidence that the Horse and Harrow has been marketed as a pub through any of the usual channels. There is, therefore, no objective evidence of whether it would attract any interest by an operator for its current usage

Countryside officer

No objection, subject to a biodiversity enhancement condition, an external lighting condition and a bird nest protection compliance condition.


No objection, subject to surface water conditions.

Forestry officer

No objection, subject to tree protection and landscaping conditions.

Energy Assessor

No objection, subject to a sustainable energy compliance condition.





4 applications of relevance.


P23/V0475/FUL – Currently under consideration.

Change of use of land (currently Sui Generis) to provide additional residential garden space (Use Class C3), associated with planning application (ref no. P22/S3609/FUL) submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council.


P21/S1436/FUL – Approved (15/06/2021)

Erection of a 3 bed house and garage.


P19/S0398/FUL – Appeal allowed (17/02/2020)

Erection of a 4 bedroom house.


P17/S4097/FUL - Approved (23/02/2018)

Retention of public house (Use Class A4) and largest outbuilding, demolition of remaining outbuildings and reconfiguration of parking. Construction of 3 no. dwellings (Use Class C3) together with associated access, parking, refuse/cycle storage and landscaping (as amplified and amended by drawings and information received 24 January 2018 and as amended Arboricultural Implications Assessment and Method Statement 3 received on 22 February 2018).





The application has been considered under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017.  The proposed development is not EIA development.   





Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires that

the determination of any planning application must be made in accordance with

the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The

statutory Development Plan comprises:


- The Local Plan 2035

- Adopted neighbourhood plans



The South Oxfordshire Local Plan (SOLP) 2035 policies which are relevant to the proposed development consist of:


CF1  -  Safeguarding Community Facilities

DES1  -  Delivering High Quality Development

DES2  -  Enhancing Local Character

DES5  -  Outdoor Amenity Space

DES6  -  Residential Amenity

DES8  -  Promoting Sustainable Design

DES10  -  Carbon Reduction

ENV1  -  Landscape and Countryside

ENV2  -  Biodiversity - Designated sites, Priority Habitats and Species

ENV3  -  Biodiversity

ENV6  -  Historic Environment

ENV8  -  Conservation Areas

ENV11  -  Pollution - Impact from existing and/ or Previous Land uses on new Development and the Natural Environment (Potential receptors of Pollution)

EP3  -  Waste collection and Recycling

H1  -  Delivering New Homes

H11  -  Housing Mix

H16  -  Backland and Infill Development and Redevelopment

INF1  -  Infrastructure Provision

INF4  -  Water Resources

STRAT1  -  The Overall Strategy

TRANS2  -  Promoting Sustainable Transport and Accessibility

TRANS5  -  Consideration of Development Proposals



Neighbourhood Plan

There is no neighbourhood plan for this area.



Other material considerations include government guidance, in particular:

-           The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

-           The National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG)

-           National Design Guide Planning practice guidance for beautiful,

            enduring, and successful places (NDDG)

-           South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse Joint Design Guide 2022

-           South Oxfordshire Infrastructure Delivery Plan (April 2020)

-           South Oxfordshire Developer Contributions Supplementary Planning

            Document (3 January 2023)

-           North Wessex Downs AONB Management Plan 2019 – 2024

-           Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

-           West Hagbourne Conservation Area Character Appraisal April 2006





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.





The relevant planning considerations are the following:


·         Principle of development

·         Design

·         Impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area and the AONB

·         Residential amenity

·         Access and parking

·         Biodiversity

·         Flooding and drainage implications

·         Energy statement



Principle of development


Infill development


SODC’s settlement hierarchy designates West Hagbourne as an ‘other’ village. Policy STRAT1 of the SOLP allows for limited amounts of housing in other villages. Policy H1 of the SOLP further adds that residential development may be permitted where development involves infilling in other villages. The council will also support appropriate opportunities to remediate despoiled, degraded, derelict, contaminated or unstable land.



Policy H16 of the SOLP follows on from policy H1, which concerns back land and infill development and the redevelopment of previously developed land within smaller and other villages. The policy defines infill development as the filling of a small gap in an otherwise continuous built-up frontage or on other sites within settlements where the site is closely surrounded by buildings. It states that the scale of infill should be appropriate to its location.



Neighbouring dwellings have recently been constructed to the east (P17/S4097/FUL), and 5 dwellings are currently under construction to the west (P19/S3098/FUL). A copy of an appeal decision for application P19/S3098/FUL is included in appendix 3. This appeal is important as the inspector stated that the land to the west, ‘whilst it may be a short distance from the core of the village…is part of the village’. The inspector also concluded that the dwelling would represent infill development.



In view of the above developments which are located to the east and west of the site the proposed dwellings would represent infill development, as they would infill a small gap in an otherwise continuous built-up frontage.



Change of use of the public house


Policy CF1 of the SOLP seeks to safeguard community facilities such as public houses. Proposals that result in the loss of an essential community facility or service, through change of use or redevelopment, will not be permitted unless:

i) it would lead to the significant improvement of an existing facility or the replacement of an existing facility equally convenient to the local community it serves and with equivalent or improved facilities;

ii) it has been determined that the community facility is no longer

needed; or

iii) in the case of commercial services, it is not economically viable.



Appropriate, detailed, and robust evidence will be required to satisfy the above criteria. The council will also require the independent assessment of this evidence. The policy adds that a community facility or service may be essential, either because it is one of a limited number of that nature in a settlement or area, or is fundamental to the quality and convenience of everyday life in

a settlement. If suitable alternative provision already exists, any facility or service will not be considered essential.



The applicant has submitted a viability assessment to demonstrate that the pub is no longer viable (this is included in appendix 4). The applicant’s viability report concludes that the pub is making a loss and is not viable in the short or long term. This is largely due to strong competition in the area which means any future investment is unlikely. This viability assessment has been examined by an independent viability assessor consulted by the LPA. This report is included in appendix 5. The independent assessor has stated that although the pub is the only pub in West Hagbourne it is not considered to be an essential community facility. The independent viability assessor explains that the population of West Hagbourne is approximately 300. They would not consider it a necessity nor expectation that a small village of around 300 people would have access to a pub or other licensed community facility, such as a football club or working men’s club, in which to congregate. They add that there is a traditional village pub in the neighbouring village of Upton (The George and Dragon) which is approximately half a mile away. The independent viability assessor concludes this is a sufficient distance to serve the residents of West Hagbourne.



The independent viability assessment explains that prior to Covid, the business would see reasonable day time trade from labourers, this has now ceased as the market has since been very challenging due to the cost-of-living crisis. The assessment advises that a minimum of £100,000 would likely be required to restore the pub, without acquisitive costs. The independent advisor advises that it is unlikely that an operator would spend at least £100,000 to restore the pub as the expected annual profit would only be small, which they estimate to be £2,375 after refurbishment.



The independent viability assessment has confirmed that the pub is not and is unlikely to be viable in the future, nor is it considered to be an essential community facility due to the small population of the village, and the proximity of The George & Dragon in Upton.



In view of the above, the principle of the change of use of the public house to provide a three-bed dwelling and a four-bed dwelling is considered acceptable on the basis that the public house is no longer viable. Furthermore, the proposed dwellings would represent infill development. The principle of development is therefore acceptable as the development accords with policies STRAT1, H1, H16, and CF1 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035.




Policy DES1 of the SOLP seeks to ensure that all new development is of a high-quality design. One of the key requirements of the policy is to ensure development respects the local context working with and complementing the scale, height, density, grain, massing, type, and details of the surrounding area.



The proposed layout of the housing will follow the existing ribbon development and building line of other dwellings which front onto Main Street. The dwellings have also been designed to reflect the appearance height and scale of the newly constructed dwellings to the east and west. The dwellings will have pitched and hipped roofs to appear in keeping with neighbouring dwellings, whilst the white render will match with the pub and dwellings to the east.



The Vale of White Horse district boundary runs through the rear of units 1 – 3. A separate planning application (P23/V0475/FUL) is currently under consideration for the change of use of land to the rear of these proposed units to provide additional residential garden space which would be more than 100 square metres for each unit. The residential garden areas for all properties will therefore comply with policy DES5 of the SOLP in providing amenity space which is above the minimum size requirements advised in the council’s design guide SPD. A ditch runs to the rear of units 4 and 5, at 123 square metres (unit 5) and 177 square metres (unit 4) officers do not consider this ditch will create a harmful impact on the amenity of the future residents. The dwellings will also accommodate bin and cycle stores which will accord with the requirements stated within the joint design guide SPD.



In view of the above the development is considered to accord with policies STRAT1, DES1, DES2, and DES5 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035.



Impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area and the AONB

Policy DES2 of the SOLP requires development to enhance local character, it states that new development must be designed to reflect the positive features that make up the character of the local area and should both physically and visually enhance and complement the surroundings.



Policy ENV1 of the SOLP seeks to protect the rural landscape and countryside against harmful development, particularly within the AONB. The western part of the site is situated within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Designation of an AONB confers formal recognition that the natural beauty of the area is of national importance. The primary purpose of the designation is to conserve and enhance natural beauty.



Paragraph 176 of the NPPF confirms that ‘great weight’ should be given to conserving and enhancing the character and qualities of the AONB ‘which have the highest status of protection’. This is also emphasised by policy ENV1 of SOLP and reinforces the statutory duty placed on the council under S85 of the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000. 



The site lies within two gaps between the pub and neighbouring houses. The development will follow the ribbon layout of the surrounding area and will front onto Main Street. Furthermore, the mass height and scale of the buildings will follow that of neighbouring dwellings.



The eastern area of the site is within the West Hagbourne conservation area. The Horse and Harrow public house dates from at least 1750 and is identified as a building of local note in the conservation area appraisal document (2006) and should be considered a non-designated heritage under local and national policy tests.



Policy ENV6 seeks to protect the historic environment and heritage assets. Proposals for new development that may affect designated and non-designated heritage assets should take account of the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of those assets and putting them to viable uses consistent with their conservation. Heritage assets include statutorily designated listed buildings or structures, conservation areas, and non-designated buildings, structures or historic landscapes that contribute to local historic and architectural interest of the district’s historic environment.



The policy adds that proposals for new development should be sensitively designed and should not cause harm to the historic environment. Proposals that have an impact on heritage assets (designated and non-designated) will be supported particularly where they:

i) conserve or enhance the significance of the heritage asset and settings. The more important the heritage asset, the greater the weight that will be given to its conservation.

ii) make a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness (through high standards of design, reflecting its significance, including through the use of appropriate materials and construction techniques).

iii) make a positive contribution towards wider public benefits.

iv) provide a viable future use for a heritage asset that is consistent with the conservation of its significance; and/or

v) protect a heritage asset that is currently at risk.



Policy ENV8 of the SOLP states that development within or affecting the setting of a conservation area must conserve or enhance its special interest, character, setting and appearance. Development will be expected to preserve the special characteristics of the conservation area such as existing walls, buildings, and historic routes. Proposals should also take into account important views within, into or out of the conservation area and show that these would be retained and unharmed. Development should respect the local character and distinctiveness of the conservation area in terms of the development’s: siting; size; scale; height; alignment; materials and finishes (including colour and texture); proportions; design; and form and should have regard to the design guide and any relevant conservation area character appraisal.



Policy ENV8 also requires development to be sympathetic to important spaces such as paddocks and other gaps or spaces between buildings which make a positive contribution to the pattern of development in the conservation area.



Where a proposed development will lead to substantial harm to or total loss of significance of a conservation area, consent will only be granted where it can be demonstrated that the substantial harm is necessary to achieve substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss. Where a development proposal will lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of a conservation area, this harm will be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal.



Policy ENV8 further adds that wherever possible the sympathetic restoration and re-use of structures which make a positive contribution to the special interest, character or appearance of the conservation area will be encouraged to prevent harm through the cumulative loss of features which are an asset to the conservation area.



The development is not considered to harm the setting of the conservation area by virtue of its appearance, size, and scale. The conservation officer has been consulted who has raised no objection, advising that the proposed dwellings follow the existing pattern of development and are consistent with the scale of the local vernacular. The conservation officer has also added that the proposals for the conversion of the pub intend to remove some of the 20th Century additions which detract from its original features. The proposed works to the pub will therefore improve the buildings appearance within the conservation area and will make a positive contribution to the conservation area by virtue of its architectural character and situation within the settlement. The conservation officer has also advised that the removal of the large area of hardstanding for the pub car park will soften the appearance of the village edge.



To protect the appearance of the area a condition requiring details of external materials will be recommended along with details of boundary details. External lighting and glazing conditions are also recommended to minimise visible light transmittance. The external lighting scheme will require a lighting scheme and plan to be submitted to and approved by the local planning authority prior to the first occupation of the development. Any such lighting must be directed to a low level. A landscaping condition is also recommended to help to assimilate the development into its surroundings.



In view of the above the development accords with policy DES1, DES2, and ENV1 of the SOLP and paragraph 174 of the NPPF. Regard has also been given to Section 85 of the CROW Act (2000) in this assessment.



Residential amenity

The proposed dwellings will be sufficiently distanced away from neighbouring dwellings. The layout of the development has also ensured there will be no loss in privacy or harmful loss in sunlight to neighbouring occupants.



The development will not result in significant adverse impacts on the amenity of neighbouring uses and is therefore considered to comply with policy DES6 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035.



Access and parking

Policy TRANS5 of the SOLP requires development to provide safe and convenient access for all users to the highway.



Oxfordshire County Council’s highway liaison officer has no objection to the proposed development, subject to parking, access, and cycle parking conditions.



The parking and manoeuvring areas are considered adequate and acceptable and are unlikely to result in displaced vehicles onto the highway.



The proposal will result in a relatively modest increase in vehicular numbers, compared to the existing use which is unlikely to adversely impact the highway. In view of the above the development accords with policy TRANS5 of the SOLP.




Policy ENV2 of the SOLP seeks to avoid adverse impacts on ecological receptors (protected species, priority habitats, designated sites, etc.). Where adverse impacts are predicted, development must meet the tests outlined under the policy. The applicants have submitted a preliminary ecological appraisal (PEA) which has been reviewed by the council’s countryside officer. The countryside officer has confirmed that the PEA demonstrates that the habitats on site are not a constraint to development and that impacts on protected species are unlikely.



Policy ENV3 of the SOLP supports development that will conserve, restore, and enhance biodiversity. It requires all development to provide a net gain in biodiversity where possible. As a minimum, there should be no net loss of biodiversity.



The council’s countryside officer has confirmed they are satisfied that the development will achieve a net gain for biodiversity via the creation of gardens and drainage features which are an improvement to the existing features situated on the site. To secure biodiversity enhancements on site a condition requiring submission of a biodiversity enhancement plan (BEP) prior to occupation of the development is recommended.



In view of the above the development is not considered to harm local wildlife or create a net loss in biodiversity and is therefore in compliance with policies ENV2 and ENV3 of the SOLP, and paragraph 174 and 175 of the NPPF.



Flooding and drainage implications

Policy INF4 of SOLP aims to ensure that development proposals demonstrate that there is or will be adequate water supply, surface water, foul drainage and sewerage treatment capacity to serve the whole development. Policy EP4 of SOLP aims to minimise flood risk directing new development to areas of the lowest probability of flooding and also aims to achieve sustainable drainage systems.



The council’s drainage officer has been consulted who has raised no objection subject to surface water drainage conditions to ensure the proper provision of drainage and to ensure flooding is not exacerbated in the locality.



Energy Statement

Policy DES10 of the SOLP seeks to reduce carbon emissions and requires all new build residential dwellings to incorporate renewable energy and other low carbon technologies and / or energy efficiency measures. To comply with the policy an energy statement and SAP calculations has been submitted in support of the planning application. The energy statement demonstrates the dwellings can achieve a 40% uplift above 2013 Building Regulations baseline requirements.



A condition is recommended requiring a verification report to be submitted prior to occupation to demonstrate all carbon reduction energy efficiency measures have been implemented in accordance with the energy statement.




Paragraph 55 of the NPPF is clear that local planning authorities should consider whether otherwise unacceptable development could be made acceptable through the use of conditions. The NPPF goes on to state at paragraph 56 that conditions should only be imposed where they are necessary; relevant to planning and to the development to be permitted, enforceable, precise and reasonable in all other respects



A condition is necessary relating to the plans approved, in order to ensure the

satisfactory appearance of the completed development. Time frame conditions will also be attached to secure the proper planning of the area in accordance with development plan policies. Material samples will also need to be submitted to ensure the development accords with neighbouring dwellings and the surrounding conservation area.



The forestry officer has also recommended a tree protection condition to safeguard existing trees. All other conditions have been discussed in the relevant sections of the committee report.




Community Infrastructure Levy

The development is CIL liable to the amount of £72,800.00.





The application has been assessed against relevant policies in the development plan, the NPPF, PPG, the adopted SPD’s and all other material planning considerations.



The proposal is acceptable on the basis that the pub is no longer viable. The proposed dwellings and change of use will create 5 residential units within a sustainable area of the district and will not unduly harm the character and appearance of the conservation area, AONB or neighbouring amenity.



The application will provide an economic and social role via the creation of additional jobs during construction and the deliverability of additional dwellings within the district. The development is also CIL liable and will contribute towards local infrastructure.



There are no technical concerns with this application, subject to the recommended conditions. Overall, in the planning balance, the benefits of the development outweigh any potential harm. As such, the application is recommended for approval.





To grant Planning Permission subject to the following conditions



1 : Commencement 3 years - Full Planning Permission

2 : Approved plans

3 : Sample materials required

4 : Boundary details

5 : Tree protection (implementation as approved)

6 : Surface water drainage

7 : Surface water

8 : Landscaping Scheme (trees and shrubs only)

9 : External lighting

10 : Glazing

11 : SUDs compliance

12 : Access

13 : Biodiversity enhancements

14 : Cycle parking

15 : Parking and manoeuvring areas

16 : Energy Statement Verification

17 : Vision splays

18 : Trees and hedges

19 : CIL- informative

20 : APC - informative

21 : S137 of the Highways Act - informative




Author:         Andy Heron

E-mail :

Contact No:  01235 422600