Agenda item

P22/S4300/FUL - Land north of No 1 Cranford Cottages, Moulsford

New access road on land north of No 1 Cranford Cottages (additional highways information received 10 January 2023).


The committee considered planning application P22/S4300/FULfor the new access road (additional highways information received 10 January 2023), on land north of No 1 Cranford Cottages, Moulsford.  


Consultations, representations, policy and guidance, and the site’s planning history were detailed in the officer’s report, which formed part of the agenda pack for the meeting. 


The planning officer introduced the report and highlighted that the application was brought to the committee due to the objection of Moulsford Parish Council. She noted that a letter of support had been received from the headmaster of Moulsford Preparatory School and requested to make a correction to paragraph 1.4 of the report where the first bullet point should read ‘2 Cranford Cottages’ not ‘1 and 2 Cranford Cottages’ as 1 Cranford Cottages already had direct vehicular access to their property from the highway.


The planning officer informed the committee that the site formed part of an existing paddock located within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Moulsford Preparatory School was located to the south-east of the site and the school’s pre-school was located opposite the site. The planning officer highlighted that all land within the blue line indicated in the officer’s report was owned by the Cranford Estate. Planning permission was sought for a new access including fencing and a gate for several properties which did not currently have their own direct access from the highway and who currently shared the Moulsford Preparatory School access.


Overall, as there were no technical objections from any specialist officers, the planning officer, recommended that the application be approved, subject to conditions.


Sarah Elvy spoke on behalf of Moulsford Parish Council, objecting to the application.


Hugh Colver, the agent representing the applicant, spoke in support of the application.


Councillor Anne-Marie Simpson, a local ward councillor, spoke objecting to the application. 


The committee enquired about whether the Old Laundry was a residential property or not and as such which properties were to be served by the new access. The planning officer confirmed from a plan submitted by the agent that the Old Laundry was a building to the rear of 2 Cranford Cottages, but that she was uncertain if the property was residential or an office used for the estate.


The committee also queried what the current use class of the land where the proposed access was and the planning officer confirmed that it was an area of paddock not deemed to be within the residential curtilage. The committee discussed how the internal arrangement of the access might work in practice, but the planning officer reminded them that how the internal arrangement was operated was for the applicant to decide. In response to members questions about the location of the site and if it came with any constraints, the planning officer clarified the test for development in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty was the duty to preserve and enhance the character of the area.


The committee also sought to clarify the arrangement of the proposed gate and proximity to the road. The planning officer confirmed that there was sufficient space for a car to be stationary off the road and for the gate to operate without blocking the highway and that this was acceptable to the highways officer.



Overall, the committee felt that, on balance, the proposed access would be harmful to the character of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it did not feel there was a need for the additional access.  Members also noted that the proposed access would not significantly ease the pressure on the school access with it only redirecting one car movement per hour, and the properties had managed with the current access arrangement to date. It was also felt that the proposed steel gate would be harmful and have an adverse impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The committee was conscious that the site area was paddock land and not within the residential curtilage which had a bearing on its decision.


Ultimately, as it was felt that the public benefit did not outweigh the duty to preserve and enhance the character of the area, the committee agreed that the application should be refused.


A motion, moved and seconded, to refuse the application was carried on being put to the vote.



RESOLVED: to refuse planning application P22/S4300/FUL, for the following reason:


The proposal to locate a new access point, of the width and design proposed, at this sensitive location on the edge of the village and within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) would be harmful to the landscape setting and character of Moulsford village and the AONB. The proposal does not meet the high test to conserve and enhance the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB required by paragraph 176 of the NPPF. In addition, the proposal is contrary to Policies DES1, DES2 and ENV1 of the adopted South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 and the advice in the Joint Design Guide.

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