North Wessex Downs AONB, Units 3-4, Denford Manor, Lower Denford, Hungerford, RG17 0UN
01488 685 440  info@northwessexdowns.org.uk

News & Events

 

Planning News

 

Planning update : December 2016


Planning Applications & Related Appeals

 

1.  A reserved matters application (16/00626/RES) was approved for the second stage of the Bovis Homes Development at Overton Hill, Overton for 120 dwellings, landscape and ecological enhancement corridors. Development had been supported by the AONB which reinforced the rural edge of Overton within the setting of the AONB.

 

2.  A revised outline application (15/03489/OUT) is under consideration by Basingstoke and Deane for the development of up to 165 dwellings (originally 200) on land adjacent to Kingsclere Road, Overton. The development has been met with considerable concern from the Planning Advisor and local residents due to the proximity of the listed Church and open arable character of the site which frames the edge of Overton Village bordering the AONB. Significant concerns relate to the steeply sloping site and the potential adverse impact to the setting of the AONB from dwellings and formal/urban landscaping.

 

3.  An outline application for up to 119 dwellings off Salisbury Road, Hungerford is out to consultation by West Berkshire Council. The site is has been included for 100 dwellins within the proposed housing allocations DPD which was examined in the summer by the Planning Inspectorate, yet no recommendation on soundness of the plan has been made. The Inspector did raise concerns over this site, in particular the views from within the site out towards Coombe Gibbet and Inkpen Hill. The Planning Advisor will be commenting on the application, a site which has consistently been of concern to the AONB.

 

4.  An outline application was refused by the Vale of White Horse (P16/V0660/O) for residential development comprising up to 40 dwellings (16 affordable) on land to the North of Lower Road, Chilton. This was a resubmission of a previously refused decision for up to 50 dwellings (P15/V0969); The Planning Advisor liaised with the parish council to discuss the AONB concerns and sustained their continued objection to the development of this edge of settlement location. The application has recently been dismissed at appeal.

 

5.   An application on the edge of Hinton Parva has been received and is still under consideration by Swindon Borough Council (S/16/1455) for the erection of a 3 no. stable block, tack room and lunge pen, this has been through pre-application negotiations between the Planning Advisor and land owner to appropriately locate the buildings without compromising the views and vistas from the nearby Ridgeway in addition to extra native planting and hedgerow enhancement.

 

6.  An application for new floodlighting at Hungerford Rugby Club (16/01142/FUL) has been approved by West Berkshire.  The Planning Advisor addressed a number of concerns with particular importance paid to dark skies and proximity of Hungerford Common which enjoys vast long distance views up towards Combe Gibbet and Inkpen Hill.  The case officer sought changes to the lighting columns and further planting along existing hedgerows, which saw a reduction in the number of lights, additional louvres and a reduced lux level.

 

7.  An application is being considered by West Berkshire Council for a Knackers Yard at the Old Wessex Saw Mill, Great Shefford (16/02954/FUL). The Planning adviser is awaiting comments from the Environment agency and the local authorities Environmental Health Officer before making any revised comments in relation to potential pollution/contamination but there are no concerns over visual harm to the natural beauty of the AONB.

 

8.  The East Hagbourne (P15/S3228/O) application on the south eastern fringe of Didcot was refused by the Planning Committee against the officer’s recommendation. The site is the focus of the Mind the Green Gap campaign by townspeople and villagers to “stop Grainger PLC’s high-density housing development on the Green Gap between East Hagbourne and Didcot”.  The Planning Advisor had submitted an objection to the latest revision, which according to the Mind the Green Gap group helped sway the members of the committee.  The applicants have submitted an appeal seeking an Inquiry for which the Planning Advisor has submitted a statement.

 

9.  An outline planning application has been refused (P/16/V0235/O) by the Vale of White Horse for development of up to 75 dwellings at Mather House and Greensands, Reading Road, East Hendred.  This was a mirror of a previously refused application, currently at appeal pending a decision (APP/V3120/W/16/3145234), the appeal Inquiry opened in December but was closed and deferred to January after unforeseen circumstances meant the lead witness for the developer was unable to attend. The applicant tried to add additional landscape justification.  The Planning Advisor submitted an objection to the Vale of White Horse and to the Planning Inspectorate drawing on the poor relationship with the existing settlement and harm to the setting of the AONB.  The Vale’s Landscape Officer has supported the AONB’s comments, and the revised application has subsequently been refused by the Vale.

 

10.  An application for a new dwelling and landscape/ecology enhancement initiative (16/01603/FULMAJ) adjacent to Winterbourne Farm, Winterbourne, has been approved by the West Berkshire Planning Committee.  Planning Advisors (past and present) have been involved with this case and had pre-application discussions before and following the previously withdrawn scheme and strongly advised on changes to the siting, scale and design of the dwelling and changes to the accompanying landscape and habitat enhancement proposals, to the response to which has resulted in our support for the proposal.

 

11.  An outline application for a new dwelling after the demolition of barns (16/07815/OUT) in Froxfield has been refused by Wiltshire Council with the support of the AONB. The Planning Advisor liaised with the case officer on the principle of development at the site and the potential landscape impact from further residential development outside the settlement boundary which would further erode the value of the local landscape.

 

12.   An application for the erection of a dwelling for staff at Folly House Stables, Lambourn  (16/02806/FULD) is being considered by West Berkshire Council. The Planning Advisor has submitted comments in relation to the siting of the dwelling but supports the principle of a modest single-storey property which would aid in connecting the stables and the residential properties which front the highway.

 

Planning Policy Consultations

 

13.  The Planning Advisor, in cooperation with the Chilterns AONB, has submitted comments and concerns in relation to the recent consultation on the South Oxfordshire Preferred Allocations – a document identify towns/villages for development along with housing numbers.  This raised considerable concern due to the number of small villages identified within the AONBs which could see approx. 100-200 dwellings allocated in the next plan period.

 

14. The Planning Advisor has submitted comments to the Inspectorate in response to the submission of West Berkshire’s ‘homework’ which was requested by the Inspectorate at the West Berkshire Housing Site Allocations DPD examination in July.  This included further justification of the approach taken to allocating the Salisbury Road site outside Hungerford over  HUN001, Smitham Bridge Road.  The Inspector raised concerns about the approach taken by the council in allocating development within the AONB, and the final numbers proposed to be above the ceiling figure of 2,000 dwellings identified in the Core Strategy (an option submitted by the council was to include any windfall sites within the housing numbers for the next five years of the plan period).

 

15.  Basingstoke and Deane have consulted with the AONB on the Manydown Development Brief Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which is being brought forward to align with the submission of an outline application for phase 1 of the Manydown allocated site.  The Planning Advisor has submitted lengthy comments on the SPD which does not appear to align with the vision of the developer; nor is the vision for the country park clear.  There are concerns over the lack of more rigid policies surrounding materials, open spaces and biodiversity, in particular the role of the country park in providing the bulk of ecological mitigation whilst forming the primary green open space for the new urban extension and surrounding communities.

 

16.  The Vale of White Horse Local Plan has been declared sound by the Planning Inspectorate and the document has now been adopted by the Vale Councillors and will be in effect immediately which gives greater weight to officers in defending applications outside of settlement boundaries.

 

 

Planning update : September 2016

 

Planning Applications & Related Appeals

 

A reserved matters application (16/00626/RES) was approved for the second stage of the Bovis Homes Development at Overton Hill, Overton for 120 dwellings, landscape and ecological enhancement corridors. Development had been supported by the AONB which reinforced the rural edge of Overton within the setting of the AONB.

 

A revised outline application (16/03489/OUT) is under consideration by Basingstoke and Deane for the development of up to 165 dwellings on land adjacent to Kingsclere Road, Overton. The development has been met with considerable concern from the planning adviser and local residents due to the proximity of the listed Church and open arable character of the site which frames the edge of Overton Village bordering the AONB. Significant concerns relate to the steeply sloping site and the potential adverse impact to the setting of the AONB from dwellings and formal/urban landscaping.

 

An outline planning application remains under consideration at the Vale of White Horse (P14/V2873/O) for residential development on land to the west of the Great Western Park Didcot development of up to 4,450 dwellings, mixed use local centres, primary schools, sports pitches, community facilities, special needs school, open space and extensive green infrastructure, hard and soft landscaping, attenuation areas, pedestrian and vehicular access and associated works.  Additional landscape information including photomontages has been received to enable the full impact of the proposal to be fully assessed before it goes to planning committee.


An outline application was refused by the Vale of White Horse (P16/V0660/O) for residential development comprising up to 40 dwellings (16 affordable) on Land to the North of Lower Road, Chilton. This was a resubmission of a previously refused decision for up to 50 dwellings (P15/V0969); The Planning Advisor liaised with the parish council to discuss the AONB concerns and sustained their continued objection to the development of this edge of settlement location.

 

An application on the edge of Hinton Parva has been received by Swindon Borough Council (S/16/1455) for the erection of a 3 no. stable block, tack room and lunge pen, this has been through pre-app negotiations with the planning advisor and land owner to appropriately locate the buildings without compromising the views and vistas from the nearby Ridgeway in addition to extra native planting and hedgerow enhancement.

 

An application for new floodlighting at Hungerford Rugby Club (16/01142/FUL) is currently being considered by West Berkshire. The planning adviser has addressed a number of concerns with particular importance paid to dark skies and proximity of Hungerford Common which enjoys vast long distance views up towards Coombe Gibbet and Inkpen Hill. The Case officer is seeking further advice on possible changes to the lighting columns and further planting along existing hedgerows.

 

An application has been deposited with Wiltshire Council (16/06196/FUL) for extensions and alterations to the Old railway Station and West Grafton. The proposed changes would result in significant changes to the building an grounds surrounding the site. The planning adviser has not raised an in principle objection to alterations and enlargement but considers the current proposals to be overly dominant and would result in the urbanisation of the site due to engineering and landscaping works. The response at present from the applicant/agent is to add trees to the boundary to screen the development.  

 

The East Hagbourne (P15/S3228/O) application on the south eastern fringe of Didcot was overturned by the planning Committee and refused against the officers recommendation. The site is the focus of the campaign ‘Mind the Green Gap’, “a campaign by townspeople and villagers to stop Grainger PLC’s high-density housing development on the Green Gap between East Hagbourne and Didcot”. The Planning Advisor has submitted an objection to the latest revision, which according to the Mind the Green Gap group helped sway the members of the committee. The applicants have recently submitted an appeal seeking an Inquiry.

 

An outline planning application has been revised (P/16/V0235/O) for development of up to 75 dwellings at Mather House and Greensands, Reading Road, East Hendred. This is a mirror of a recently refused application, currently at appeal pending a decision (APP/V3120/W/16/3145234). The applicant has tried to add additional landscape justification. The Planning Advisor has submitted an objection comment to the Vale of White Horse and to the Planning Inspectorate drawing on the poor relationship with existing settlement and harm to the setting of the AONB. The Vales Landscape officer has supported the AONBs comments.

 

An application for a new dwelling and landscape/ecology enhancement initiative (16/01603/FULMAJ) adjacent to Winterbourne Farm, Winterbourne, has been recommended for approval by the West Berkshire Case Office and is awaiting a decision at Planning Committee. The Planning adviser (past and present) has been involved with this case and had pre-app discussions following the previously withdrawn scheme and strongly advised on changes to the siting, scale and design of the dwelling, which has resulted the NWD support for the proposal.

 

Planning Policy Consultations

 

The planning adviser in cooperation with the Chilterns has submitted comments and concerns in relation to the recent consultation on the South Oxfordshire Preferred allocations – a document identify towns/villages for development along with housing numbers. This raised considerable concern due to the number of small villages identified within the AONB which could see approx. 100-200 dwellings allocated in the next plan period.

 

The planning adviser is awaiting the arrival of additional information in relation to the revised West Berkshire Housing Site Allocations DPD examination, which was requested by the Inspector in July as part of the Councils homework; in particular further justification on the approach taken to allocating Salisbury Road Hungerford over that of HUN001, Smithan Bridge Road. The Inspector raised concerns taken by the council in their approach to allocating development within the AONB, and the final numbers proposed to be above that of the ceiling figure (2000 dwellings) identified in the Core Strategy.

 

Basingstoke and Deane have consulted with the NWD on the Mannydown Development Brief SPD which is being brought forward to align with the submission of an outline application for phase 1 of the Mannydown allocated site.

 

Network Rail – Electrification

 

The North Wessex Downs, along with the Chilterns , Cotswolds and Natural England, continues to work with Network Rail as part of an advisory group to comment on all stages of the design options review being undertaken and to work with 2B landscape consultancy (landscape firm employed by Balfour Beatty) to identify and supply all appropriate supporting information to facilitate the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment currently being carried out. LVIA work is currently being finished for the Cotswolds before moving onto the NWD and Chilterns. The advisory group meet every 4-6 weeks to allow for updates and discussion on any work achieved or issues raised.  This work has already taken up significant officer time, and it has been agreed that we and the Chilterns will be charging Network Rail for our time on this work from now on.