Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Woodgreen, Witney
Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Acock, Collins, Crossland and Woodruff.
Councillor Temple substituted for Councillor Alex Wilson, and Councillor Cooper substituted for Councillor Liz Leffman.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations from Members of the Committee on any items to be considered at the meeting
Councillor Beaney declared a personal interest because he taught the children of one of the developers present.
Participation of the Public
To receive any submissions from members of the public, in accordance with the Council’s Rules of Procedure.
David Knight, Vice Chairman of Eynsham Parish Council addressed the meeting, stating that the Parish Council were very disappointed with the consultation process carried out. He noted that there had been a community event held in December but felt this document was flawed as various community groups had not been consulted including ‘EPIC’ and Green TEA. Mr Knight referred to the lack of detail with regard to ecology and the climate emergency and the potential need to retrofit properties. Concerns were raised about the lack of confidence in relation to Biodiversity Net Gain, no reference to active community groups in Eynsham, the lack of provision for custom and self build properties and the need for additional burial space. Mr Knight also referred to the County Council’s concern, shared by residents, of construction traffic using Thornbury Green.
Councillor Cooper queried the reference to the community group ‘EPIC’ and was advised that this was the Eynsham Planning Improvement Committee.
Daniel Lampard and Niamh Hession addressed the meeting on behalf of the developers, advising that the report was comprehensive in detail. They advised that any future planning applications would come before the Local Authority and in producing the Masterplan, a dedicated liaison group had been set up. The group consisted of Oxfordshire County Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, EPIC and Green TEA. Developers had produced a newsletter, created a dedicated website in November 2021 and had held face to face meetings. Mr Lampard advised that this document was a stepping stone and was not the end of the process.
Ms Hession advised that the Masterplan was designed to set out what could be delivered. It would also establish where development could be delivered, advise on transport, ecology and highways and would deliver 1,000 new homes. The process had identified challenges and had shaped strategies to respond to these. In addition, place making had been built into the Masterplan along with the enhancement of green spaces and ecology.
Following a question from Councillor Dent, officers advised the sewage concerns and details would be dealt with at the planning permission stage.
Councillor Levy addressed Members as one of the Ward Members for Eynsham. He advised that Eynsham had been at the centre of a flurry of major projects and this development needed to be as good as it possibly could be. He felt the document contained a lot of thoughtful information but residents had struggled to get the developers to talk in any great detail. He highlighted various areas of concern including a lack of detail on Active Travel and green space, the separation of the school and shops and the potential need to retrofit properties. Councillor Levy thanked the Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Councillor Harvey for his letter to the developers regarding the climate emergency. He went on to express concerns about construction traffic using Thornbury Green, lifting of the 7 and half tonne limit, the potential loss of the bridleway and the lack of detail in relation to flood mitigation. ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
To consider the masterplan document which has been prepared on behalf of the main landowners/developers to guide the future development of the West Eynsham Strategic Development Area (SDA).
That the Committee:
a) Notes the content of the report; and
b) Recommends that Cabinet agrees that the West Eynsham SDA Masterplan attached at Annex A is approved as a material planning consideration for any current or future planning applications that come forward in relation to the West Eynsham SDA.
The Committee received a report from the Planning Policy Manager which asked them to consider the masterplan document which had been prepared on behalf of the main landowners/developers to guide the future development of the West Eynsham Strategic Development Area (SDA).
The Committee were being asked to scrutinise the report and recommend that Cabinet agree the document at their meeting on 16 March 2022.
The Planning Policy Manager, Chris Hargraves outlined the report and reminded Members of the process and decisions taken up to this point. Members noted that whilst this meeting was close to the Cabinet consideration date, officers had only received the masterplan on 25 February leaving relatively little time to compile the report.
The Chair signposted Members to paragraph 5.2 of the report which explained the position relating to policy requirements and a new revised local plan. Following a question from Councillor Leverton, Mr Hargraves advised that the document would be a material consideration at any future planning stage and contained a proportionate level of detail.
Councillor Graham felt there were inconsistencies within the masterplan and a lack of detail in certain areas. Councillor Rylett expressed his concern that this was no longer a Council led document and could have repercussions for the area. In response, Mr Hargraves explained that Cabinet agreed to update the Local Development Scheme last May resulting in this situation. He also highlighted that the Local Plan did not mention a supplementary planning document but did refer to the preparation of an agreed masterplan for the site.
Other concerns and queries raised by Councillors included the existence of a landowner consortium agreement and the repercussions the lack of one could have and the type of communication undertaken with landowners. The impact on flooding and flood assessments were also discussed along with whether an upper limit on the number of homes could be included. Officers advised that it would be inappropriate to specify a maximum ceiling on housing numbers. However, following further discussion it was agreed that this should be captured in the comments to Cabinet.
The Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Councillor Haine addressed the meeting and clarified the position with regard to housing numbers in the Local Plan, the constraints of the site, natural limitations and the flood zones. It was noted that many of the queries raised by Members were for discussion at the planning stage, when the more detailed proposals would come forward.
Further concerns were raised about the layout of the school and a lack of consultation with the County Council. The access point to the site was also discussed as some felt it was inaccurate.
In relation to Green Amenity and Leisure, the provision of a burial site was raised and discussions were had around the current lack of capacity in the Eynsham area.
Councillor Graham queried what play space provision was being made for teenagers and in response, Mr Hargraves advised that a variety of areas was being proposed. Councillor Prosser noted that any football playing fields ... view the full minutes text for item 4.