Skip to main content

Agenda item

West Eynsham Strategic Development Area (SDA) Masterplan


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 Cabinet:

a)    Notes the content of the report; and

b)    Agrees to approve the West Eynsham SDA Masterplan, attached at Annex A, as a material planning consideration for any current or future planning applications that come forward in relation to the West Eynsham SDA.


Councillor Haine introduced the report and thanked the Joint Climate & Environment and Economic & Social Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the very detailed discussions on this topic on Monday.  He felt that the concerns raised in the Eynsham Parish Council statement echoed the points brought up at that meeting.  Councillor Haine stated that the main point to communicate was that this was a Masterplan and individual planning applications would take account of most of those concerns.


Councillor Haine went on to advise that one exception was regarding Sustainable Movement and Connections on pages 202 and 203 of the report.  The Sustainable Charter and Sustainable Homes could not be agreed upon as the Parish Council wanted Net-Zero to be achieved now rather than in 2025.  This was not possible as developers were required to build to current Government regulations.  If this was imposed by the Council, developers could win at appeal.  Due to the build schedule, approximately 25% of the development would be built to current standards with the remaining 75% being built to 2025 standards.


Councillor Haine therefore proposed that the recommendations be supported as per the report. 


Councillor Rylett commented that the document looked like an extended brochure and put forward standards which were mandatory anyway.  Unfortunately, it was not specified when the Masterplan was approved that it would be Council led.  It was now developer led which has resulted in this situation.  The Parish Council did not want to stop the development but wanted to improve it, however, their views were not reflected in this document.  He wanted to know if the comments from Scrutiny Committee had been noted by Cabinet.


Councillor Haines confirmed that Cabinet had received and considered the comments from the Joint Scrutiny Committee.


Councillor Rylett did not think Cabinet had been given sufficient time to absorb those comments and no changes were being asked for regarding this document.


Councillor Haines stated that many of the points made would be borne in mind when looking at the revision of the Local Plan.  The local plan was where a lot of those points would come in.  However, the current laws would mean that Council could not enforce many of things at present, such as triple glazed windows for example, until the law required it.


Councillor Rylett said he understood but was concerned that this only required the mandatory and could have gone further.  He was also concerned with the level of thought given to the school layout and that the Local Centre was on the outskirts of Eynsham rather than in the centre.   If only one change was made it should be to ensure construction traffic was not allowed through the Thornbury Estate as recommended by the County Council.  There was little in the document about phasing and the interaction between West Eynsham and the Garden Village and there were many questions around that requiring clarity.  Regarding S106 contributions, there was nothing in the draft which the Parish Council saw and had only had sight of it a few days prior to the meeting.  He requested the Parish Council engagement was sought in S106 negotiations not only for this development but in general.  In addition, there was a group of residents interested in self build, however, this appeared to miss the opportunity to provide an appropriate area.


Councillor Coul asked the Planning Policy Manager, Chris Hargraves, if this was a policy or just a framework.  He confirmed it was the latter.   She went on to say that as this was a framework, the issues raised could all be addressed in the Local Plan and the individual planning applications.   She thoroughly supported the recommendations.


Councillor Poston suggested that developers were not stupid and neither were the buying public.  If it was known that in two years’ time the standards would change, they would not buy a house at the same price as if those new standards were included.  He supported Councillor Haine’s recommendations.


Councillor Haine responded to Councillor Rylett pointing out that most of it was a repeat of the issues raised at Monday’s meeting which he believed had been answered at that time.  The school layout was down to the County Council.  The location of the community centre was based on developer reasons.  The issue of construction traffic would be covered under construction management as part of the planning application as would the phasing.  Eynsham Parish Council could put in Section 106 requests which would be given due consideration.  Self-build space did not need to be specified as developers were well aware of the requirement to allow 5% for self-build.


Councillor Cooper said that he understood the developer was now responsible for this plan due to a legal opinion in Chipping Norton.  If this was the case, the Council should apply to Government in advance of planning Bill in the autumn requesting that this be moved back to the District Council.  He felt that the public wanted a source independent from the developer looking at it.


Councillor Harvey addressed the meeting and seconded Councillor Haine’s proposal.  He stated that it had been a source of considerable irritation to everyone that successive Governments had not moved more quickly to close the gap between “building homes” and “building homes for the future”.


Councillor Graham suggested that Eynsham Parish Council should have been more involved, the Council was there to represent sustainable building and not developers and he was concerned that the Masterplan would have material weight in current and future applications.


Councillor Enright thanked the Planning Policy Manager and his team for a substantial achievement.  The development could have been piecemeal but by completing a Masterplan negotiation with developers the Council had gained far more leverage and coherence, far better infrastructure, and a better approach altogether.


Having considered the report and having heard from the Members present, it was


Resolved that


a)    the content of the report be noted; and

b)    the West Eynsham SDA Masterplan, attached at Annex A, be approved as a material planning consideration for any current or future planning applications that come forward in relation to the West Eynsham SDA.

NB: Following the publication of the minutes, Councillor Rylett requested that his comments be amended to state “"It was not specified when the Local Plan was approved that the West Eynsham Masterplan would be Council-led (but I believe was assumed). This has unfortunately allowed the situation to occur where the Masterplan is now developer-led."


Supporting documents: