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Agenda item

23/02849/FUL Land South of West Chapel Lane, Standlake.


Esther Hill, Planning Officer, introduced the application for the erection of a dwelling with double garage, adapted vehicular entrance point and related landscaping.

Jenny McDonald, spokesperson for Standlake Parish Council addressed the Sub-Committee in objection to the application.

Paula Gaffney and John Spencer addressed the Sub-Committee and spoke in objection to the application. The speakers provided clarification on the frequency of surrounding houses having to deal with flooding and drainage problems. 

Neil Perry, Agent for the applicant addressed the Sub-Committee in support of the application and stated the borehole within the neighbouring property was 130mm lower at the boundary than the borehole within the application site.  


The Planning Officer drew the Sub-Committee’s attention to the following points;

  • The application had been deferred at the January  Lowlands Planning Sub-Committee for a site visit, for additional comments to be provided by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) Highways, the WODC Drainage Officer and for public re-consultation.
  • Safety concerns had been raised by both Members of the Sub-Committee and members of the public, regarding the access to Chapel Lane for both car users and pedestrians. After observing the use of the lane by car users, pedestrians and cycle users, OCC Highways had found the access substandard.
  • The loss of agricultural land, the single dwelling proposed, and the implementation of a Wild-Flower Meadow would not result in increased use of the lane access and therefore no objection had been raised by OCC Highways and it would therefore be unreasonable to request improvements to access as part of this application.
  • The site fell under Flood Zone 1, however a significant number of objectors had highlighted that Standlake experiences ground water flooding.
  • Two additional ground water monitoring reports had been submitted by the applicant with measurements and photos. Third party representatives had dug 3 boreholes surrounding the application site and used ground water monitoring equipment to take measurements which had been included in the objections.
  • The Planning Officer and WODC Drainage Officer had conducted a site inspection on 19th February. The Planning Officers found inconsistencies in the levels of ground water data supplied by the applicant. Officers had taken a reading from the trial pit within the application site which fell below the minimum required for water treatment. The measurement taken from the borehole within the site was above the minimum required but officers had concerns over how the levels were being measured. Since the officer site visit the applicant had advised that the OS Datum Readings for the site had been reviewed and this put the top of pipe 30mm higher than they had estimated. In turn, this raised the highest recorded ground water level by 30mm. To achieve the 300mm clearance needed the applicant had suggested increasing the dwelling and patio by 50mm. The Drainage Officer objected as the readings had not included the dates when high levels of rainfall had been experienced and were therefore concerned with the 50mm increase proposed.
  • The Planning Officers were concerned that it had not been demonstrated that the proposed development would not result in an unacceptable flood risk to the occupiers of the new dwelling or existing occupiers of dwellings in the area. The Planning Officers recommended refusal of the application.

The Chair then invited the Sub-Committee to discuss the application, which raised the following points:

  • On the site visit Members had the opportunity to see the flooding currently affecting the street and the impact on the surrounding properties including the use of pumping equipment.
  • The Sub-Committee expressed concerns that the flooding was at the detriment of the residents and not enough data was available.
  • Clarification was given by the WODC Drainage Officer on the measurements and readings taken, the levels of water on 9 February 2024 and 18 February 2024 were when the area had experienced the highest rainfall according to data sent by the neighbour. The WODC Drainage Officer advised that if the dwelling was raised any further it could increase the water run off to surrounding properties.
  • The Sub-Committee asked for clarification on the dates 9 February 2024 and 18 February 2024, where the data came from on those dates. The Planning Officer confirmed that the data from those dates had been taken from the neighbouring houses. The WODC Drainage Officer confirmed those readings to be 8mm and 4mm. The Sub-Committee stated that given the130mm difference between the borehole within the site and the borehole on the neighbouring property, on 9 February 2024 and 18 February 2024 the water levels within the site would have been higher than the minimum 300mm clearance needed.
  • The Sub-Committee expressed that the development would add to the drainage and traffic problems within the surrounding area.

Councillor Lysette Nicholls proposed that the application be refused in line with Officer’s recommendations.

This was seconded by Councillor Adrian Walsh, was put to the vote and was agreed unanimously by the Sub-Committee.

The Sub-Committee Resolved to:

  1. Refuse the application in line with Officer’s recommendations.