The proposal made in the above referenced planning application is contrary to National Planning Policy and the local development plan which comprises the recently adopted South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 and the Cholsey Neighbourhood Plan.
National Policy in the National Planning Policy Framework at paragraph 12 indicates that:
‘The presumption in favour of sustainable development does not change the statutory status of the development plan as the starting point for decision making. Where a planning application conflicts with an up-to-date development plan (including any neighbourhood plans that form part of the development plan), permission should not usually be granted. Local planning authorities may take decisions that depart from an up-to-date development plan, but only if material considerations in a particular case indicate that the plan should not be followed.’
The Development Plan for the appeal site is formed by:
• The South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035
• The Cholsey Neighbourhood Plan
The proposal is clearly contrary to the Cholsey Neighbourhood Plan local strategy CNP STRAT 1 and policies CNP H2 and CNP E1 in that the site lies outside the village built up area boundary shown on Map 4. It would be inappropriate development in the countryside. It would be likely to harm the rural setting of the village, the local landscape character and views in the locality.
The Cholsey Neighbourhood Plan makes good provision for further housing to maintain the vitality of the village, which will be likely to grow by around 43% between 2011 and 2035. The plan includes provision for 690 new homes significantly in excess of the Local Plan 2035 minimum requirement of an additional 612 homes. The housing site at CHOL1 and CHOL 7 identified on page 33 of the plan is the outstanding housing site and work is just starting on this land.
Cholsey lies in a sensitive landscape and forms a small enclave between two nationally important Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as shown on Map 2 in the Neighbourhood Plan. Development of this land at Papist Way will be clearly visible from and will impact on the setting of both AONBs.
Considerable care went into defining the built up area of the village, this boundary was supported by the Neighbourhood Plan Examiner and by the community during consultation and at the referendum. Expanding and consolidating development beyond the village boundary will undermine the plan’s approach to achieve a compact village form and to protect the surrounding countryside, biodiversity and landscape for its own sake. It will be likely to set a precedent for further development in the rural areas outside the built up area of the village.
The South Oxfordshire Local Plan makes excellent provision for further housing over the plan period with proposals for 30,056 new homes against a minimum requirement of 23,550 homes. The district has a confident 5 year supply and there is no justification for departing from the plan policies. The proposal is contrary to Local Plan policies H1 and H4 as it does not meet any of the requirements of criteria 3 of this policy which provide for exceptions to the development plan allocations policies nor is it within one of the villages identified for further homes in policy H4.
The proposed development will overwhelm the capacity of Cholsey to grow in a way that is commensurate with existing and planned facilities and services and in a way that allows the character and social structures of the village to evolve.
The neighbourhood plan identifies significant capacity issues with education and health services in particular, the applicants own work has identified road network capacity issues. These are not addressed by the proposal, the proposal will not be part of a sustainable settlement pattern.
The Cholsey community invested considerable effort in preparing its neighbourhood plan, this work and effort should be respected and supported in planning decisions. The proposal departs from the up to date development plan.
Cholsey Parish Council will meet to formally discuss this application on Wednesday 28th April at 19:30. This meeting will be held on-line using Zoom and is a public meeting, all are welcome. The meeting code is 826 7210 8956 and the passcode is 652401
Please note that Council Standing Orders mean that only 15 minutes are allowed for members of the public to speak. As the subject in hand is very emotive and large numbers are expected, not everyone will be able to speak. Elected representation may be worth considering.