Land Adjacent 4 Wychwood Lane Oxford OX3 SHG

16 November 2016

 Erection of building to provide 4 x 3-bed, 3 x 2-bed and 2 x 1- bed apartments. Provision of amenity space, 22No. car parking spaces and cycle store. Formation of new vehicular access from Lewis Close.

We wish to comment on the above application for planning consent as follows:

It is stated in the application form that no arrangements have been made to store or separate and re-cycle waste; clearly this is unacceptable. To the question: ”Are there trees or hedges on land adjacent to the proposed development site that could influence the development or might be important as part of the local landscape character?” the response provided is ”No”. This is clearly inaccurate; it is acknowledged that an arboricultural report has been provided, but this does not address the issue of the importance of the existing trees and hedges to the landscape character.

One consequence of the proposal would be the elimination of perhaps 50°/o of the existing garden area to 7 Lewis Close. This is a substantial property of at least 6 bedrooms, and the remaining amenity area would be disproportionately small for the scale of accommodation the house provides, and the proposal would be seriously detrimental to the character of this property. Furthermore, the replacement of domestic garden with hard paving forming the access road and 10 parking spaces will have a significant effect on the local flora and fauna, and on the constituents of the run-off rainwater, which it is indicated would be accommodated by permeable paving. Given the close proximity of the site to the existing nature reserve, the effects on the local ecology are important, including that associated with the hydrology of the site. None of these issues are addressed in this application. We would strongly endorse the expert opinions of the Bucks, Berks & Oxon Wildlife Trust on the potential adverse effects of the development on the ecology of the adjacent wildlife reserve.

The location of the access road immediately alongside the boundary to the nature reserve is likely to have an adverse impact on the character of the reserve, including the tranquillity and isolation. The number of car parking spaces proposed (2.44 per property) is inconsistent with the assertion made that the development is well placed for the use of public transport or cycling, and it is evidently anticipated that there will be considerable traffic generated. This would have adverse consequences not only for the character of the nature reserve, but for that of Lewis Close, and the connecting network of residentia I roads.

The site plan does not actually show all the boundaries of the site; for example, it is not clear where the demise of the new properties would be separated from that of 4 Wychwood Lane, or from the Nature Reserve.

The assertion that the applicant/developer is a charitable trust is not demonstrated by the information provided, hence the entitlement to exemption from certain obligations is doubtful. Likewise, it is unclear what the precise basis is likely to be for the management of the property and its occupation, immediately or in the future, or the continuation in perpetuity of the arrangements suggested. Hence the assertions to the effect that this would be a haven for seven vulnerable households, attended to by two carers must be regarded with scepticism.

We would urge refusal of this application pending clarification of many details and greater assurance of the means and process by which management is to be carried out.