VALP Main Modifications
Representation ID: 3079
Respondent: Clifton Kirstie (Bovis Homes Limited)
Agent: Define Planning & Design
Legally compliant? No
Modification MM094 clearly recognises the suitability of Land South of Creslow Way, Stone for residential development. However, AVDC continues to inappropriately restrict the site area and imposes an additional 'not built development' area based on inaccurate site assessment information. Bovis Homes has provided clear and robust evidence - as set out in the attached Site Suitability Statement - that Land at Creslow Way is suitable, developable and deliverable, and offers the opportunity to provide up to 65 dwellings to meet the aforementioned local housing needs in a manner that sensitively addresses the surrounding context and character.
Amend the site allocation boundary and delivery assumptions for D-STO008 to appropriately reflect the comprehensive findings of the submitted Site Suitability Statement, and to specifically include for the provision up to 65 dwellings as part of that allocation.
Modification MM094 clearly recognises the suitability of Land South of Creslow Way, Stone for residential development by allocating the site through Policy D-ST0008, and proposing an increase in the allocated site's capacity from 10 dwellings to 26 dwellings, with Site Requirement A seeking the provision of 'at least 26 dwellings.'
Whilst Bovis Homes welcomes the Council's recognition that the site has greater capacity for housing, AVDC continues to inappropriately restrict the site area and imposes an additional 'not built development' area based on inaccurate site assessment information. Indeed, Bovis Homes has provided clear and robust evidence - as set out in the attached Site Suitability Statement - that Land at Creslow Way is suitable, developable and deliverable, and offers the opportunity to provide up to 65 dwellings to meet the aforementioned local housing needs in a manner that sensitively addresses the surrounding context and character. The statement provides a summary of all the detailed technical and environmental assessments that have been carried out and that underpin this conclusion.
In particular, these assessments confirm that the site is relatively unconstrained in relation to landscape character, visual amenity, heritage, ecology, arboriculture, flood risk and drainage and transport and access, and is, therefore suitable for residential use. It also illustrates that a high quality development can be achieved that appropriately addresses the surrounding context and makes appropriate and efficient use of the site, whilst maximising the provision of natural open space; in accordance with the NPPF and the emerging VALP.
It is notable that MM070 proposes to insert new Policy D2 'Delivering site allocations in the rest of the district', and states that "allocating sites in the Local Plan allows growth to be located in the most suitable locations by taking into account, through further assessment beyond the HELAA, factors such as landscape, flooding, settlement form and site availability." This is not the case in relation to Land South of Creslow Way and through the Examination process the Council has rejected any opportunity to consider the merits of the site and proposals for development in consultation with Bovis Homes.
The site currently comprises unmanaged scrubland and grassland, with extensive areas of tree planting that form the western section of the site. The site is visually contained to the north and east by adjoining existing residential development, with a sports ground and playground immediately to the north-west and arable farmland to the south and west of the site.
A Landscape Appraisal of the site concludes that the proposed development could be accommodated in a manner sensitive to local landscape character and visual amenity if development is offset from the site's more exposed southern and eastern edges and existing mature trees are retained and reinforced. The existing screening of the site by surrounding vegetation and the adjacent settlement means that views are mainly restricted to the site itself and parts of St John's Drive. Given their low sensitivity, the effects are considered to be slight.
There are no designated or recorded heritage assets within the site. Whilst the Grade II listed chapel and Apple Cottage lie within relatively close proximity to the site's north and east respectively, the Landscape Appraisal also confirms that there is no visibility between the site and these heritage assets.
An ecological assessment also confirms that there are no statutorily designated sites within or in close proximity to the site. Whilst Stone SSSI and Bugle Quarry SSSI lie 560m north and 2.3km east of the site respectively, Natural England concludes that residential development does not pose a potential risk to the designations. Habitat and species surveys have confirmed there are no reptiles or suitable breeding habitat for the Great Crested Newts within the site and that, whilst the site provides a foraging resource for badgers, no setts were found. Furthermore, the retention of features of ecological value, notably hedgerows, mature trees and an orchard, would be maximised.
The proposed development would also retain the trees protected by the recent Tree Preservation Order applied to many of the existing trees within site and would also retain and manage the traditional orchard that comprises over a quarter of the western edge of the site, enhancing its current unmanaged status.
The site is located within Flood Zone 1 and thus is at low risk of flooding. A flood risk and drainage review confirmed that the site is at low risk of fluvial, groundwater, surface water and sewer flooding, and negligible risk from other flooding sources. A surface water sewer enters the site via Creslow Way and St John's Road, and provides surface water attenuation for the residential development north of the site. Similarly, a foul water sewer flows into the site via Creslow Way and St John's Road, flowing southwards out of the site.
A Transport Appraisal (TA) for the development of up to 70 dwellings within the site highlighted its suitability, given its good access to footways, cycleways and bus stops that offer a good level of service between Aylesbury and Oxford. The TA proposes that the site is accessed via a priority junction onto Creslow Way, with the initial assessment not raising concerns regarding junction capacity. Formal pre-planning consultation with Buckinghamshire County Council (as the Highway Authority) has also confirmed that the site's proposed carriageway width and geometry is acceptable in principle, that the site is connected to a good wider network of pedestrian footways, and that the nearest bus stops offer a good level of service between Aylesbury and Oxford.
Thus, Land South of Creslow Way has been robustly assessed as being suitable, developable and deliverable for residential development of up to 65 dwellings. Therefore, MM094 fails to take into consideration the suitability of this site for the residential development of up to 65 dwellings. Thus, it is Bovis Homes' view that MM094 should be further modified to increase the capacity of the allocated site to "up to 65 homes, green infrastructure', with Requirement A stipulating that the site should provide for up to 65 homes to reflect this.