Planning Committee Approval for 159 dwellings, Old Marston, Oxford

IPS is pleased to have secured full planning permission for an application for 159 dwellings at Hill View Farm, Old Marston, Oxford. The application was reported to the Oxford City Planning Committee who approved the application in line with the officer’s recommendation, subject to the completion and revisions to the wording of the S.106 agreement.

IPS was asked to assist our colleagues at NC Architects, responding to consultee and public comments and addressing officers’ concerns on two occasions. IPS prepared comprehensive responses to all of the comments received. Our client also requested our attendance and presentation of a supporting statement to be read out at the Planning Committee meeting.

Image courtesy of NC Architects

Although many of the objections were opposed to the principle of the development, it is key to note that the site is allocated within the Council’s adopted Local Plan (Policy SP25) for residential development to consist of a minimum of 110 dwellings and 10% of the site to be provided as public open space. Following adoption of the Oxford Local Plan in June 2020, the application site was released from the Oxford Green Belt. The principle of residential development at this site had therefore been established and could not be revisited unless deemed necessary in any future review of the development plan.

The common issues raised in the objections included: overdevelopment of the site; concern about the capacity of local services and infrastructure; impact on the ‘historic’ lane; no justification for removing the County Council’s previous objection; improvements to Back Lane had not considered highway safety or the heritage characteristics of the route and there was no consideration of the impact on heritage characteristics of the route by the widening of the ‘S’ bend of Mill Lane.

Image courtesy of NC Architects

With regard to the over development of the site, the policy expressed the number of homes as a minimum. This issue relates to the principle of the development of this allocated site and this was addressed in the February 2021 IPS report, as was the capacity of local services. The County Highway Authority had withdrawn the need for temporary widening of this section of Mill Lane which consequently would protect and preserve the heritage characteristics of the Lane and Conservation Area. The Highway Authority also confirmed that the historic lane would only have sympathetic improvements in acknowledgement of the sensitivities of the area including habitats and species without changing the character.

IPS is pleased that the case officer considered that all outstanding matters and comments had been addressed in recommending that the application be approved by the Planning Committee. The proposal will deliver 50% of the dwellings provided as affordable homes, of which 80% of these affordable homes as socially rented, which alongside the balance of market dwellings provided, is a significant planning benefit, helping OCC maintain its five-year supply of housing land.  IPS looks forward to working with our client and planners at OCC, discharging the necessary conditions in order to commence development on this strategic site.