West Oxfordshire Local Plan Housing Consultation

Chipping Norton Sub-Area (1,450 homes)

6.157 The Chipping Norton sub-area has a population of about 13,000 with half living in the hilltop town of Chipping Norton (or 'Chippy' as it is locally known). Chipping Norton is the third largest town in West Oxfordshire and occupies a prominent hilltop position on the eastern edge of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) within which most of the town is situated. Lying astride the 185m contour, Chipping Norton is one of the highest settlements of its size in southern England and offers extensive views to and from the surrounding countryside.

Figure 6.15 - Chipping Norton Sub-Area


6.158 Outside of Chipping Norton the remaining population within this sub-area live in a scattering of generally small villages and hamlets. Being surrounded by this rural hinterland and being relatively remote from larger towns, Chipping Norton acts as a service centre for residents, workers and visitors although does itself look to Banbury/Cherwell District for some services and facilities.

6.159 Most of the housing within this sub-area is located in Chipping Norton. New areas of Council housing were added in the post-war years on land to the south and west of the centre and private housing estates were built during the 1980s and 1990s. About 1,150 new homes have been added since 1976. Some of this has been through the redevelopment of large previously developed sites such as Parker Knoll and Bliss Mill, the former tweed mill now converted to flats. As with the rest of the District there is a significant need for affordable housing in this area.

6.160 Having regard to the evidence set out in the Council's strategic housing land availability assessment (SHLAA) there are a number of opportunities for further housing development within the Chipping Norton sub-area to help contribute towards the District's overall housing requirement.

6.161 In accordance with the overall strategy, Chipping Norton will be a focus for future housing growth in the District. Originally it was anticipated that the location of future housing development in Chipping Norton would be determined through the Chipping Norton Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) which the Town Council is currently leading on.

6.162 However, the Town Council has made it clear that they do not intend to allocate sites as part of the Neighbourhood Plan process and the Local Plan must therefore provide a clear steer about which sites are expected to come forward.

6.163 The overall requirement for the Chipping Norton sub-area (1,450 homes) will be met through a combination of homes already built, existing commitments, an allocated site, sites identified as potentially suitable within the SHLAA and speculative windfall development.

Chipping Norton Sub-Area

Provision will be made for at least 1,450 new homes in the Chipping Norton Sub-Area in the period 2011 - 2029.

This will be delivered through the following:

  Source      Number of dwellings  
Homes already completed 2011 - 2014 87

Existing commitments including:
Cromwell Park
Rural exception sites
Other permissions

East Chipping Norton Strategic Development Area (SDA) 500
Other potential SHLAA capacity 320 - 350
Windfall allowance 300
Total   1,464 - 1,494

* Adopted Local Plan (2006) allocation

Figure 6.16 - Delivering the housing requirement in the Chipping Norton sub-area


Existing permissions, SHLAA sites and windfall

6.164 In addition to the 87 homes already completed, just over 175 new homes will be delivered on sites that already benefit from planning permission plus an allocation of 80 homes on land at Cromwell Park which was identified in the adopted Local Plan (2006).

6.165 In addition, the Council's SHLAA update has identified a good level of potential capacity within the Chipping Norton sub-area (320 - 350 homes). Sites identified as having potential include:

  • Land south of Walterbush Road/Cotswold Crescent
  • Former Castle View Care Home and Ambulance Station
  • Former Parker Knoll Site/Rockhill Farm London Road (see below)
  • Land at the Pillars, Banbury Road

6.166 The provision of housing on the former Parker Knoll site (which is allocated for employment use) would be dependent on an alternative employment use being found elsewhere. A potential site for employment use exists to the north east at Rockhill Farm on London Road. Alternatively the Rockhill Farm site itself could be used for housing with the former Parker Knoll site retained for employment use.

6.167 As before it is considered appropriate to include a windfall allowance and the same assumption has been applied to this sub-area (i.e. 20 per year or 300 in total from 2014 - 2029).

Land East of Chipping Norton Strategic Development Area (SDA) - 500 homes (Chipping Norton Parish)

6.168 Land to the east of Chipping Norton which falls within Chipping Norton Parish was first presented as a potential site option at the Preferred Approach stage (2010) when it was identified as a 'strategic area for development' covering land to the north and south of London Road. The northern parcel was suggested for community health care facilities, specialist housing and employment with the southern parcel suggested for new employment on the former Parker Knoll site plus residential development (around 200 homes) with supporting facilities including a new primary school, open space and structural landscaping.

6.169 The site was considered through the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) report published at that time. The assessment highlighted the fact that options for a significant expansion of the town are limited with land to the north, south and west of the town falling within the Cotswolds AONB where any significant development is likely to be prominent and adversely impact upon existing character.

6.170 Land to the east however lies outside the AONB and therefore presents the most obvious opportunity to expand the town. The assessment highlighted a number of key issues including the fact that the capacity of the site is constrained by the character and prominence of the plateau in views from the wider countryside and along the tree-lined avenue of London Road. It also highlighted the issue of whether satisfactory vehicular access can be achieved without adversely impacting upon the avenue of London Road trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order.

6.171 The site was further considered through the Sustainability Appraisal of the draft Core Strategy (2011) and was not included as a site allocation on the basis that consultation and further work indicated that a new school in the town, although desirable, is unlikely to be deliverable. A site specific expansion to the east was, therefore, no longer considered necessary to be included as an essential part of the overall strategy.

6.172 In light of the increased housing requirement (9,450 homes) it has been necessary to re-appraise the merits of land to the east of Chipping Norton as a potential housing allocation including an independent Sustainability Appraisal (SA) report.

6.173 The site has been assessed using the Council's site assessment matrix and has also been assessed through an independent landscape assessment.

6.174 The overall conclusion reached is that land to the east of Chipping Norton represents a sustainable development opportunity to help meet the future housing needs of West Oxfordshire. The site is located within comfortable walking and cycling distance of Chipping Norton Town Centre, it lies outside the AONB, is not affected by flooding or heritage assets and there are no significant constraints to the site coming forward. It is owned primarily by Oxfordshire County Council who have expressed a clear interest in promoting it for development.

6.175 It is therefore suggested that the site is allocated for the provision of 500 new homes as part of a comprehensive mixed-use development to include additional employment land, a new primary school, local centre and other supporting infrastructure including formal and informal greenspace. The indicative site boundary including green buffer is shown below.

Figure 6.17 - East Chipping Norton Strategic Development Area (SDA) - 500 homes


6.176 There are however a number of important considerations that will need to be addressed in order for the site to come forward including:

  • Landscape impact
  • Access arrangements
  • School capacity
  • Mix of uses

Landscape impact

6.177 In terms of landscape impact, the Kirkham report (2014) demonstrates that although the site is in a sensitive landscape and visual location and will inevitably lead to an adverse landscape and visual impact on the perception of the eastern edge of the town, a reduced site area and a landscape led approach to the siting, layout and mass and scale of the development, would render development acceptable.

6.178 A comprehensive scheme is considered more likely to deliver the substantive Green Infrastructure required to mitigate the impact of development and the report suggests the quantum of development should be around 500 homes.

6.179 The onus will therefore be on the developer to demonstrate through a detailed landscape and visual impact assessment that this quantum of development can be satisfactorily provided.

Access arrangements

6.180 In terms of access, it is unlikely that a vehicular access can be achieved through the existing residential area to the west or via the track to the south running adjacent to the secondary school. Whilst it may be possible to provide access from Burford Road to the south, this would involve the loss of some of the Town Council allotments adjacent to the site.

6.181 Vehicular access is therefore proposed from two points, via Trinity Road onto London Road and via Fowlers Barn onto London Road. The onus will be on the developer to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the County Council as highway authority that satisfactory vehicular access can be achieved.

School Capacity

6.182 Discussions have been held with Oxfordshire County Council as education authority and they have confirmed that Chipping Norton secondary school has adequate capacity to absorb additional pupil growth plus the potential to expand if necessary. The provision of an additional 500 homes to the east of the town therefore does not present any difficulties even in combination with other potential developments likely to come forward.

6.183 Primary school capacity at Chipping Norton is however limited and the County Council has advised that the provision of 500 new homes in conjunction with other potential developments in and around the town would be likely to necessitate the provision of a new primary school. It is therefore expected that the development of land to the east of Chipping Norton will provide this as part of the overall mix of development.

Mix of Uses

6.184 It is anticipated that the development of this site will be primarily residential however the scale of development presents the opportunity to provide some additional uses as part of a comprehensive mixed-use development. As discussed above, this is likely to include a new primary school but there is also the opportunity to provide a new local centre including community and other facilities.

6.185 There is a need for additional employment land in Chipping Norton to attract inward investment and allow existing firms to expand and as such, the development will be expected to include a good proportion of business space. Other facilities will be sought as part of the overall mix of development including open space, play facilities and any other requirements identified as being necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms.

Draft Policy - East Chipping Norton Strategic Development Area (SDA)

Proposals for development should be consistent with the following:

a) achievement of a comprehensive, sustainable community which maximises links into the existing built-up area of Chipping Norton and creates a positive addition to the local area

b) about 500 homes with a range of residential accommodation to meet identified needs, including affordable housing and homes specifically for older people, with at least one Extra Care scheme

c) provision for additional business floorspace as part of the overall quantum and mix of development

d) the provision of appropriate landscape improvements to mitigate the potential impact of development;

e) satisfactory access arrangements to be agreed in principle with the highway authority

f) provision of a new primary school on-site (1.5FE (including foundation stage) with 2FE core facilities to enable future expansion of the school)

g) provision of local shopping, community and leisure facilities through the creation of a local centre

h) green space and biodiversity enhancements including arrangements for future maintenance.

i) provision of appropriate flood risk mitigation measures (surface-water run-off)

j) supporting transport infrastructure, including proposals to mitigate the impact of traffic associated with the development, and incorporating a comprehensive network for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport with links to adjoining areas

k) demonstrate the use of renewable energy, sustainable design and construction methods, with a high level of energy efficiency in new buildings including the achievement of at least Code Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

l) the developer will be encouraged to set aside a proportion of the proposed development site for those wishing to undertake 'self-build' projects

Consultation Question 14) Chipping Norton Sub-Area

Do you support the overall level of housing provision identified for the Chipping Norton Sub-Area (1,450 new homes)? Please expand as necessary.

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Consultation Question 15) Chipping Norton Sub-Area

Do you support the proposed draft allocation of land at East Chipping Norton for the provision of around 500 homes? Please expand as necessary.

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Consultation Question 16) Chipping Norton Sub-Area

Are there any other sites not identified that you think should be identified within the Chipping Norton sub-area to help meet the overall housing requirement?

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