Draft Core Strategy January 2011

Draft Core Strategy January 2011 - interactive online version

Strategy for Carterton

Carterton

4.20 During the last 100 years Carterton has grown from an area of small holdings to the second largest town in West Oxfordshire with a population of about 16,000. Part of its rapid growth has been associated with the nearby airfield, now the country's main RAF transport base (RAF Brize Norton). Military housing was built in the years after the Second World War, followed by extensive areas of private housing from the 1980's to recent times. Housing was primarily built within the low density structure of the original settlement until this century the North East Carterton Development Area (Shilton Park) extended the town onto adjoining agricultural land.

4.21 RAF Brize Norton is an integral part of the local community. Its future has been secured through agreement to deliver a modern air-to air-refuelling and strategic air transport service which will include replacement of the existing fleet of older aircraft, alongside transfer of personnel and aircraft from RAF Lyneham. A new hanger and new residential accommodation has been built, although redevelopment of large areas of sub-standard MOD housing within Carterton is still to be implemented. About 6,000 - 7,000 military and civilian personnel will be based at RAF Brize Norton over the coming years. Although the expansion is viewed as a positive reinforcement of the local economy, the full implications on the area have yet to be fully identified. A major benefit from the introduction of significantly quieter aircraft is the expected reduction in the noise footprint for the base. Carterton and surrounding villages are adversely affected by aircraft movement. However the airbase and level of activity will continue to reflect its major contribution to global activities.

Carterton's role and identity

4.22 The image of this modern town has been dominated by the presence of the RAF airbase and associated housing estates. However with the introduction of new residential areas, new employment opportunities, a new road link with the A40, and improved community and leisure facilities, the image of the town is now greatly improved. Carterton itself has a strong and often independent community spirit. However the close proximity of Witney, the main service centre of the District, only a few miles to the east, is often perceived as a disadvantage to the promotion of Carterton.

4.23 Despite Carterton having air links to the world, the town is relatively remote from the primary road network. Traffic has little alternative but to pass through nearby villages. Although Carterton lies within the Travel to Work Area of Swindon to the south-west the connection by road is along country lanes, through villages and over narrow bridges across the Thames.

Diversifying the local economy

4.24 Local jobs in Carterton have been traditionally linked with RAF Brize Norton or associated with businesses on the Carterton South Industrial Estate established by the District Council in the 1970's. The 2001 Census revealed a high level of out-commuting with only 25% of residents working within the town although 50% did work within West Oxfordshire. New job opportunities have been created via the West Oxfordshire Business Park and more recently Ventura Park alongside Monahan Way. There is sufficient provision identified for the foreseeable future[1] but additional land may be required in the longer term, taking into account opportunities associated with the airbase and potential to redevelop and/or refurbish parts of the Carterton South Industrial Estate. Some additional low cost, small units for start-up firms would be beneficial.

Town centre vitality

4.25 Although a relatively small centre for a town of its size, the range and quality of shopping facilities and the overall town centre environment has improved markedly in recent years. Considerable potential remains to further enhance the town centre. The strategy continues to promote redevelopment in the south western quarter of the town centre to accommodate new retail uses and ancillary town centre development as proposed in the Local Plan. The District Council has been working with the local partnership, Carterton Fast Forward, and local landowners to deliver a stronger and more attractive shopping destination.

Education and community infrastructure

4.26 Carterton has spare capacity in its schools but fluctuating needs of the RAF necessitate some flexibility, particularly with the transfer of personnel from RAF Lyneham. There is a very active secondary school but it lacks sixth form facilities. Older pupils travel to schools at Witney or Burford. There is a general need for facilities within Carterton to interest younger people. Leisure opportunities have received a major boost with the new country park and playground, the indoor swimming pool and gym as well as the new Carterton Community Centre. However the second phase of the Leisure Centre to provide additional facilities remains unfunded.

4.27 Despite its size Carterton lacks its own fire and ambulance facilities - relying on stations in the surrounding towns and villages. The town also lacks its own cemetery. The Town Council has been looking for additional burial space for many years, as well as land to accommodate additional allotments. The town boundaries are tightly drawn.

Further expansion of Carterton

4.28 Carterton Town Council is keen to see further expansion of the town's population and additional improvements in local infrastructure. However any remaining development potential within the existing town boundary is limited. Any further significant expansion of the existing urban area could further impact upon nearby villages and their setting, and is strongly resisted by the surrounding communities.

4.29 Three potential options for physical expansion of Carterton beyond existing site commitments have been assessed and consulted upon - to the north in the Kilkenny Lane area, to the east adjoining Brize Norton village and to the west beyond the Shill Brook valley. Development to the north was considered the least sustainable option.

4.30 The District Council supports the Town Council's overall objective and has included provision for further growth within the overall strategy. The specific location(s) of any development outside the town boundary has yet to be confirmed and remains subject to further consultation with local communities and landowners, taking into account the operational needs of RAF Brize Norton.

Policy CS7 - Strategy for Carterton

Proposals for development in Carterton should be consistent with the strategy which includes:

• as a priority, redevelopment of existing sub-standard MOD housing and replacement by high quality residential areas which make a positive contribution to the town

• satisfactorily accommodating the needs of RAF Brize Norton and of local communities and visitors

• delivery of at least 1,600 new homes within and on the fringe of Carterton, including affordable housing and homes for older people

• working with the highway authority, the town council and other partners to improve connections between Carterton and the primary road network

• continuing to improve conditions throughout the town for pedestrians and cyclists, including accessibility to bus services • expansion of employment opportunities to match local skills

• a stronger and more attractive town centre with new/refurbished retail opportunities, concentrated in the south western quarter

• provision of new community/leisure facilities

• maintaining a green buffer on the northern edge of Carterton and between Carterton and Brize Norton village

• protection and enhancement of the biodiversity and leisure value of the Shill Brook Valley.
Figure 4.4 Carterton Strategy (click to enlarge)
Figure 4.4 Carterton Strategy
1. West Oxfordshire Economy Study [back]

3

Do you have any comments on the strategy for Carterton?

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4

The Council is proposing further growth at Carterton, either to the east or west of the town. Which of these areas do you prefer and why?

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