Carterton Sub-Area

Description

9.35 The Carterton sub-area has a population of about 25,000. Most people live in Carterton itself (16,000) a relatively modern town which during the last 100 years has grown from an area of small holdings to become the second largest town in West Oxfordshire, offering a good range of services and facilities including a country park, leisure centre, employment, housing and retail. Part of Carterton's rapid growth has been associated with the nearby airfield, now the country's main RAF transport base (RAF Brize Norton) and an integral part of the local community employing up to 6,000 personnel of which approximately 2,000 live on the base.

9.36 There are a scattering of villages outside of Carterton, the largest being Bampton (2,500) which despite its relatively small size enjoys a good range of community activities and available services and is a designated rural service centre.

Housing

9.37 Most of the existing housing within this sub-area is located in Carterton. Military housing was built in the town after the Second World War, followed by extensive areas of private housing from the 1980s to recent times. Housing was primarily built within the low density structure of the original settlement until this century when the North East Carterton Development Area (Shilton Park) extended the town onto adjoining agricultural land providing around 1,500 new homes. The low density nature of the older housing in Carterton and the relatively large plot sizes has led to pressure for infill development in recent years. House prices in Carterton are relatively low compared with other parts of the District though there is still a significant need for affordable housing.

9.38 Although many service personnel live on the base, there are several areas of MOD housing within Carterton including the areas around Stanmore Crescent (REEMA Central) and Northwood Crescent (REEMA North). The redevelopment of MOD housing has been highlighted as a priority through previous consultation on the Local Plan and the REEMA North site has now been cleared in anticipation of 200 new homes being built to meet the RAF's service family needs. REEMA Central has been partly cleared and will (subject to the completion of the 200 new homes on REEMA North) be made available to the open housing market, with capacity likely to be in the region of 525 - 550 new homes.

9.39 In accordance with the overall strategy, Carterton will be a focus for new housing provision. Two Strategic Development Areas are proposed, land to the east of Carterton (700 dwellings) and the REEMA sites in central Carterton (400). Further explanation on these proposals and the alternative options that have been considered is set out below. New housing in the rest of the sub-area will be limited to meeting local community and business needs and will be steered towards the rural service centre and the larger villages.

Employment

9.40 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 1970s. RAF Brize Norton is seeing continued investment as the UK's main strategic air transport base and will employ up to 6,000 personnel. New job opportunities have been created to the east of the town, at Ventura Park and West Oxfordshire Business Park and further potential remains including aviation businesses related to RAF Brize Norton to locate in this area. Some additional high quality small industrial units for start-up firms would be beneficial.

9.41 About 5ha of vacant employment land remains with further business units (about 2.5ha) recently built and starting to be occupied. Taking this into account there is sufficient provision identified for the foreseeable future and there may also be potential to redevelop and/or refurbish some existing employment areas. Longer-term business land needs will be kept under review.

Retail & Leisure

9.42 Carterton has a relatively small town centre for its size, primarily serving a convenience and service role. Whilst the range and quality of shopping facilities and the overall town centre environment has improved markedly in recent years a significant amount of shopping trade leaks to other centres such as Witney and the centre remains vulnerable to out of centre development.

9.43 Considerable potential remains within the centre to further enhance the shopping and leisure offer. A new Aldi store has opened and the District Council is working with the local partnership, Carterton Fast Forward, and local landowners to deliver a stronger and more attractive shopping and leisure destination. The draft Local Plan continues to promote redevelopment in the south western quarter of the town centre to accommodate new retail uses and ancillary town centre development. There are current proposals by a major foodstore retailer and it is important that such development integrates well with the rest of the centre improving the attraction of the centre as a whole and facilitates future phases of redevelopment or refurbishment to ultimately provide a more comprehensive shopping offer.

9.44 Should an additional foodstore be developed, this will help the town centre improve its trade retention and the priority then will be to improve the non-food shopping and leisure offer. A primary shopping frontage is defined to the south of Alvescot Road and including the Co-op to provide a focus for shopping and a core frontage to protect and maintain the coherence of the town centre as a whole. Secondary shopping frontages are also defined for a wider range of shops, leisure uses and services which complement the shopping offer of the centre. Provision will need to be retained for the market in a prominent location. Adequate car parking will need to be provided and access improved where possible, particularly for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, whilst not precluding the potential for pedestrianisation.

9.45 Leisure facilities in Carterton include the Carterton Leisure Centre and the Country Park running along the northern edge of the town. The leisure centre was built in 2003 and has a considerable area of land to the rear of the site earmarked for an extension although funding is required. The Country Park was established in 2005 and there is scope to further extend it.

Transport

9.46 Carterton is relatively remote from the primary road network and much of its traffic passes through nearby villages. The A40 is only a short distance to the north but can only be accessed via 'B' roads including the B4020 Shilton Road and B4477 Brize Norton Road. Access to Witney can be achieved via the A4095 Bampton Road but this necessitates vehicles having to travel through Brize Norton village.

9.47 The Oxfordshire Local Transport Plan contains a longer term aim to improve the local road network with potential upgrade to 'A' road classification and improved signage. This is identified in the draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) along with several other schemes including the proposed Shilton link road and improvements to the roundabout at Carterton Road/Norton Way. Also identified is the potential provision of a new link road between the B4477 Brize Norton Road and the Witney Road and land will be safeguarded for this scheme through the Local Plan with contributions to be sought from development as appropriate.

9.48 The town is well served by bus services including the premium S1 and S2 services to Witney and Oxford. Oxfordshire County Council have identified a number of potential improvements to bus services in the Carterton sub-area including improvements to bus stops along the S1/S2 route, improved bus journey times on the S1 route between Carterton and Oxford and enhancing the frequency of the 64 service to Swindon. These are identified in the draft IDP and funding will be sought from development accordingly.

9.49 Carterton has a good pedestrian and cycle network which is well used, particularly by RAF personnel, but the links through older parts of the town and out to the countryside are incomplete. The Local Transport Plan intends this network to be improved and promoted. Oxfordshire County Council has identified the potential to provide additional cycle parking at key locations as well as a new cycleway between Carterton and Witney.

The Environment

9.50 There are a number of environmental considerations within this sub-area. Much of the area to the south of Carterton is designated as a 'mineral consultation area' due to the presence of sand and gravel resources. The extraction of minerals in the Lower Windrush Valley in the east of the sub-area has significantly altered the landscape with large areas of riverside pasture now used for recreation, tourism and nature conservation through the Lower Windrush Valley Project. There are also mineral resources to the north of Carterton including an active limestone quarry (Burford Quarry).

9.51 The River Thames runs along the southern boundary of the sub-area and whilst presenting opportunities for tourism and leisure uses must also be considered in terms of the flood risk it presents. Flood risk is also an issue for other locations within the sub-area including some of the villages which are particularly vulnerable.

9.52 Running along the western boundary of Carterton is the Shill Brook Valley which is a designated biodiversity conservation target area. Conservation Target Areas (CTAs) are the most important areas for wildlife conservation where targeted conservation action will have the greatest benefits. In planning terms they represent areas of ecological opportunity and potential improvements the District's CTAs are highlighted in the draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP).

9.53 To the north of Carterton is the Kilkenny Lane Country Park provided as part of the Shilton Park development. It includes a popular adventure playground and offers good opportunities for walking and other forms of recreation. It is anticipated that the proposed strategic allocation of land to the east of Carterton will allow for an extension to this valuable local facility.

9.54 Noise from RAF Brize Norton is also an important environmental consideration in this area. Carterton and the surrounding villages are adversely affected by aircraft movement. The airbase and level of activity will continue to reflect its major contribution to global activities although it is anticipated that the replacement of the existing fleet of older aircraft will lead to a reduction in the noise footprint for the base.

Infrastructure

9.55 Other than the transport schemes outlined above, the main infrastructure requirements for Carterton relate to education and leisure. Carterton has spare capacity in some of its primary schools but fluctuating needs of the RAF necessitate some flexibility. The most recently built primary school, St. John the Evangelist Primary School provided as part of the Shilton Park development is rapidly filling up and does not have scope to accommodate any more children from new development. A new primary school will therefore need to be provided as part of the Strategic Development Area (SDA) at east Carterton.

9.56 There is a very active secondary school in Carterton but it has limited sixth form facilities and many older pupils travel to schools at Witney or Burford. The catchment of school will be extended to include the proposed strategic allocation at east Carterton which should help to support the provision of improved facilities at the school. In the villages surrounding Carterton there is limited capacity within existing schools at present. Brize Norton School is already under pressure and contributions will be sought from new development as appropriate.

9.57 Leisure opportunities at Carterton have received a major boost with the new country park and playground, the indoor swimming pool and gym as well as the Carterton Community Centre. However the second phase of the Leisure Centre to provide additional facilities remains largely unfunded. The town has a number of active sports club, notably the football club and also those associated with RAF Brize Norton and further pitch provision (artificial and/or grass pitches) is required to meet their needs.

9.58 Further information on the infrastructure requirements for this area is set out in the draft IDP.

Scope for Further Expansion

9.59 Carterton Town Council is keen to see further expansion of the town's population and additional improvements in local infrastructure. Unlike Witney, there is a reasonable degree of capacity for new housing within the built up area. The MOD has confirmed that it intends to build 200 new homes for RAF service families on land at Northwood Crescent (known as 'REEMA North'). Once built, the MOD would release land at Stanmore Crescent (REEMA Central) for disposal to the open market. Together, the redevelopment of the REEMA sites would represent an 'uplift' of around 400 units (net) across the two sites. In light of the MOD announcement and their intention to dispose of REEMA Central, the MOD land has been identified in the draft Local Plan as a Strategic Development Area (SDA) with a likely net gain of around 400 homes.

9.60 There is also some potential capacity for new housing elsewhere within the town including Milestone Road. However, in order to accommodate the level of growth identified in the draft Local Plan, it will be necessary to expand the existing urban area through development on Greenfield land. Several options have been considered through previous consultations on the draft Local Plan and have been assessed through a process of Sustainability Appraisal including land to the east, north (two options) and west of Carterton.

9.61 A detailed assessment of the four options has been undertaken and an updated Sustainability Appraisal (SA) has been carried out. Both documents are available as separate background papers. Having regard to the SA and detailed site assessment, a Strategic Development Area (SDA) is proposed on land to the east of Carterton for around 700 dwellings. The site represents a logical extension to the existing town boundary, has relatively limited landscape impact, is extremely accessible to a range of services and facilities and presents the opportunity to extend the Kilkenny Lane Country Park through the provision of a long-term buffer to Brize Norton Village.

9.62 The larger site to the north of Carterton at Kilkenny Farm is not considered suitable for a number of reasons. In particular the site is relatively distant from the town centre, would require significant highway improvements to deliver satisfactory access arrangements, development would represent a major incursion into the countryside and would be poorly integrated with the existing built up area.

9.63 The smaller site to the north of Carterton (David Wilson Homes) does not enjoy particularly good public transport links, has potential landscape and ecological sensitivities and there are also some outstanding issues regarding land ownership and deliverability.

9.64 Land to the west of Carterton is not considered suitable for a number of reasons. In particular, development in this location would have a significant landscape impact, would require access to be provided via extensive built infrastructure located in an environmentally and ecologically sensitive area, part of which is in the flood plain (the Shill Brook Valley) and development would represent a major incursion into the open countryside.

9.65 In the remainder of the sub-area, in accordance with the overall strategy, further growth will be limited to meeting local community and business needs and will be steered towards the rural service centre and larger villages.

CORE POLICY 29 - Carterton Sub-Area Strategy


The focus of new development will be Carterton. New development in the rest of the sub-area will be limited to meeting local community and business needs and will be steered towards the rural service centre and larger villages.

Proposals for development in the sub-area should be consistent with the strategy which includes:

  • delivery of around 1,850 new homes to be focused on Carterton and to include affordable housing and homes for older people and newly forming households. At least one Extra Care scheme will be required.
  • a Strategic Development Area of about 700 dwellings to the east of the town (see Core Policy 31)
  • redevelopment of existing sub-standard MOD housing including a Strategic Development Area of about 400 dwellings (net) at REEMA North and Central (see Core Policy 32)
  • satisfactorily accommodating the needs of RAF Brize Norton and of local communities and visitors and working with RAF Brize Norton to meet their needs and ensure their impacts are mitigated wherever possible;
  • retention of remaining land for businesses (5ha) at West Oxfordshire Business Park and Ventura Park. The uptake of this land and the need for additional land for businesses in the longer term will be kept under review.
  • a stronger and more attractive town centre in accordance with the Carterton Town Centre development strategy (Core Policy 30)
  • ensuring that new development makes appropriate and timely provision for necessary supporting infrastructure, including provision of new green infrastructure, community and leisure facilities
  • working with the highway authority, the town council and other partners to improve connections between Carterton and the primary road network and deliver necessary strategic transport improvements including the Shilton Road Link and a potential new link road between the B4477 Brize Norton Road and the Witney Road
  • continuing to improve conditions throughout the town for pedestrians and cyclists, including accessibility to a wide range of improved bus services and waiting facilities
  • maintaining, enhancing and extending the green buffer on the northern edge of Carterton and between Carterton and Brize Norton villag
  • protection and enhancement of the biodiversity and leisure value of the Shill Brook Valley
  • avoiding development which will increase the risk of flooding and working with partners such as the Environment Agency to deliver flood mitigation measures.
  • Working with the River Thames Alliance, support tourism and leisure proposals which are sensitive to and where appropriate enhance the ecological, landscape and heritage value of the River Thames.

Figure 9.4 - Carterton Strategy

Carterton Strategy

 

CORE POLICY 30 - Carterton Town Centre Strategy


Carterton Town Centre will become the local retail centre of choice for those living and working in the town and surrounding villages:

  • Provide a wider range of well integrated shops, leisure opportunities, public spaces and ancillary town centre facilities including ancillary residential development
  • Create distinctive and attractive shopping frontages through high quality traditional and contemporary design and landscaping, utilising high quality materials with some local references, and retaining and enhancing existing trees and planted areas where appropriate
  • Maintain provision for a market in a prominent location which can be used for other purposes at other times
  • Retain and provide adequate car parking and provide for improved access, particularly for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, whilst not precluding the potential for pedestrianisation
  • A primary shopping frontage is defined to the south side of Alvescot Road and Brize Norton Road to provide a focal point for shopping within the centre and within which the loss of shops will be resisted. Secondary shopping frontages are defined in these and other areas (See Core Policy 16). The loss of town centre uses from shopping frontages will be resisted and excessive concentrations of uses that could affect amenity or vitality will be avoided.
  • A first phase of comprehensive development/redevelopment is proposed within the south west quadrant of the town centre. Within this area additional retail development and ancillary town centre uses which are well integrated with existing facilities and facilitate future phases of redevelopment will be permitted. The potential for new vehicular access from Alvescot Road and Black Bourton Road should be explored.

Figure 9.5 - Carterton Town Centre

 Carterton Town Centre

CORE POLICY 31 - East Carterton 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 Carterton and creates a positive addition to the local area

b) about 700 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 of a new primary school on-site (1.5FE (including foundation stage) with 2FE core facilities to enable future expansion of the school)

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

e) green space and biodiversity enhancements including arrangements for future maintenance. In particular the development will be required to provide a long-term buffer to Brize Norton Village to form an extension to the Kilkenny Lane Country Park and also to contribute towards the enhancement of the Shill Brook Valle

f) provision of allotments, public playing fields and associated changing room facilities

g) provision of appropriate flood risk mitigation measures

h) appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of noise upon noise-sensitive uses

i) contribution towards Carterton Leisure Centre (Phase 2)

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 to include a contribution towards the potential provision of a new link road between the B4477 Brize Norton Road and the Witney/Curbridge Road

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.

CORE POLICY 32 - REEMA North and Central 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 Carterton and creates a positive addition to the local area

b) a net increase of about 400 homes with a range of residential accommodation to meet identified needs including affordable housing and homes specifically for older people

c) contribution towards education and indoor and outdoor leisure provision in the local area

d) appropriate provision for greenspace

e) necessary supporting transport infrastructure, including proposals to mitigate the impact of traffic associated with the development

f) contribution towards the potential provision of a new link road between the B4477 Brize Norton Road and the Witney/Curbridge Road

g) 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.