West Oxfordshire Local Plan Housing Consultation

Witney Sub-Area (3,550 homes)

6.10 The Witney sub-area has a population of about 34,000. Most people (c. 28,000) live in Witney itself, a vibrant and historic market town famed for its association with the blanket industry. Witney is the District's largest town and acts as the main service centre, offering a broad range of housing and employment opportunities as well as key services and facilities including retailing, health care, leisure and culture.

Figure 6.3 - Witney Sub-Area

 

6.11 There are a number of villages and hamlets on the fringes of Witney including Crawley, Hailey, Ducklington and Curbridge. Although these places offer some local facilities, they naturally look to Witney for most essential services.

6.12 As the largest settlement, most of the existing housing stock in this sub-area is located in Witney which has experienced major growth over the last 30 years, more than doubling its population. Much of this growth has been accommodated through successive urban extensions in the post-war era, to the north, west and east of the town. It is anticipated that the Witney sub-area will deliver the majority of new housing over the period of the Local Plan with a particular focus on Witney itself. Given that Witney is the District's main town and service centre and enjoys good proximity to Oxford and other key destinations, this approach is considered appropriate.

6.13 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 Witney sub-area to help contribute towards the District's overall housing requirement.

6.14 The overall requirement for the Witney sub-area (3,550 homes) will be met through a combination of homes already built, existing commitments, allocated sites, sites identified as potentially suitable within the SHLAA and speculative windfall development.

Witney Sub-Area

Provision will be made for at least 3,550 new homes in the Witney Sub-Area in the period 2011 - 2029.
This will be delivered through the following:
 
Source   Number of dwellings 
Homes already completed 2011 - 2014 154
Existing planning permissions as of 1st June 2014: 1,569

West Witney

Coral Springs

Buttercross Works

Springfield Nursery

Other permissions

(1,000)

(185)

(176)**

(36)

(172)

East Witney Strategic Development Area (SDA) 400
North Witney Strategic Development Area (SDA) 1,000 (phased)
Other potential SHLAA capacity 164
Windfall allowance (20 per year 2014 - 2029) 300
         
Total 3,587
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

* Resolution to grant permission subject to Section 106
** 176 excludes those units already completed

Figure 6.4 - Delivering the housing requirement in the Witney sub-area
 

Existing permissions, SHLAA sites and windfall

6.15 In addition to the 154 homes already completed, just over 1,500 new homes will be delivered on sites that already benefit from planning permission or resolution to grant permission subject to Section 106. The largest of these sites is West Witney (North Curbridge) which was allocated as a reserve site in the adopted Local Plan.

6.16 The site now benefits from a resolution to grant planning permission subject to the completion of a Section 106 agreement which is currently under negotiation. The scheme will deliver a number of benefits including a new junction onto the A40 at Down's Road which is seen as a key element of the overall transport strategy for Witney.

6.17 The Council's updated SHLAA (June 2014) has identified a number of small sites with some housing potential over the life of the plan. These are assessed in detail in the SHLAA (available separately) and include the following:

  • Bus Depot and Garage, Corn Street (potentially developable in the longer term subject to relocation of the bus depot)
  • Scrap Yard, West End (potential longer-term scheme)
  • Welch Way (potential long-term redevelopment opportunity)
  • Thames Water Depot, Dark Lane (subject to flood risk being addressed)
  • Woodford Way car park (potentially developable in the longer term subject to replacement parking provision being made elsewhere)
  • Woolgate Centre (potential mixed-use redevelopment longer term)

6.18 It is also considered appropriate to include a 'windfall' allowance to cater for unidentified sites that are likely to come forward for housing over the period of the Local Plan. Based on past evidence, a conservative estimate is that such schemes would provide 20 homes per year within the Witney sub-area over the remaining period of the Local Plan (2014 - 2029) thereby providing an additional 300 new homes.

6.19 The remaining requirement will be met through two proposed Local Plan housing allocations: East Witney (400 homes) which falls within Witney Parish and North Witney (1,000 homes) which falls within Hailey Parish. Further information about these two sites and the reason for their inclusion as well as the alternative options considered, is set out below. Regard should also be had to other relevant technical evidence made available as part of this and previous consultations.

East Witney Strategic Development Area (SDA) - 400 homes (Witney Parish)

6.20 Land at East Witney was previously considered as a potential site option in early consultation stages of the new Local Plan (then referred to as 'Core Strategy'). It was ruled out at the time on the basis of the 'severance' that would have been created by the proposed Cogges Link Road (CLR) scheme - a new bypass for Witney.

6.21 However, when it became apparent that the CLR scheme would not go ahead, the merits of the East Witney site for housing were re-assessed through sustainability appraisal as well as a more detailed site assessment exercise.

6.22 The assessments demonstrated that the site represents a sustainable development opportunity. It has no significant environmental or heritage constraints, is well-located in relation to the Town Centre and provided the quantum of development is controlled, is unlikely to have a significant landscape impact. Importantly, development in this location also offers the opportunity to deliver west facing slip roads at the Shores Green junction onto the A40. This will allow traffic using the junction to move in all directions whereas currently they can only head east towards Oxford.

6.23 The East Witney site was duly allocated in the draft Local Plan (2012) for the provision of 300 new homes on the part of the site known as 'Cogges Triangle'. The draft allocation stipulated that a pre-requisite of development is the Shores Green Slip Roads scheme and that this should be completed before any houses are built.

6.24 The draft allocation attracted very few objections and those received were of a generally minor nature, capable of being addressed through appropriate mitigation (e.g. surface water run-off).

6.25 In response to the draft Local Plan (2012) the landowner submitted representations seeking an increase from 300 homes to 450 homes including limited development on the part of the site west of the Stanton Harcourt Road. The principal argument put forward was that more homes are needed to ensure deliverability given the cost of the Shores Green improvements.

6.26 The financial viability of the East Witney scheme was subsequently tested on behalf of the Council by independent consultants in a study published in September 2013. The assessment demonstrated that although 300 dwellings appears viable, the position is relatively marginal given the high infrastructure costs needed to bring the scheme forward.

6.27 In recognition of this position and the increased overall housing requirement, the Council considers it appropriate to increase the number of homes proposed at East Witney from 300 to 400. This will help to ensure the viability of the scheme as well as helping to meet the increased housing requirement. The proposed allocation is shown below (note: the extent of the developable area shown is indicative only).

Figure 6.5 - East Witney Strategic Development Area (SDA)

 

6.28 The intention is to provide a very limited amount of housing (c. 30 homes) on the land west of the Stanton Harcourt Road. This would be subject to the developer being able to satisfy the Council in relation to landscape impact and flood risk.

6.29 It is anticipated that this small development would be allowed to come forward ahead of the Shores Green improvements in order to help 'pump-prime' the necessary funding. The inclusion of this land within the allocation will also help to facilitate the provision of links to the Town Centre across the Lower Windrush Valley thereby increasing the integration of the overall development with the existing built area.

6.30 The remaining homes (c. 370) will be provided on the Cogges Triangle site, subject to delivery of the Shores Green junction improvements which would need to be completed before the housing is built. The proposed quantum of development would be subject to the developer being able to satisfy the Council in relation to landscape impact, surface water run-off and traffic impact. A mix of housing including affordable housing will be sought together with the provision of any necessary infrastructure improvements (e.g. primary school capacity increase).

Draft Policy - East Witney Strategic Development Area (SDA)

Land to the east of Witney to accommodate a sustainable, integrated community that forms a positive addition to Witney, including:

a) about 400 homes with a mix of residential accommodation to meet identified needs, including affordable housing and homes specifically for older people. This will include c.30 homes on land adjacent to Stanton Harcourt Road (subject to landscape impact and flood risk) and c.370 homes on land at Cogges Triangle (subject to landscape impact and surface water run-off)

b) development to be phased in accordance with the timing of provision of supporting infrastructure and facilities with the necessary improvements to the Shore's Green junction onto the A40 to be delivered prior to the completion of any housing on the Cogges Triangle part of the site;

c) the provision of other 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, including a particular emphasis on improving the linkages across the Windrush Valley into the town centre;

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

e) the provision of appropriate financial contributions towards primary and secondary education capacity enhancements;

f) biodiversity enhancements including arrangements for future maintenance;

g) provision of appropriate greenspace including allotments;

h) appropriate measures to mitigate traffic noise

i) appropriate measures to mitigate flood risk (including surface water run-off)

j) 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

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

North Witney Strategic Development Area (SDA) - 1,000 homes (Hailey Parish)

6.31 Land at North Witney which falls within Hailey Parish has a long planning history and has been considered for housing through a number of previous Local Plan Inquiries. The land lies between the Hailey Road and Woodstock Roads and is divided into the western part (49ha) and eastern part (7ha) by New Yatt Road and Woodstock Road.

6.32 Following the most recent Public Inquiry in 2004/2005, the Inspector concluded that the North Witney proposals (800 dwellings at that time) taken in the round and subject to the provision of the West End Link enabling the introduction of a new town bus service, would represent a sustainable urban extension.

6.33 He also regarded the proposals as acceptable in landscape terms and highlighted the advantages offered by the site in terms of fulfilling certain sustainability criteria as well as the opportunity to phase development. The site was not however allocated, with the Inspector preferring land at North Curbridge (now an existing commitment of 1,000 homes).

6.34 Given its past history, North Witney was identified as a potential option in early consultation stages of the Local Plan including the Preferred Approach (February 2010). The Preferred Approach consultation paper stated that:

'Land to the north of Witney has the potential to deliver additional housing in the longer term. This large area of farmland could accommodate a mix of uses including community facilities and is relatively accessible to the town centre'.

6.35 The document highlighted the potentially unacceptable traffic impact of development in the absence of the Cogges Link Road and/or the West End Link and also the need for any development in this area to address severe flooding problems with the potential to deliver a flood attenuation scheme to reduce flood risk in the Hailey Road corridor.

6.36 It also stated that:

'The site is an area of high landscape quality and forms part of the physical gap between Witney and Hailey, but is less prominent in wider views compared to land to the east. This more localised landscape impact would need to be addressed through provision of a positive landscape framework to create a new town edge'.

6.37 Following a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) report prepared in support of the draft Core Strategy (2011) the site was not allocated for development. The SA concluded that whilst the land at North Witney would have some positive impacts, it has more negative impacts than land to the west of Witney (which was subsequently allocated).

6.38 Land to the north of Witney was considered through a further Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and more detailed site assessment exercise prepared in support of the draft Local Plan (2012).

6.39 The SA highlighted a number of positives including the opportunity to provide a comprehensive mixed-use development, the potential benefits of a new river crossing for Witney (the West End Link) provision of a new primary school and the fact that the site is reasonably well-related to existing services and facilities (although not the town's main employment areas). Concerns were raised in relation to potential biodiversity and landscape impact with some uncertainty in relation to flood risk, employment provision and water resources.

6.40 The site assessment exercise highlighted the following issues:

Positives

  • Satisfactory access arrangements can be achieved (subject to extensive off-site infrastructure)
  • The site is reasonably well-related to existing services and facilities
  • Development offers the potential for flood alleviation measures supported in principle by the Environment Agency (EA)
  • No significant impact in terms of heritage assets
  • Provision of the West End Link (a second river crossing for Witney)
  • Developer commitment to sustainable development

Negatives

  • Risk and complexity associated with delivery including multiple land ownerships
  • Not well-related to Witney's main employment areas to the south and west of the town
  • Parts of the site are in the floodplain therefore sequentially less preferable to other options
  • Potential for significant landscape impact unless quantum of development reduced
  • Limited scope for future growth or reconfiguration
  • Viability potentially an issue if quantum of growth reduced to address landscape impact

6.41 Having regard to the proposed housing target at that time (5,500 homes) and the potential negatives highlighted above, the site was not allocated in the draft Local Plan (2012) although the route of the West End Link was safeguarded on the Policies Map.

6.42 In light of the increased housing requirement (9,450 homes) it has been necessary to re-appraise the merits of North Witney as a potential housing allocation including a fresh sustainability appraisal (SA) prepared by independent consultants.

6.43 Although the SA has highlighted a number of potential concerns including landscape impact, biodiversity and water resources, it has also highlights a number of positives including the provision of new housing, provision of supporting infrastructure and the provision of additional employment opportunities.

6.44 The key issues in relation to North Witney are considered to be as follows:

  • Traffic and transport
  • Landscape impact
  • Biodiversity and ecology
  • Flood risk
  • Deliverability and viability

6.45 These issues are briefly addressed below. Reference should also be made to the updated Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and site assessment matrix (available separately).

Traffic and transport

6.46 Like all major development proposals, the development of land at North Witney has the potential to have a significant impact in terms of traffic. This is a key consideration for further development in Witney given the existing congestion problems in and around the central core including Bridge Street.

6.47 The onus will therefore be on the developer to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the County Council as highway authority that the development (including any associated highway infrastructure improvements) is acceptable in transport terms, particularly if the smaller part of the site between New Yatt Road and Woodstock Road is to come forward prior to the West End Link and Northern Distributor Road (see below).

6.48 An essential pre-requisite of any strategic scale development at North Witney will be the delivery of the West End Link linking the A4095 (Mill Street) and the B4022 (West End/Hailey Road). This would provide a second river crossing and alternative to Bridge Street. The West End Link will need to be supported by a new northern distributor road linking the B4022 Hailey Road with the A4095 Woodstock Road, via New Yatt Road.

6.49 The Witney transport report prepared in support of the draft Local Plan (2012) demonstrated that both the West End Link and Northern Distributor Road would demonstrate some benefit in reducing traffic levels passing some of the more sensitive approaches to the Bridge Street/West End junction and also provide an alternate traffic route for trips to and from the surrounding area. These two schemes were however considered to offer a lesser degree of wider benefits when compared to the Shores Green slip road scheme.

6.50 The report duly recommended that the alignment of the West End Link should be protected to cater for longer-term growth envisaging that three strategic sites were unlikely to be promoted in the lifetime of the Local Plan.

Landscape Impact

6.51 Any large-scale development on the edge of a settlement is likely to have a significant impact in terms of landscape. The larger part of the north Witney site between Hailey Road and New Yatt Road is sensitive in landscape terms being typical of the more enclosed small scale wolds with farmland and farmsteads carved out of the old Wychwood Forest. The Witney Landscape Assessment (2007) identifies this area as having high landscape sensitivity and high local and district importance.

6.52 The smaller parcel of land between New Yatt Road and Woodstock Road is less sensitive falling within a flat area of simple character. The 2007 assessment identifies this area as being of low-sensitivity with low to moderate local and district importance.

6.53 In support of the draft Local Plan (2012) a further landscape report was prepared to assess the various site options under consideration at Witney and Carterton. The report considers the potential for up to 1,500 homes on land at North Witney.

6.54 It identifies that the North Witney site contributes to the rural landscape setting of Witney and that of the historic villages of Hailey and Poffley End and also to the visual separation of these settlements from Witney.

6.55 However, the existing northern edge of Witney is exposed with the built form detracting from the quality of the rural landscape and the townscape character of Witney and an acceptable form of development on this site has the potential to provide substantive improvements to the settlement pattern in North Witney and to the interface between the rural landscape and the town as well as delivering some of the landscape and visual objectives identified in the West Oxfordshire Landscape Assessment (1998) and the Witney Landscape Assessment (2007).

6.56 In relation to the smaller parcel of land between New Yatt Road and Woodstock Road, the report concludes that development would be acceptable in landscape and visual terms subject to a number of landscape design objectives.

6.57 With regard to the larger parcel of land between Hailey Road and New Yatt Road, the report states that the development as proposed (1,500 homes) would damage the landscape and visual separation of the historic settlements of Hailey and Poffley End from Witney and have a significant adverse impact on the settled ancient pastures with scattered farmsteads within a landscape pattern of woodland, hedgerows and small fields within Hailey Parish.

6.58 However, the report also identifies that the built form on the northern edge of Witney has a negative impact on both the rural landscape quality and the townscape character and although the local field pattern is largely intact, the immediate landscape and visual setting of Witney has been eroded.

6.59 As such the report concludes that provided a substantive landscape transition zone is retained next to Hailey/Poffley End, the larger parcel of land at North Witney could be developed on a smaller scale (to that being promoted) as an extension to the existing built form and without harm to the wider landscape. Estimated housing capacity across the whole site from a landscape perspective is identified at 750 - 850 homes.

6.60 The onus will therefore be on the developer to demonstrate that in landscape terms the site is capable of accommodating the 1,000 homes suggested in this consultation paper. The quantum of development is intended to strike a balance between the landscape sensitivities of the site and the cost associated with the extensive infrastructure needed to bring the site forward.

Biodiversity and Ecology

6.61 Biodiversity and ecology is an important consideration for the development of land at North Witney. Land immediately to the north of the site, both to the west and east of New Yatt Road, lies within the Wychwood and Evenlode Conservation Target Area.

6.62 Within the site itself, the hedgerows in the northern part are considered to be of local ecological importance; those in the south are poorer. The whole site is located within the Wychwood Project Area

6.63 The route of the proposed West End Link Road passes through an ecologically rich area; it lies within the Upper Windrush Conservation Target Area, containing Biodiversity Action Plan habitat; is within the Upper Windrush Meadow Ecological Alert Site (ecologically important, including for water voles) and the Windrush in Witney Project Area and trees within the southern section of the route are protected by Tree Preservation Orders.

6.64 The onus will therefore be on the developer to demonstrate that the potential impacts on biodiversity and ecology are minimised and that net gains are achieved where possible.

Flood Risk

6.65 The vast majority of the North Witney site is in Flood Zone 1 (low risk). A very small proportion of the site, close to Eastfield Road falls within Zone 2 (medium risk) and Zone 3 (high risk) and there is a flood warning area in the 'central valley' with a risk of surface water flooding. The North Witney site also forms part of the catchment area for the Hailey Road drain which has a history of significant flooding in the area.

6.66 The bulk of the route of the West End Link lies within Flood Zone 3 (high risk) with the remaining area in Flood Zone 2 (medium risk). Large areas are also at risk from surface water flooding.

6.67 In light of the issues outlined above, the developer will be required to demonstrate that a satisfactory solution can be found to address issues of surface-water run-off and other potential sources of flood risk.

6.68 Importantly the development of this site presents the opportunity not only to mitigate the impact of the development itself but also to address the existing flooding problems affecting the Hailey Road area. The Environment Agency has previously expressed support in principle for proposals to provide flood risk reduction through the development of land at North Witney subject to further discussions regarding the measures to achieve this.

6.69 In relation to the West End Link the EA has highlighted the need for more detailed flood risk assessment as well as avoiding an increase to the risk of flooding elsewhere.

Deliverability and Viability

6.70 The North Witney site is in multiple ownerships and given the extensive nature of the off-site infrastructure needed to bring the scheme forward (e.g. highways and flood mitigation) deliverability and viability are key considerations.

6.71 The proposed quantum of development at 1,000 homes is intended to strike a reasonable balance between the need to minimise the landscape impact of development and the need to ensure sufficient return to the developer in order to fund the infrastructure needed to make the development acceptable in planning terms.

6.72 The onus will be on the developer consortium to demonstrate that all necessary parts of the site (including that needed for the West End Link) are under their control and that the development is able to fund the infrastructure improvements that are identified as being necessary to support the development including highways, education, affordable housing, green infrastructure and so on. A robust delivery framework will be sought.

Summary

6.73 In light of the increased overall housing requirement, land at North Witney has been re-appraised and is considered to represent a sustainable development opportunity that should be included in the Local Plan on a phased basis (see below). The site offers a number of advantages including the fact it is reasonably well-related to existing services and facilities, would have no significant impact in terms of heritage assets and offers the potential to provide substantive improvements to the settlement pattern in North Witney and to the interface between the rural landscape and the town.

6.74 The development of this land also offers the potential to bring forward flood alleviation measures to improve the current situation for local residents in and around Hailey Road as well as the potential to deliver a second river crossing for Witney in the form of the West End Link, which as part of a package of transport improvements within the town (including the A40/Downs' Road junction and Shores Green Slip Roads) will provide benefits in terms of taking traffic away from the congested core around Bridge Street.

6.75 The site has a number of particular sensitivities that need to be addressed including flood risk, biodiversity and ecology but in overall terms is considered to warrant inclusion in the Local Plan to help meet the increased housing requirement. The proposed allocation is shown below (note: the extent of the developable area is indicative only).

Figure 6.6 - North Witney Strategic Development Area (SDA)

 

 

6.76 It is anticipated that the development will be phased with the smaller parcel of land between New Yatt Road and Woodstock Road able to come forward in the short term (subject to traffic impact). The site has few constraints and the delivery of 180 - 200 homes in the short-term would significantly boost the Council's 5-year housing land supply. It would also help to 'pump-prime' the funding needed to deliver the rest of the North Witney scheme.

6.77 The larger parcel of land between Hailey Road and New Yatt Road is expected to deliver 800 - 820 new homes (subject to landscape and traffic impact) but would be phased to come forward later in the plan period after 2021.

6.78 This phased approach will:

  • help to ensure that housing delivery is provided evenly across the whole of the Local Plan period;
  • allow time for the West and East Witney schemes (and associated infrastructure improvements) to come forward in advance (and thereby avoid market saturation in the Witney area); and
  • allow time for the West End Link element of the scheme to be phased in ahead of the majority of development coming forward

Draft Policy - North Witney Strategic Development Area (SDA)

Land to the north of Witney to accommodate a sustainable, integrated community that forms a positive addition to Witney, including:

a) about 1,000 homes with a mix of residential accommodation to meet identified needs, including affordable housing and homes specifically for older people. This will include c.180-200 homes on land between New Yatt Road and Woodstock Road and c.800 - 820 homes on land between Hailey Road and New Yatt Road

b) development on the larger part of the site between New Yatt Road and Woodstock Road to be phased to come forward in the period post-2021 in accordance with the timing of provision of supporting infrastructure and facilities including delivery of the West End Link and Northern Distributor Road;

c) the provision of other 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 including the town centre and other key destinations;

d) the provision of a new primary school on-site (1.5FE (including foundation stage) with 2FE core facilities to enable future expansion of the school together with financial contributions towards secondary school capacity as appropriate;

e) the provision of appropriate landscape improvements to mitigate the potential impact of development, including a positive landscape framework to create a new town edge;

f) biodiversity enhancements including arrangements for future maintenance;

g) provision of appropriate greenspace including allotments;

h) appropriate measures to mitigate flood risk (including surface water run-off)

i) 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

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

Alternative Options

6.79 There are two main alternative options for the expansion of Witney considered to date including land to the north east of Witney (north of Oxford Hill and east of Jubilee Way) and land to the south of Witney. These two options have been re-assessed through Sustainability Appraisal (SA) as well as the updated SHLAA (2014) and are not considered to represent suitable opportunities for new housing development.

Land South of Witney (Ducklington Parish and Curbridge Parish)

6.80 Land to the south of Witney which straddles the boundary of Ducklington and Curbridge Parishes was identified as a potential option during early consultation stages of the Local Plan (then Core Strategy) including the preferred approach (2010). A site of some 107 hectares was put forward by the landowners to include 1,750 dwellings, a primary school, community facilities and employment development. The site is shown on the plan below.

Figure 6.7 - South Witney Alternative Option

 

6.81 The preferred approach consultation was supported by a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) which highlighted a number of positive impacts including the potential for large-scale development including a mix of uses, a flat landscape with views generally screened by existing vegetation, reasonable access to major employment areas, potential to be served by a local bus service and the opportunity to provide significant new business space.

6.82 The SA also highlighted a number of negative impacts including the fact that the site is separated from Witney by the A40 and likely to result in unsustainable urban sprawl poorly integrated with existing communities, development would encourage car use rather than more sustainable means of transport, would add to congestion at the Ducklington Lane/A40 junction, could lead to coalescence of Witney, Curbridge and Ducklington, amenity concerns relating to the proximity of the sewage treatment works and abattoir, A40 traffic noise and the potential to encourage long-distance commuting by virtue of proximity to the A40 junction.

6.83 The site was subjected to further assessment through the SA report published in support of the draft Core Strategy (2011) which reaffirmed the findings of the 2010 assessment. The site was not identified in the draft Core Strategy (2011) or subsequent draft Local Plan (2012).

6.84 In light of the increased housing requirement land south of the A40 has been re-assessed through an independent Sustainability Appraisal (SA) published as part of this consultation. The SA report identifies a number of potentially positive and negative impacts.

6.85 On balance, the Council does not consider that the land should be allocated for development to meet the increased housing requirement. Particular concerns relate to the segregation of the site and the rest of Witney caused by the A40 which would act as a barrier to integration for new development in this location. There are also likely to be significant amenity impacts associated with some of the existing uses in this location.

Land to the North East of Witney (Witney Parish and South Leigh Parish)

6.86 Land to the north east of Witney which straddles the boundaries of Witney Parish and South Leigh Parish was identified as a potential option at the preferred approach stage (2010). The site is around 23 hectares in size and currently in agricultural use. The site is shown on the plan below.

Figure 6.8 - North East Witney Alternative Option

 

6.87 The preferred approach consultation was supported by a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) which highlighted a number of positive impacts including potentially good pedestrian and cycle access to the town centre, well located to existing schools, would make use of existing and proposed infrastructure on this side of the town and potential to be served by an extended local bus service.

6.88 A large number of negative impacts were however identified including severe landscape impact, development undermining the new edge of the town designed as part of Madley Park, encroaching onto the setting of Cogges Wood (ancient woodland) and being in close proximity to the Wychwood biodiversity target area. Furthermore, the site is isolated and separated by Jubilee Way and would be difficult to integrate new housing with the existing built area. It does not enjoy easy access to main bus routes, there is a relatively limited area available for development thereby limiting the potential for new community facilities and would be unlikely to attract new employment opportunities.

6.89 The site was subjected to further assessment through the SA report published in support of the draft Core Strategy (2011) which reaffirmed the findings of the 2010 assessment. The site was not identified in the draft Core Strategy (2011) or subsequent draft Local Plan (2012).

6.90 In light of the increased housing requirement land to the north east of Witney has been re-assessed through an independent Sustainability Appraisal (SA) published as part of this consultation. The SA report identifies a number of potentially positive and negative impacts.

6.91 On balance, the Council does not consider that the land should be allocated for development to meet the increased housing requirement. Particular concerns relate to the significant landscape impact that development in this location would have and the difficulty of achieving successful integration with the existing built area due to the separation caused by Jubilee Way.

Consultation Question 4) Witney Sub-Area

Do you support the overall level of housing provision identified for the Witney Sub-Area (3,550 new homes)? Please expand as necessary.

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Consultation Question 5) Witney Sub-Area

Do you support the draft allocation of land at East Witney for the provision of 400 homes? Please expand as necessary.

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Consultation Question 6) Witney Sub-Area

Do you support the draft allocation of land at North Witney for the phased provision of 1,000 homes with the majority (c.800) to come forward after 2021? Please expand as necessary.

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Consultation Question 7) Witney Sub-Area

Do you agree with the exclusion of the alternative site options to the south and north east of Witney? Please expand as necessary.

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Consultation Question 8) Witney Sub-Area

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

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No
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