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PLANNING APPLICATIONS

Planning Applications currently under consideration. Further details can be found on the WODC Planning portal 

Woodley’s Estate Planning Applications 24/0/042/ FUL & 24/01042/ FUL

3rd July 2024
Wootton Parish Council’s Comments in regard to Woodley’s Estate Planning
Applications 24/0/042/ FUL & 24/01042/ FUL

WPC does not object to the majority of this application because we believe the development of Woodleys will provide exciting local economic and social
opportunities including employment. We also find the design and materials appear to be sympathetic to this important, period property located near to the World Heritage site of Blenheim Palace and the ANOB, the Cotswolds. It will also use greener energy sources.
However, we would like to raise the following issues of concern and would like these points to be made conditions of any planning consent.
Safeguarding Areas of Historic Importance
Historic England’s scheduled monument Grim's Dyke lies 120m east of the house, which survives as a low raised rampart. The Portable Antiquities Scheme recorded finds from the Roman to Post-medieval periods from the vicinity of the house. We therefore ask that the applicant complies with the requests made in regard to this application by Victoria Green, Planning Archaeologist, Oxfordshire County Council Archaeological Services in her letter 24.06.2024 ref 24/01041/FUL.
Environmental Protection from Slape Hill Waste Site
Although Slape Hill Quarry Waste site is now owned by Glympton Estates, we would like to remind parties that the waste contractor was heavily fined in 2019 by the Environment Agency for breeching its permit terms and that the site requires careful management and monitoring. In addition, WPC has asked that Japanese Knotweed growing on the site near to the A44 gates be removed professionally. We request that the applicant liaises with WODC Senior Environmental Health Officer, Jackie McLaren, Wootton Parish Council and Glympton Estates to ensure that Woodleys is protected from potential harmful gases, contamination and Japanese Knotweed.
Change of Use of Woodleys House From Residential to Combined Residential,
Events and Visitor Accommodation Use \& Bell Barn and Modern Barns

WPC does not object to the change of use from a private residential house with farm buildings to an events & private hire venue. However, we do seek more clarification in regard to “Sui Generis.” As this planning definition covers a wide range of uses from a garage to a casino, we would be grateful for more clarity in regard to future uses of Woodley House, Bell Barn and Modern Barns. WPC would not object to weddings, private house hire or a spa but would object to a nightclub or casino due to being located so near to other premises where late night transport and noise could have a detrimental effect. For example, the Duke of Marlborough Hotel located nearby, by Judds Garage on the A44/B4437 crossroads will have guests staying overnight.
Access & Transport
Gate 3
In the applicant’s Transport Assessment Report by SLR we would argue that Gate 3 could be considered as a concealed entrance with drivers heading on the A44 towards Chipping Norton focussing on the nearby hazard bend road sign. We request that this entrance junction be widened for safer access and that there are clear warning signs for the Gate 3 turning entrance shown before turning into it.
A44/B4437Cross Road
We note that the applicant does not consider this junction/cross road to be
dangerous and that that most road accidents and one fatality were largely “due to driver error.” We would strongly refute this. This junction is notoriously difficult for drivers and pedestrians to understand and navigate due to the multiple directions that traffic is travelling including from both directions on the A44, from the two Duke of Marlborough Bus Stops on both sides of the A44, from the junction road to Wootton, from the “car park” opposite Judds Garage, from Judds Garage, from the Duke of Marlborough Hotel and the B4437 junction turn. WPC and other stakeholders active in the VTN (Village Travel Network) are currently in discussions with various stakeholders looking to get traffic lights, a safe pedestrian footpath, bike path and covered bus stops and a safe parking and drop off point. We request that
the applicant participates to help with these various LTN issues and improve road safety.
Sustainable Transport
We were disappointed that the SLR report concludes that “sustainable transport options within the vicinity of the site are limited due to its rural nature and location. As such the primary mode of travel for any person accessing the site is likely to be the use of a private vehicle.” The applicant must liaise with WPC and the local VTN to explore opportunities with sustainable transport including the development of the car park opposite Judds Garage and a better bus service. In addition, we would like the applicant to take active measures for the use of electric bikes and an electric bus shuttle.
Footpaths

We believe there are opportunities to develop more footpaths to make walking and cycling safer and would expect the applicant to support such VTN initiatives along with other stakeholders.
Public Transport Accessibility
Other developments of this nature have provided shuttle bus services for staff. We would like a condition of this development to include working with the local community to offer transport and to work with the local community bus providers if possible Although the applicant has identified the only bus service on the A44, the S3, it is important to know that the buses only runs hourly in the evenings with a reduced service at the weekends. We would like the applicant to explore other options. For example, Estelle Manor provides a shuttle bus for staff in North Leigh and subsidises the S7 bus service to stop near Estelle Manor for staff. Blenheim is supporting various VTN initiatives and encourages visitors to come by bus with an admission discount.
Noise Abatement & Light Pollution
WPC noted in the applicant’s Noise Impact Assessment Report there were 3 Noise Monitoring Positions. We noted that the report took into account the potential impact of noise on Woodleys Cottages and Grims Dyke Farm as residential housing but did not appear to assess noise in relation to the thatched cottage near to the Duke of Marlborough hotel, the World Heritage site Blenheim Palace and wildlife which could also be impacted negatively by noise. WPC requests a 4th Noise Monitoring site, near to the Duke of Marlborough Hotel and thatched cottage to monitor noise and if necessary, take noise mitigation measures. We also request that the proposed Energy Centre does not create noise pollution.

WPC has not been able to identify a biodiversity/nature survey for this application, but we do have local knowledge. Wootton parish has an abundance of barn owls, red kites, moths, water fowl, hares and rare fauna etc. We also have every species of native bat. WPC ask that the applicants’ proposed events and associated noise and light levels be considered in the context of protecting our natural habitat and wildlife.
Dark Skies
The parish of Wootton benefits from Dark Skies, we do not have street lighting and the community could enjoy the unusual Northern Lights earlier this year. We are in the process of applying for Dark Skies status. The applicant’s outdoor lighting plan
does raise concern, especially in regard to the proposed lighting on the driveway to Gate 3 which, on paper it appears to be more like lighting on an aircraft runway. We believe that this will have an adverse effect on wildlife such as the barn owls, moths etc. This reflects recent comments made in the West Oxfordshire District Council Local Plan 2041 “Several comments highlight the significance of maintaining dark skies and tranquility as important aspects of environmental health, with suggestions for sensor-based or minimal lighting policies, and the potential identification and protection of dark sky areas to benefit both human well-being and wildlife” WPC therefore asks for more detailed information in regard to the proposed types of outdoor lighting to be used and would seek, minimal wildlife friendly lighting.
We welcome that the applicants plan to have a “residential liaison officer” and would find this very helpful and look forward to meeting that person.

Planning Design Guidelines

Wootton Conservation Area Map

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