Traffic concerns slam brakes on homes plan

Oxford Mail: Virginia Way residents are allowing themselves a small celebration after planning permission to build 160 houses on the field behind their homes was refused. Councillor Mike Badcock is at the front with wife, Cllr Marilyn Badcock centre. Buy this photo Virginia Way residents are allowing themselves a small celebration after planning permission to build 160 houses on the field behind their homes was refused. Councillor Mike Badcock is at the front with wife, Cllr Marilyn Badcock centre.

RESIDENTS were last night celebrating after controversial plans for 160 homes in Abingdon were thrown out.

Concerns over increased traffic put the skids under the housing development off Drayton Road and it was refused permission by planning officers.

County councillor for Abingdon Marilyn Badcock said: “This is a victory for all the local people who actually came out and put their views forward. Local opinion won out for once.”

Sheffield-based Hallam Land Management wanted to build a mixture of one- to five- bedroom homes, with 40 per cent affordable housing, on a field to the east of Drayton Road. But the plans caused anger over concerns the estate would clog roads and damage wildlife habitats.

Commuters said there were already delays of up to 45 minutes in Drayton Road.

Others raised concerns that the field was already prone to flooding, which could be worsened by the development. Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood organised a public meeting in November to discuss the plans.

At the time she said residents’ concerns had not been properly taken into account by the developer.

Last night Ms Blackwood said: “This is a victory for both local campaigners and for basic common sense.

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“We certainly need more affordable housing locally, and I fully appreciate the council’s difficulty in finding appropriate sites for development, but you can’t put the cart before the horse.

“It’s simple: infrastructure before expansion.”

Hallam said the estate would increase traffic by about 100 vehicles at peak times in Drayton Road.

Normally, a controversial application is decided by Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee.

But in this case the decision was delegated to head of planning Adrian Duffield and chairman of the planning committee Robert Sharp.

In his official refusal on Thursday, Mr Duffield agreed “the proposal would generate additional traffic movements on to Drayton Road which would lead to greater traffic” adding to “unacceptable”

levels of congestion.

Peter Dodd, 67, who lives in nearby Virginia Way with his wife Anne, said it was “not an occasion for Champagne”.

He added: “We are not surprised by the decision because opposition was strong.

“The plans were pretty awful but Hallam knew that and now they will go to appeal and say that the Vale does not have a current local housing plan. This is by no means finished.”

Hallam yesterday declined to discuss the decision.

TIMELINE

September, 2012:  Residents voice concerns
September: Hallam holds the first public exhibition of its plans for 170 houses
October: Hallam submits a revised application for 160 houses
November: MP Nicola Blackwood hosts a public meeting saying residents’ concerns have not been listened to
January: Vale head of planning Adrian Duffield

Comments (8)

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3:11pm Sat 26 Jan 13

steve king says...

Meanwhile, today (saturday) the traffic along the Drayton Rd was backed up, there is a queue along West Saint Helens, past the Anchor to the iron bridge, it took me 20 mins to travel the length of Ock St and the rest of the town was pretty much grid locked too!
I went to that public meeting and listened to the main objections, which were :- local flooding, severe traffic congestion, poor bus service, no doctors surgery, lack of community facilities, inadequate schooling, etc , etc, the list of grounds for objection was endless. But isn't that list in itself cause for a public meeting? let alone the prospect of more housing!
Meanwhile, today (saturday) the traffic along the Drayton Rd was backed up, there is a queue along West Saint Helens, past the Anchor to the iron bridge, it took me 20 mins to travel the length of Ock St and the rest of the town was pretty much grid locked too! I went to that public meeting and listened to the main objections, which were :- local flooding, severe traffic congestion, poor bus service, no doctors surgery, lack of community facilities, inadequate schooling, etc , etc, the list of grounds for objection was endless. But isn't that list in itself cause for a public meeting? let alone the prospect of more housing! steve king
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Sat 26 Jan 13

Abartonresident says...

Shame Oxford City Council don't give a **** about existing residents.
Shame Oxford City Council don't give a **** about existing residents. Abartonresident
  • Score: 0

3:05am Sun 27 Jan 13

Grunden Skip says...

RESIDENTS were last night celebrating after controversial plans for 160 homes in Abingdon were thrown out, meaning that no poor people will be living near them and bring down the value of their houses currently averaging £275,000. Now that would be a refreshingly honest report.
RESIDENTS were last night celebrating after controversial plans for 160 homes in Abingdon were thrown out, meaning that no poor people will be living near them and bring down the value of their houses currently averaging £275,000. Now that would be a refreshingly honest report. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

10:12am Sun 27 Jan 13

steve king says...

I read a report only a couple of years ago that stated some parts of this area were rated amongst the 25% most deprived areas in the country, with Literacy rates in with the worst 10 % !
160 new homes, (along with its 106 money) of which 40 % are much needed affordable ones, might just be the tipping point at which OCC would be forced to build a new school? it might also force council to act on the dreadful traffic jams? the NHS may just build some sort of surgery? it may prompt the Oxford Bus company to build a proper terminus? the builder may just build a new, much needed community centre?
As much as sympathise with the "nimbys" featured here, 160 house in 60 back yards may bring enormous benefit to what clearly has been a neglected part of Abingdon?
I read a report only a couple of years ago that stated some parts of this area were rated amongst the 25% most deprived areas in the country, with Literacy rates in with the worst 10 % ! 160 new homes, (along with its 106 money) of which 40 % are much needed affordable ones, might just be the tipping point at which OCC would be forced to build a new school? it might also force council to act on the dreadful traffic jams? the NHS may just build some sort of surgery? it may prompt the Oxford Bus company to build a proper terminus? the builder may just build a new, much needed community centre? As much as sympathise with the "nimbys" featured here, 160 house in 60 back yards may bring enormous benefit to what clearly has been a neglected part of Abingdon? steve king
  • Score: 0

10:29am Sun 27 Jan 13

steve king says...

And I forgot to mention that at the public meeting, there was a bit of a consensus among the experts suggesting that although the Vale planing committee would refuse planning, because the VWHDC had failed to put a housing plan in place and because of "Daves" obsession with opening up the green belt for housing, the developers would appeal, the Vale would not have the funding to challenge their appeal, so the builders would get their permission?
Playing devils advocat, wouldn't it be better if the residents formed a working party, (devoid of local politicians) and opened dialog with the developers to find common ground on which all parties could benefit from the development? or would they rather spend the next three years wasting time and money challenging a proposal which, by all accounts, will go ahead anyway?
And I forgot to mention that at the public meeting, there was a bit of a consensus among the experts suggesting that although the Vale planing committee would refuse planning, because the VWHDC had failed to put a housing plan in place and because of "Daves" obsession with opening up the green belt for housing, the developers would appeal, the Vale would not have the funding to challenge their appeal, so the builders would get their permission? Playing devils advocat, wouldn't it be better if the residents formed a working party, (devoid of local politicians) and opened dialog with the developers to find common ground on which all parties could benefit from the development? or would they rather spend the next three years wasting time and money challenging a proposal which, by all accounts, will go ahead anyway? steve king
  • Score: 0

4:40pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Feelingsmatter says...

"As much as sympathise with the "nimbys" featured here, 160 house in 60 back yards may bring enormous benefit to what clearly has been a neglected part of Abingdon?" Steve King. I usually agree with you Steve, but as history has proven again and again, affordable housing does not materialise as promised due to rising costs to the developer, or some such BS. I also highly doubt that any develop will voluntarily build a community centre, and as for a health centre, have you not heard that the NHS is in crisis? Plus threr remains the traffic issue, as you yourself pointed out. I'm not sure I understand your point; do you agree with the development or not?
"As much as sympathise with the "nimbys" featured here, 160 house in 60 back yards may bring enormous benefit to what clearly has been a neglected part of Abingdon?" Steve King. I usually agree with you Steve, but as history has proven again and again, affordable housing does not materialise as promised due to rising costs to the developer, or some such BS. I also highly doubt that any develop will voluntarily build a community centre, and as for a health centre, have you not heard that the NHS is in crisis? Plus threr remains the traffic issue, as you yourself pointed out. I'm not sure I understand your point; do you agree with the development or not? Feelingsmatter
  • Score: 0

6:02pm Mon 28 Jan 13

steve king says...

Hi F.M, Nicola Blackwood said “It’s simple: infrastructure before expansion.” I spent the first ten years of my life (in the 50's) living along the Drayton Rd, Tithe farm was a corn field, Virgian Way was allotments, Baker Road was an open sewer etc and while we've seen that area expand out of all proportion, the infrastructure has not grown or improved at the same rate (if at all) For sure the NHS are strapped for cash, as is OCC and just about every other agency that could, funds permitting, improve the place, so I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it looks like the developers will get there planning (todays O/Mail carries a similar story of the vale refusing a developer planning, but they went to appeal and won) so would it be in everones interest to accept it now and try to turn the development into the broader communities advantage? or wait for the inevitable, by which time the developer will be so brassed off with the residents and council that he'll be reluctant to give anything? It's also worth remembering that when a development of similar size was built a few years ago in the same area (Caldecott Chase) there wasn't the objections or media coverage that this has had, but then again it was built smack in the middle of what is mostly social housing in Saxton Rd, Blacknell Rd and Caldecotte Rd !
I would hate to think our politicians are treating one part of the same district differently, but?
Hi F.M, Nicola Blackwood said “It’s simple: infrastructure before expansion.” I spent the first ten years of my life (in the 50's) living along the Drayton Rd, Tithe farm was a corn field, Virgian Way was allotments, Baker Road was an open sewer etc and while we've seen that area expand out of all proportion, the infrastructure has not grown or improved at the same rate (if at all) For sure the NHS are strapped for cash, as is OCC and just about every other agency that could, funds permitting, improve the place, so I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it looks like the developers will get there planning (todays O/Mail carries a similar story of the vale refusing a developer planning, but they went to appeal and won) so would it be in everones interest to accept it now and try to turn the development into the broader communities advantage? or wait for the inevitable, by which time the developer will be so brassed off with the residents and council that he'll be reluctant to give anything? It's also worth remembering that when a development of similar size was built a few years ago in the same area (Caldecott Chase) there wasn't the objections or media coverage that this has had, but then again it was built smack in the middle of what is mostly social housing in Saxton Rd, Blacknell Rd and Caldecotte Rd ! I would hate to think our politicians are treating one part of the same district differently, but? steve king
  • Score: 0

6:24pm Wed 30 Jan 13

Worried Cat says...

So many of you seem to be completely missing the point about flooding. The field proposed for development has lakes of standing water in it after it has rained. (It doesn't even have to be particularly heavy rain). The field behind it has been completely under water 4-5 times in the last 10 years. How would the people who are so quick to call us NIMBYs like to live with the worry of their homes being flooded by rainwater running off from the proposed new development.
So many of you seem to be completely missing the point about flooding. The field proposed for development has lakes of standing water in it after it has rained. (It doesn't even have to be particularly heavy rain). The field behind it has been completely under water 4-5 times in the last 10 years. How would the people who are so quick to call us NIMBYs like to live with the worry of their homes being flooded by rainwater running off from the proposed new development. Worried Cat
  • Score: 0

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