PLANS for 37 homes on the edge of ancient woodland previously quashed by the High Court are on the brink of final approval.

In July 2017, a judge revoked planning consent for the development at Rushy Bank, just outside of Charlbury.

West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) approved the development in November 2015, however the decision was successfully challenged by conservationists following strong resistance.

A High Court judge ruled that the planning permission should be quashed and the council pay The Friends of the Evenlode Valley’s costs.

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The application was however reapproved by WODC, subject to a legal agreement, in January 2020.

The final stages of approving the development are now close to completion, with the approval of conditions set to come before WODC.

Those conditions include specification details, a construction traffic management plan, surface water drainage scheme and construction management plan.

The design, demolition and construction of trees is another condition set to be discharged.

Campaigners say the development is so close to the edge of ancient woodland that there will be ‘aggressive management of the border of the woodland’ and that construction and ultimate occupation will have a ‘severe impact on woodland wildlife’.

An environmental management plan, prepared by the developer to identify specific environmental issues associated with Rushy Bank, says the site is ‘considered to have moderate ecological value’.

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The report, dated September 29, adds that potential impacts on habitats and species have been considered and a ‘strategy of mitigations and enhancements proposed’.

The environmental management plan adds: “Before plant or equipment is permitted on site, protective fencing should be erected to protect all trees, or groups of trees, which are to be retained.

“Nearly all trees are outside the actual site boundary but the suggestion is to use a 10 metre protection zone offset from the trunks of any trees to be retained.

“Any damage to protective barriers or accidental damage to retained trees must be reported to the site manager immediately.

“Works occurring in the vicinity must cease immediately until adequate protection measures are rectified.”

Friends of the West Oxfordshire Cotswolds wrote to WODC in May, to raise concerns about the development.

However, in a response, WODC said its position was ‘unchanged’ and that the local authority had ‘resolved to support the development’.

Rushy Bank likes in the Evenlode valley in the Cotswolds Area of Natural Beauty, 400 metres from the edge of Charlbury.

To view the planning application for the discharge of conditions, use the reference number 21/03266/CND on the WODC planning portal.

The original planning application can be viewed using the reference 15/03099/FUL.