PLANS to build 37 homes on the edge of ancient woodland previously quashed by the High Court have hit a stumbling block.

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

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

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

Read again: Homes on edge of ancient woodland set for final approval

The approval of conditions, including specification details, a surface water drainage scheme and construction management plan, have however been refused.

The design, demolition and construction of trees was another condition refused.

A refusal notice read: “The council is not in a position to discharge any of the conditions because there are discrepancies and omissions on the submitted plans and information.”

Upon consultation for the discharge of conditions, WODC’s assistant biodiversity officer Esther Frizell-Armitage said in her report: “The biodiversity management plan has been submitted and is dated 2015, and therefore it is unclear whether this report has been updated since the planning application was approved.

“An ancient woodland is located adjacent to the western side boundary.

“I understand that a five-metre buffer is proposed and that this was agreed within the approved planning application.

“However, in order to protect the woodland, a number of measures should be taken and these should be identified within the management plan.

“For example, a robust boundary to the rear gardens will need to be implemented, such as a stone wall rather than a fence.

“There is also little detail to explain how the occupiers of the development will be prevented from entering the ancient woodland and the specific measures to be taken should be detailed.”

Oxford Mail: The proposed development site at Rushy Bank near CharlburyThe proposed development site at Rushy Bank near Charlbury

Jim Clemence, from Friends of the West Oxfordshire Cotswolds, said refusal of the conditions was a ‘positive step’.

An objection comment from the group read: “This development will have a significant direct and indirect impact on this woodland area and its habitats, as we pointed out at the time of the applications for which there is no suitable compensation.

“Occupation of this development will have a significant impact on the woodland through light, noise, sound and air pollution, which the buffer zones will not in any way adequately mitigate.”

Oxford Mail: Felling notice from Cornbury ParkFelling notice from Cornbury Park

Felling at the site began three weeks ago with a notice from Cornbury Park stating: “The poplar trees in this woodland have reached the end of their growing cycle.

“This area will be replanted with native trees and thorns.”

To view the 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.