May 182021
 

 

ASHWELLS 21/05333/ADRC18 May 2021

Letter addressed to : Chris Steuart, Major Development Team Leader for Planning, Growth & Sustainability in the Wycombe Area.

Dear Mr Steuart,

I am writing to you as Chair of the Ashwells Forum Working Group because we have a number of significant concerns and objections relating to the submission of the application for approval of details reserved by condition for Ashwells Field, submitted by Savills, acting as agents for Buckinghamshire Council, Property and Assets Directorate.

Our understanding is that according to the Decision Notice dated 12 March 2020 for Planning Consent Ref. 18/05002/R9OUTE, it is a requirement that Conditions 4 (a Phasing Plan for the site) and 5 (Masterplan, Design Framework & Phasing Report) are discharged before any further planning and design work can be submitted.

We note that to date there has been no determination of this application.  We further understand from the ‘Comments’ tab on your website that the Council does not intend to approve or refuse the application, and that apparently comments are not invited.  We are unclear as to whether this unexplained change to the normal procedure will result in the discharge of conditions being delegated to you as Case Officer or will be submitted to the Planning Committee for approval.  In either case, we respectfully request that you take into account the following concerns and objections when reviewing this application. 

(The page numbers in brackets below refer to those in the ‘Masterplan, Design Framework, and Phasing Report’)

Site Constraints – Utilities (P4) – Wording needs to reflect the essential further work required to determine workable routings of services diversions, particularly the water and foul water mains. which are liable to affect layout and perhaps even housing numbers.  In this regard, would it not be prudent to link the discharge of Conditions 4 and 5 to the discharge of Conditions 28 (drainage strategy) and 29 (water supply infrastructure) which require the approval of the planning authority in consultation with Thames Water?

Preservation of green infrastructure (P6 & P8) – Graphic depictions of the copse are inaccurate. Also, the siting of two houses appears to be in conflict with the copse boundary, and rerouting of the footpath through the copse (P12) is disputed by the immediate neighbours.  Reference should be made to the Development Brief (Fig.5.31) which depicts the copse as ‘existing woodland to be retained’, and therefore rerouting of any services should take this into account.   Nor is it in accordance with the provisions of the Local Plan relating to woodland (HW6, Fig.12) which depicts the copse in full as land not intended for development.

Communal Spaces and Frontages (P6) – There is strong opposition from the neighbouring properties to a clearing at Carter Walk entry to the site.  It is inaccurate to state that this followed “wider community consultation” (P7-C and P8-3).

Car parking (P7) – More detailed information needs to be provided on the breakdown and distribution of parking spaces.  No parking information is provided on P12 as indicated in the covering letter. 

Site Analysis (P5) – This is not a site analysis, but is descriptions of schemes prepared by 3 previous architects, and not relevant to discharge of Condition 5

Masterplan Proposals (P7) – Townhouses are not appropriate in a village context; “massing is rooted within a more historic tradition of architecture…etc” is vague and unhelpful, and would be more readily understood if accompanied by examples. 

Community Consultation (P8) – Consultation with the local community has not been ‘regular’ as the note suggests.

Masterplan Typologies (P15) – The numbers on the list of house types do not tally with those on the colour-coded sketch.  Houses at the north end of the site fall into the category of “generally 2.5 storeys” (coloured purple), in conflict with the Development Brief which limits building height to 2 storeys where the new houses sit on higher ground.

Precedent and Architectural Principles (P16) – Reference images selected are not always directly appropriate or helpful; use of 3-storey examples is misleading.

OTHER RELEVANT COMMENTS

Basketball court – There is divided opinion on the relative merits of a basketball court and allotments. 

Custom & Self Build Units (P14) – More detailed information required on numbers and spread

Discount Market Sale – No information provided on this vital component of the scheme

Design Code – Approval required prior to Reserved Matters submissions

Trees – Reminder to the applicant that it is a requirement of the green strategy stated in the Wycombe Local Plan to provide a leafy canopy over at least 25% of the site (Policy DM34, 3(b), and where existing trees have significant amenity value TPOs should be considered (6.150).  The current leafy canopy is only about 10% – less than 2 acres (incl.1.1 acres in the copse) in a whole site of 18.8 acres.   

In conclusion, it would be useful to have the Planning Officer’s definition of what constitutes a ‘Detailed Masterplan’, as there are several important issues, as outlined above, which are not covered in sufficient detail.

We look forward to receiving your positive response regarding our comments on this application.

Comments by the Ashwells Forum Working Group on the emerging Ashwells Masterplan 

ASHWELLS 21/05333/ADRC

      18 May 2021

Dear Mr Steuart,

I am writing to you as Chair of the Ashwells Forum Working Group because we have a number of significant concerns and objections relating to the submission of the application for approval of details reserved by condition for Ashwells Field, submitted by Savills, acting as agents for Buckinghamshire Council, Property and Assets Directorate.

Our understanding is that according to the Decision Notice dated 12 March 2020 for Planning Consent Ref. 18/05002/R9OUTE, it is a requirement that Conditions 4 (a Phasing Plan for the site) and 5 (Masterplan, Design Framework & Phasing Report) are discharged before any further planning and design work can be submitted.

We note that to date there has been no determination of this application.  We further understand from the ‘Comments’ tab on your website that the Council does not intend to approve or refuse the application, and that apparently comments are not invited.  We are unclear as to whether this unexplained change to the normal procedure will result in the discharge of conditions being delegated to you as Case Officer or will be submitted to the Planning Committee for approval.  In either case, we respectfully request that you take into account the following concerns and objections when reviewing this application. 

(The page numbers in brackets below refer to those in the ‘Masterplan, Design Framework, and Phasing Report’)

Site Constraints – Utilities (P4) – Wording needs to reflect the essential further work required to determine workable routings of services diversions, particularly the water and foul water mains. which are liable to affect layout and perhaps even housing numbers.  In this regard, would it not be prudent to link the discharge of Conditions 4 and 5 to the discharge of Conditions 28 (drainage strategy) and 29 (water supply infrastructure) which require the approval of the planning authority in consultation with Thames Water?

Preservation of green infrastructure (P6 & P8) – Graphic depictions of the copse are inaccurate. Also, the siting of two houses appears to be in conflict with the copse boundary, and rerouting of the footpath through the copse (P12) is disputed by the immediate neighbours.  Reference should be made to the Development Brief (Fig.5.31) which depicts the copse as ‘existing woodland to be retained’, and therefore rerouting of any services should take this into account.   Nor is it in accordance with the provisions of the Local Plan relating to woodland (HW6, Fig.12) which depicts the copse in full as land not intended for development.

Communal Spaces and Frontages (P6) – There is strong opposition from the neighbouring properties to a clearing at Carter Walk entry to the site.  It is inaccurate to state that this followed “wider community consultation” (P7-C and P8-3).

Car parking (P7) – More detailed information needs to be provided on the breakdown and distribution of parking spaces.  No parking information is provided on P12 as indicated in the covering letter. 

Site Analysis (P5) – This is not a site analysis, but is descriptions of schemes prepared by 3 previous architects, and not relevant to discharge of Condition 5

Masterplan Proposals (P7) – Townhouses are not appropriate in a village context; “massing is rooted within a more historic tradition of architecture…etc” is vague and unhelpful, and would be more readily understood if accompanied by examples. 

Community Consultation (P8) – Consultation with the local community has not been ‘regular’ as the note suggests.

Masterplan Typologies (P15) – The numbers on the list of house types do not tally with those on the colour-coded sketch.  Houses at the north end of the site fall into the category of “generally 2.5 storeys” (coloured purple), in conflict with the Development Brief which limits building height to 2 storeys where the new houses sit on higher ground.

Precedent and Architectural Principles (P16) – Reference images selected are not always directly appropriate or helpful; use of 3-storey examples is misleading.

OTHER RELEVANT COMMENTS

Basketball court – There is divided opinion on the relative merits of a basketball court and allotments. 

Custom & Self Build Units (P14) – More detailed information required on numbers and spread

Discount Market Sale – No information provided on this vital component of the scheme

Design Code – Approval required prior to Reserved Matters submissions

Trees – Reminder to the applicant that it is a requirement of the green strategy stated in the Wycombe Local Plan to provide a leafy canopy over at least 25% of the site (Policy DM34, 3(b), and where existing trees have significant amenity value TPOs should be considered (6.150).  The current leafy canopy is only about 10% – less than 2 acres (incl.1.1 acres in the copse) in a whole site of 18.8 acres.   

In conclusion, it would be useful to have the Planning Officer’s definition of what constitutes a ‘Detailed Masterplan’, as there are several important issues, as outlined above, which are not covered in sufficient detail.

We look forward to receiving your positive response regarding our comments on this application.

Yours sincerely
Miles Green

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