Blenheim development and lorries

Rosemary Bennett
👍 1

Fri 26 Nov, 21:04

Thanks Gareth, but I’ve done my bit on here. I was just very sorry to think that another little neighbourhood is in the early stages of what ours went through fairly recently, and the amount of distress that it will cause.

Gareth Epps
👍 1

Thu 25 Nov, 09:26

I suggest you take that up with the relevant parties.  The Town Council was not involved in that discussion, nor was it invited to be.

It is clearly unsatisfactory for the reasons you state.

Rosemary Bennett
👍

Thu 25 Nov, 08:59

Thanks for the update Gareth, although this doesn’t sound greatly reassuring for the residents of Melody House and lower Sheep Street. The noise of all the grinding and shuddering of the various enormous HGVs involved is nerve-wracking and it is inevitable that this reversing plan will be a recurring interruption and a danger for quite a long time to come.

Gareth Epps
👍 4

Thu 25 Nov, 07:44

The site has this week received a visit from planning enforcement officers.

It was made clear that the use of Fishers Lane by construction lorries was unacceptable.  If it is impossible for lorries to turn right onto Hixet Wood, they are to turn under appropriate supervision using the Sheep Street/Fishers Lane turn as a last resort.

The Town Council discussed this last night and noted that had Blenheim done as they were supposed to do and notified residents before the start of works, stating that they would need an area free of parked cars, none of the problems would have happened.  We would like to be notified if there are pictures of any future breaches of the planning conditions.

vicky burton
👍 14

Fri 19 Nov, 10:53

I work as a Health and Safety Consultant for many construction companies. I hasten to add I am absolutely nothing to do with this project, nor do I live in Hixet Wood so have no bias. I'm just going to state the facts as they stand from a safety in construction point of view:

There will be a Construction Phase Plan- This will state the access & egress routes & banksman use etc. It will state the maximum size of vehicle than can gain access etc. 

The Site Manager is  responsible for ensuring that this plan is strictly adhered to. 

As you are talking about matters of safety, regarding these vehicles; the Health & Safety Executive are actually the legal enforcers. They even have the power to shut sites with immediate effect if they deem a serious & imminent danger etc.

James Meek
👍 5

Fri 19 Nov, 08:27

The offending vehicles are owned by Earthline Limited and LA Lockhart.  I have registration numbers and will be reporting these offences to the authorities.

Matt pearce
👍 1

Thu 18 Nov, 21:17

Gareth thanks very much for your input fully appreciated nice to chat enjoy your evening 😁

Gareth Epps
👍 4

Thu 18 Nov, 21:12

Matt Pearce - let me try and explain this to you in words you can understand.

the only legally authorised route for HGVs (under the maximum size permitted for this development) is Hixet Wood, as agreed in a legally binding planning condition.


If the site has failed to arrange for vehicles to legally enter or leave the site, no vehicle can enter or leave the site.

If any vehicle enters or leaves the site illegally, the law has been broken.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Being asked to break the law does not make it any better to break the law.  Just because the law stops you doing what you want, is not an acceptable reason to break the law.

The developer, the (only apparent) member of staff on the site and the planning authority have all been made aware of their legal responsibilities.

Apologies if this is too difficult to understand.

Matt pearce
👍 1

Thu 18 Nov, 20:53

As you say Gareth running the risk of repeating myself the authorised route that you talk about clearly wasn’t a viable option for the driver at that time so what was he supposed to do?reverting back to my earlier comment he most likely used the only option available to him at that time which again to the best of my knowledge was to use the shortest route out of the weight limit after doing whatever it was he was doing being a delivery or collection which in my opinion and it is only my opinion does form the authorisation of entering the weight limited area in the first instance and in response to father Clive dytor are you sure that the lorry entered via sheep street surely not as that would bring you from the opposite side of the authorised route!

Charlie M
👍 2

Thu 18 Nov, 20:49 (last edited on Fri 19 Nov, 08:50)

It seems to me that the point is being missed here...

My understanding is that it is a condition of the planning permission for the vanda... sorry... development on Hixet Wood that vehicles enter and leave the site via Hixet Wood. Therefore if they are using Fishers Lane, Sheep Street or Pooles Lane, they are in breach of the conditions under which planning consent was granted and thus acting illegally. 

Of course, whether they would be still acting illegally if they used helicopters is another matter altogether...

Father Clive Dytor
👍 5

Thu 18 Nov, 20:29

I say Mass every day in St Teresa’s and am there at about 8.30 am. This morning I watched a heavy lorry grinding its way down Sheep street and then crunching up Fishers Lane, followed by others. Please excuse me for being a simple country priest, but why oh why are these vehicles allowed to run roughshod through our town? And for whose benefit? Young couples desperate to start a home? Charlbury  is currently being eaten out by air B and B.rentals. At this rate we will be another Great Tew…a ghost town.

Gareth Epps
👍 2

Thu 18 Nov, 20:13

Dear oh dear.

At the risk of repeating myself, authorisation does not involve using an unauthorised route, in just the same way that it doesn’t involve driving into a building and knocking it down just because you’ve been told to do so.

Matt pearce
👍

Thu 18 Nov, 19:57

I think your beginning to see the point now after all the drivers authorised purpose was to carry out there delivery or collection.

Gareth Epps
👍

Thu 18 Nov, 19:20

The only person missing the point is the person who doesn’t understand access is for an authorised purpose, and hasn’t read the thread.

Matt pearce
👍

Thu 18 Nov, 19:18

Gareth I must say I think you might be missing the point regarding the weight limit issue if as it states on the signage relating to weight limits around the town centre except for access with the exception of the one over the river bridge which to the best of my knowledge states maximum gross weight (MGW) therefore any vehicle exceeding that weight is 100% breaking the law that I completely agree with but as I said in my earlier comment the signs that cover the town centre allow vehicles in excess of that weight to still enter that area to carry out there work, I feel a good example of this is central Oxford that is basically one big weight limit so from what your saying says to me that there is a large amount of illegal activity taking place on a daily basis just servicing central Oxford which I must admit I find very hard to believe but that’s only my opinion.

Gareth Epps
👍 1

Thu 18 Nov, 18:56

If you break the law, you break the law.   It is simple.  Ignorance is no excuse.  If you are told to use an unauthorised access, it doesn’t authorise or legitimise the access, in the same way that if you are told to put nails on a road (to use a topical example), it doesn’t make it any less wrong.

In this situation, the breach is clearly the responsibility of the developers.  To demonstrate the breach, photographic evidence is encouraged.  The wonders of modern technology are such that they add a date stamp.

In this case, Earthline would be entitled to pass on any losses on to whoever they are contracted to.  The developer is Blenheim, so all routes lead to them.

Matt pearce
👍

Thu 18 Nov, 18:31

Thank you for your response Gareth I do however disagree with your claim on it being illegal for the vehicle to use fishers lane due to the weight limit that is imposed on the town centre due to the signs clearly stating “except for access” which to the best of my knowledge allows the driver to enter that area to load or unload and exit via the shortest route available due to the weight limit and not being able to make the right turn out of the site seems to be the logical way of doing it due to the one way system that is in operation. I know you said it’s stated in the planning condition that vehicles must use hixet wood as entry and exit to this development but I very much doubt that the driver/drivers have access to this therefore I feel that a lot of the frustration is being unfairly directed towards them when really it should be taken up with the site developers.

Susie Burnett
👍 2

Thu 18 Nov, 17:56

I emailed Emily Rogers a complaint based on my note on the Forum on Wednesday and she replied asking whether she can forward it to the construction company. I hope this means that she will then deal with it as part of her responsibilities as 'Enforcement Investigation Officer', rather than simply putting me in direct contact with them!

Gareth Epps
👍 1

Thu 18 Nov, 17:33 (last edited on Thu 18 Nov, 17:43)

Matt - please see the original post, directly quoting the planning condition that the only permitted route for HGVs servicing the development is Hixet Wood.  The driver was perfectly courteous; it was not his fault that he was following dangerous and misleading instructions.  It is the responsibility of the developer to follow the planning conditions they themselves set out, as everybody else in this thread has pointed out.  That includes them liaising with Hixet Wood residents and potentially discussing how they could get vehicles in and out more easily,  (See Steve Jones’ quote about the requirement for a banksman - also not being followed)

As with the rest of the town centre, Fishers Lane is subject to a 7.5tonne weight limit, so this use of this narrow road was illegal.  I posted last month a link with an update on how to report breaches of these limits: see https://www.charlbury.info/news/3670

There were three residents, by the way.  Two women and a man.

Matt pearce
👍

Thu 18 Nov, 17:17

Gareth could you possibly elaborate on your claim that the earthline vehicle was illegally using fishers lane please,I’m sorry but I don’t really see how this is illegal?Also I myself witnessed yourself stood in the road photographing/videoing the vehicle on its exit along with two pedestrians stood on the footpath personally I don’t deem that a small crowd but then we all have different takes on such things also to call it a spectacle really,is that appropriate it appeared to me that the driver done his best to be as courteous as possible on exiting the site and to say that he had been instructed to leave that way is that what was said?or do you think it was a more viable option for the vehicle to turn that way as turning right may simply not have been an option due to the other vehicles that were already parked opposite. I look forward to hearing your response.

Brian Murray
👍 1

Thu 18 Nov, 17:00

It might be interesting to have a look at the Blenheim Senior Management Team; https://www.blenheim.org/aboutus/smt/

After which a few emails to Messrs Hare, File and Flint might be called for. We should make them very aware of the level of discontent there is here regarding the way things are being handled at the Hixet Wood site. If they show no concern, we can bombard the duke.

Charlie M
👍 1

Thu 18 Nov, 16:36

Rosemary, a couple of hours ago I got an identical email to yours. I fear this may mean that someone is sat in WODC's offices just copying and pasting replies into emails as they come in. 

I hope someone will prove me wrong, but I fear the opposite. It seems that round here, it's a case of "What Blenheim, wants, Blenheim gets... including this *wretched* development.

Maybe we need some forelock-tugging classes...

Rosemary Bennett
👍 1

Thu 18 Nov, 16:05

Gareth, Brian, I also saw one of those Earthline vehicles in Fishers Lane earlier on. The driver tried initially to turn left into Pooles Lane, then realised he wasn’t going to get round, and then turned right onto Dancers Hill.

I sent an email to the Enforcement Officer at WODC to explain what was happening, and to ask whether she had actually visited the site,  and I got a speedy response, saying this:

“Thank you for your email

I can confirm that I will be the investigating officer for this case

Reference 21/00141/PENF

I am in conversations with the site Manager and will be visiting site next week

Regards,

Emily Rogers

Enforcement Investigation Officer​”

That makes me wonder who actually has investigated the site so far.

Gareth Epps
👍 5

Thu 18 Nov, 12:29

I have just been down to the site, and saw another Earthline vehicle illegally using Fishers Lane (the driver said he had been instructed to do so).


A small crowd had gathered to watch this spectacle.

The photographic evidence is now in the hands of WODC as the planning enforcement authority.  

Brian Murray
👍 4

Thu 18 Nov, 12:05

I reported those two Earthline lorries to WODC Enforcement Dept this morning, adding that one of them was driven in a manner intimidating to a pedestrian. I received a reply within ten minutes. Because of that intimidation, I am inclined to report it to TVP. 

I have previously called for construction work to be suspended until the site manager can guarantee that all work and vehicle movements will be carried out in accordance with the traffic management plan put in place by WODC.

We've had two large excavators driven the wrong way down Fishers Lane and a four-axle Earthline tipper reversing down the same road, not to mention three other incidents that I have witnessed - and all in contravention of the traffic plan.

Steve Jones
👍 4

Thu 18 Nov, 12:02

From ploughing through the planning documents (none of which provide a neat summary), there are eight plots of which I can find details of seven. The one I can't see is the single detached house (Plot 1) which will be on the corner at the site of 1 Police House. Of the others, there are four 2 bedroom, two 3 bedroom and one one 4 bedroom. They are all in attached groups of 2 or 3 houses.

I suspect that plot 1 will be notably larger. So I don't think, on the whole, it's a development of large houses save plot 1. However, equally, they are not going to be cheap and I'm sure none will be "affordable", whatever that means.

Among other things, it looks like these will be using rather expensive building materials to fit in with the required aesthetics, so things like slate roofs.

From what I can find out, the initial application was higher density with 10 plots.

Ian Phillips
👍 5

Thu 18 Nov, 11:38

No direct evidence they were connected with the Hixet Wood development but there were two very large “ Earthline” tipper trucks coming along Pooles Lane and the Playing Close and then having to make a massive meal of turning right up Enstone Road around 9 this morning - what an absurdity! Whatever the skill of the drivers, who have my sympathy, there is inevitable damage to kerbs and pavements and the strong possibility of collisions with parked vehicles, railings etc. These vehicles are simply too large for the environment. 

I photographed one of the number plates but don’t really want to focus on a hapless driver  However, I will be contacting WODC (as helpfully suggested by Liz Leffman) to complain about the use of very large vehicles on unsuitable roads. 

Harold Laff
👍 5

Thu 18 Nov, 11:05

Sounds like a lot of nuisance and danger for a few more large homes in Charlbury. Doubt they will be in the price for young local families starting out, but will most likely be bought up by wealthy outsiders and many turned into yet more Air B and B's. 

Father Clive Dytor
👍 10

Wed 17 Nov, 22:03

Thank you Liz. I have e mailed Ms Rogers about the real prospect of a tragedy one dark morning with all the mums and toddlers going down past the garage on their way to school and these large industrial vehicles hurtling down. Who will be to blame then?

Liz Leffman
👍 6

Wed 17 Nov, 16:38

Please send your complaints about traffic and the development to the Enforcement Officer who is looking after this - Emily Rogers  Emily.Rogers@westoxon.gov.uk

Gareth Epps
👍 2

Wed 17 Nov, 13:58

Susie - it is always an idea to write to your District Councillors about planning enforcement matters.


I was contacted this morning of two further breaches of planning enforcement by the Blenheim/Vanderbilt development, copied to WODC.  It is now for them as the statutory agency to enforce the law.

Susie Burnett
👍 4

Wed 17 Nov, 13:06 (last edited on Wed 17 Nov, 13:34)

The traffic situation on Hixet Wood  at around 8am this morning was unacceptable. There were builders' vans, lorries and construction vehicles blocking the road from the turning into Fisher's Lane and backed up to the entrance to Charlbury Garage. I access/exit my property via the garage, but was unable to turn left this morning. Additional building works to the right of the garage on Hixet Wood added further vehicles to this very narrow road. As a consequence, my son was late for school. It was a very dangerous situation, with large vans having to reverse, blocking access to many properties, and pedestrian access was also very restricted and unsafe. On my return at around 8.45am, there were two large vans sitting stationary completely blocking the garage entrance, who then had to reverse up the narrowest part of the hill. I have tried calling West Oxfordshire Council but they said any complaint needs to be put in writing. This needs addressing with some urgency. Does anyone know how to get this escalated quickly to the right people? 

Richard Fairhurst
(site admin)
👍 5

Thu 11 Nov, 13:00

Can we play the ball please, not the man. Thank you.

Matt pearce
👍

Thu 11 Nov, 12:50

In response to johns comment regarding local residents parking perhaps with the intention of denying these vehicles access to carry out there daily work I wonder if he adopts the same thought process to emergency vehicles too which if that is the case personally I would expect a lot more from somebody of his standing within the local community I.e a magistrate.

Gareth Epps
👍

Thu 11 Nov, 10:56

Vicky - I think you need the thread about the double yellow lines - see https://www.charlbury.info/forum/8470

This thread is about construction traffic to the development.  I'm not aware of OCC removing the proposal to permanently restrict parking in the area, unfortunately.

vicky burton
👍

Thu 11 Nov, 10:44

So has this ridiculous notion of depriving existing residents of parking along Melody House' wall been kicked in to touch? 

Liz Leffman
👍 2

Thu 11 Nov, 10:12

Thanks for posting this, Gareth.  I should add that the developers were embarrassed by the lack of compliance and have assured officers that this will be addressed.  If you see any further evidence of this not happening please let me know.

Gareth Epps
👍 2

Wed 10 Nov, 21:58

Back to the original subject, planning enforcement have had words with the developers.  Any issues should be reported via Town Council or District Councillors.

Steve Jones
👍 1

Sun 7 Nov, 18:03

So the answer is yes John.

Tina Piotrowsky
👍 4

Sun 7 Nov, 17:48

We have e-mailed christian.mauz@Oxfordshire.gov.uk - the technical officer in charge of this outrageous plan to strip us of all our parking in front of our home Melody House and all along its wall for 30 metres. The police house and garages opposite us for 15 years have never had a problem with access in and out of the site and they are making the entrance a great deal bigger anyway. Also cars parked on our side of Hixet Wood slows down any traffic speeding down Sheep Street and Hixet Wood (contrary to Blenheim Estates belief that it will be safer for pedestrians with no parking.) We have asked whether Blenheim Estate plans to give us and the residents from Fishers Lane and Sheep Street that all use Hixet Wood to park, spaces on the new development instead (I presume not!). We definitely don't want to be forced to park in front of other peoples homes in Charlbury. Please e-mail Christian Mauz with objections!!xx

John Kearsey
👍 1

Sun 7 Nov, 17:27

Just worried about road safety Steve

Steve Jones
👍 1

Sun 7 Nov, 12:39

Are magistrates allowed to be disingenuous?

John Kearsey
👍 5

Sun 7 Nov, 11:37

I do hope nobody in Hixet Wood is inconsiderate enough to park badly and impede the progress of these vehicles.

Gareth Epps
👍 1

Sun 7 Nov, 09:14

Tree protection orders on the lorries?

(Wrong topic?)

K Harper
👍 2

Sun 7 Nov, 09:02

Would putting tree protection orders on them help?  Or someone brave enough to move some newly discovered bees . . . ?  Kris

Steve Jones
👍 2

Sat 6 Nov, 19:37 (last edited on Tue 9 Nov, 18:50)

Given that the development site include #1 Police Houses, then the developers have the of scope to widen the approach to the corner of the site, at least on a temporary basis. I assume that they will also have to build in the turning space for whatever phase of the work will require a 12 metre long vehicle. It's clearly impracticable to reverse such a thing up Hixet Wood.

There are no fewer than 61 documents in the planning application if anybody has got a few days to read them all...

*** update ***

Actually, this document appears to be relevant :-

"Due to the nature of the access and approach roads it will not be possible to turn HGV’s on site, therefore a banksman will be employed to reverse vehicles into the site. Full consideration will be given to traffic control on the existing highway and an additional banksman will be used to  direct  traffic  should  this  be  required.    The  banksman  will  also  be  responsible  for  wheel cleaning of vehicles leaving the site."

Drawing SK02 shows the HGV vehicle "sweep" as it enters and leaves the site.

So it would appear they will have to pull up to the start of Sheep Street before reversing up the access road to the site, which sounds like fun on a 12 metre long vehicle. Having played around with Google Maps and used the measurement tool, then there's enough room for such a manoeuvre, but only if there are no cars parked within about 20+ metres of Fishers Lane (as they'll need to get out as well). It may be a bit less if the vehicle in question has rear wheel steering (which some plant equipment does have).

Also, I have yet to see the building site where anybody ever gives more than lip service to wheel cleaning...

Alan Wilson
👍 1

Sat 6 Nov, 18:27

I'm not sure that the fact that following the traffic plan is a planning condition makes much difference, Gareth.  It seems to me that many developers are happy simply to ignore planning conditions.  If they are unlucky enough to be called out on it, they simply apply for the planning condition to be discharged!  

(Yes, I'm sure I'm exaggerating, but it does bother me a bit how many planning applications seem to be to get rid of conditions that were previously regarded as necessary for planning consent to be granted in the first place.)

Charlie M
👍 1

Sat 6 Nov, 12:53

All very well for HGV access to "only be via Hixet Wood" ... but what happens when they get there? To my (albeit uneducated) eye, there seems no way that anything larger than a delivery van - let alone a "rigid vehicle of 12 m length" could turn into the turning to the site. So presumably they will just sit there while doing whatever they are doing, and block Hixet Wood to through traffic. This begs the following questions:

- Where can we see the "dates and times of abnormal loads (if any)"?

- What is the "contact number for queries or complaints"?

- Who (if anyone) has authority over all this?

I think we should be told.

Gareth Epps
👍 3

Sat 6 Nov, 12:23

Brian Murray’s post at https://www.charlbury.info/news/3707 is interesting.

I have looked at the traffic management plan for the police house development which can be accessed at https://publicaccess.westoxon.gov.uk/online-applications/files/6F65722C4AE7F5592E8E4C09B80CFF04/pdf/21_00374_CND-HIXET_WOOD_CHARLBURY_CONSTRUCTION_TRAFFIC_MANAGEMENT_PLAN_V3_05_02_2021-926585.pdf

It states that:

- HGV access shall only be via Hixet Wood

- The largest lorry to access the development will be a rigid vehicle of 12m length 

- The Town Council (which it confuses with a parish) shall be notified of information including:

• when construction work will commence and end,

• construction delivery times,

• dates and times of abnormal loads (if any),

• a contact number for queries or complaints.

I would be interested to hear whether residents consider the plan, which is a planning condition, has been followed.

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