Grammar School Hill development refused
West Oxfordshire District Council officers have turned down Vanderbilt Homes' application to build 34 new homes on the site between Grammar School Hill and the Five Ways junction.
The refusal notice cites four reasons:
- "its siting outside of the built up limits of the settlement edge, design and scale and location within the Conservation Area, proximity to Listed buildings and Historic Parkland will appear as an incongruous and inappropriate feature and will therefore adversely affect the character and historical context of views"
- "the development... will appear as an incongruous and overly urban feature and will erode the rural character of the area therefore adversely affect the landscape setting and the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and thereby failing to conserve or enhance the Cotswolds AONB"
- "by reason of its siting within close proximity to a Scheduled Ancient Monument [Grim's Ditch, it] may significantly harm the Monument"
- "the applicant has not entered into a legal agreement to secure public transport and highways improvements, education contributions, contributions to community facilities, public art and affordable housing"
The development was judged to contradict WODC planning policies in such an unambiguous way that it has not even been placed before councillors for them to make the decision: instead, it was refused by officers under "delegated powers".
The full report cites 179 individual letters of objection, as well as objections from WODC's specialist officers, Historic England, Natural England, Charlbury Town Council, the Cotswold Conservation Board (AONB), Campaign to Protect Rural England, and the Charlbury Conservation Area Advisory Committee.
The developers may still choose to appeal against the refusal: such an appeal proved successful on Blenheim-owned land in Long Hanborough last spring.
(Thanks to Jim Clemence on the forum for posting that the decision had been reached.)