News Archive 2018

JANUARY

Parish Council and others object to South Side plan

Steeple Aston Parish Council is objecting to the planning application by Rectory Homes to build six four-bedroomed houses on South Side opposite the entrance to Hill House. There have also been objections from the Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan Forum and from a number of villagers.

In general, neither the Parish Council nor other commentators are hostile to some development on this site. But there are major objections to the scheme proposed. The Parish Council comments: “While we consider that appropriate housing development on this site could be acceptable in principle, the application scheme is not suitable for the following reasons:

  1. Housing mix: the proposal is for six houses of four bedrooms. There is however a clear need locally for a mix of house sizes, including some with smaller number of bedrooms….. of the six dwellings only 2 should be 4-bedroom, 3 should be 3-bedroom, and 1 should be 2-bedroom. Such a mix would offer more affordable homes to local people, which we regard as an essential component of an acceptable scheme on this site.
  2. Safe pedestrian access: walking into the village with no footpath – especially in darkness – is dangerous, and difficult to solve where the road narrows at the Red Lion. There is no recognition of this difficult problem in the application (despite discussion at the local meeting at which the applicants presented their proposals in November 2017) …
  3. Safe vehicular access: the new road junction for the development will exacerbate an already dangerous stretch of road unless measures are taken to improve safety. Both speeding and limited visibility on the bend here have caused several near misses for traffic using the Hill House lane used by about 20 cars serving various dwellings opposite the site. The “Access Appraisal” report presented by the applicant relies on data collected in a week of heavy snowfall which must have produced untypical speed and volume data. We request that the survey be repeated in order to present data that can be taken seriously…..

Mid Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan Forum objects to the lack of smaller more affordable houses, and is concerned about pedestrians, as are many of the individual commentators. Their submission says simply, “The application scheme will require pedestrians to walk in the road to access the rest of the village, which is unacceptable.”

Another concern from former vice-chairman of the Parish Council Richard Preston is the lack of car parking space. He writes, “There is insufficient on-site parking for the six sizeable properties if one considers the probability that at certain times during the year, many of these properties will have visitors arriving by motor car. The outcome of this scenario would be vehicles parked on the main highway creating significant danger to the users of the highway for access to and from the village.

To see the plans and make a comment go to Cherwell District Council’s planning portal https://www.publicaccess.cherwell.gov.uk/online-applications/ and entering the reference number 17/02414/F.  The expiry date for neighbours’ comments is 24th January, although no date for consideration of the application has yet been set. To see the Parish Council’s comments in full, as well as comments by others, click on the Documents tab.

Rectory Homes is a privately-owned company founded in 1991 and based in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire. It specialises in building high quality homes, often in quite small numbers, in London and the South East. They have built 100 houses in the last year, and are responsible for developments in nearby Witney, Thame and Oxford. The company has an agreement with the South Side landowner that they will purchase the site if their planning application is approved.

To find out more about the company and see examples of its work go to its website, www.rectory.co.uk


Police request help to fight anti-social behaviour outbreak

Thames Valley Police have asked villagers to report any further examples of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour following several incidents over the last few weeks. The police are aware of recent problems and are patrolling the village, but evidence of time and place will help them catch those responsible.

PCSO Louise Beaumont contacted the Parish Clerk Cathy Fleet after the most recent incident on 29th December when there was evidence of drinking and drug use in the area around the Village Hall and Play Area in Fir Lane.

PCSO Beaumont wrote “I have been asked by PC Shaun Sullivan to make contact about the reports of ASB/Damage in Steeple Aston mainly in and around the Recreation ground. I’m one of the Rural PCSO’s and patrol the area during the evenings as much as possible.

“If there are offences of criminal damage and ASB please can they be reported via 101 so we can patrol more effectively as this will help with times/days etc. I’m aware that the incidents are being discussed on the village Facebook page which unfortunately we do not monitor. It would be great if residents could be encouraged to report any offences/incidents via 101.”

This recent trouble follows on from a number of incidents of vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the village over the Christmas period. There was damage to an elderly pensioner’s car in Northside on 13th December. More damage to cars were reported on Southside, and a van was broken into and a satnav and camera stolen.

Later in the month two teenagers in hoodies were photographed jumping on the roof of the bus shelter near Bradshaw Close. Another villager shared photographs of three youths shining torches into cars on Heyford Road, and then two trying car doors in the early hours of the morning a few days later.

Other villagers have reported seeing three teenagers in hoodies around the village late in the evening, and there have been reports of youths knocking on doors and running away, which some residents living on their own have found quite threatening.

These incidents over Christmas follow on from two robberies in the village earlier in the month. and concerns about trespassing at Dr Radcliffe’s School. Chair of the Governors, Lise Boote, wrote on the Steeple Aston Facebook page “The governors at Dr Radcliffe’s have been liaising with the police regarding trespassing on the school site . The police are aware of a group in Steeple Aston and have stated that they need the community to report any incidents. If anyone has any evidence they need to call it in on 101. These people may be part of the same group.”

To see more discussion on this go to the website’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/steepleastonvillage/. You will need to become a member of the closed group to see all the posts.


Planning application made for six South Side houses

There has been a planning application to build six four-bedroomed houses on South Side opposite the entrance to Hill House. The application comes from Rectory Homes, the developer who gave a presentation about their plans to parish councillors and members of the public back in November.

The Parish Council will consider the application at the next meeting, and individuals can see the plans and make their comments by going to Cherwell District Council’s planning portal https://www.publicaccess.cherwell.gov.uk/online-applications/ and entering the reference number 17/02414/F.  The expiry date for neighbours’ comments is 24th January, although no date for consideration of the application has yet been set.

The plans show six two storey houses with access off South Side including parking and garaging. At the November meeting, George Bethall, land manager at Rectory Homes, said the houses had been designed to be in keeping with the rest of the village using local materials such as Cotswold stone, red bricks and timber cladding. Each house would be different. Nearly all the trees on the site would be retained, and he hoped that the development would improve the look of the entrance to the village.

Parish councillors and members of the public at the meeting expressed concerns about traffic and road safety particularly for pedestrians. They were also worried about the number of parking spaces to be provided and about drainage capacity.

Rectory Homes commissioned Glanville Consultants to carry out an Access Appraisal, including a speed survey along South Side. Unfortunately the week they chose for the survey was 8th to 14th December when there was heavy snow in the village. So it may not have shown a typical traffic pattern in normal weather. The consultants’ report concluded that safe vehicular access can be provided, but didn’t consider the safety of pedestrians.

Individuals are already starting to make comments on the application on the district council’s website. The former vice-chairman of the parish council, Richard Preston says he supports a sensitive development on this site but has three concerns.

He writes:

  1. There is insufficient on-site parking for the six sizeable properties if one considers the probability that at certain times during the year, many of these properties will have visitors arriving by motor car. The outcome of this scenario would be vehicles parked on the main highway creating significant danger to the users of the highway for access to and from the village.
  2. The pedestrian access / egress point as shown on the proposed plan will place residents from this development onto a relatively busy highway with no protection from oncoming traffic. If the council care to look at a previous consideration for development of this site they will see that their concern was lack of a public footpath linking the village. It would be hoped that residents of the proposed development would like to communicate with the rest of the village by walking into the centre and all its facilities but it would be improper and dangerous to expect them to risk their lives and that of their children by walking on a busy and narrow part of the main access road into the village.
  3. With such a comparatively large site would it not be more appropriate to encourage some “affordable” housing in addition to that proposed? This might in turn provide some much needed housing for the young people of our community and possibly a chance for the more senior members of our community to ‘down-size’.

Rectory Homes is a privately-owned company founded in 1991 and based in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire. It specialises in building high quality homes, often in quite small numbers, in London and the South East. They have built 100 houses in the last year, and are responsible for developments in nearby Witney, Thame and Oxford. The company has an agreement with the South Side landowner that they will purchase the site if their planning application is approved.

To find out more about the company and see examples of its work go to its website, www.rectory.co.uk