THE PLANNERS GET IT RIGHT
In July we wrote.....................
OWEN MUMFORD APPLY FOR FACTORY EXTENSION
Work Force set to double - 105 extra jobs
Owen Mumford's application to double the size of their factory at Elmsfield has been submitted. 7,015 square metres of new factory providing 20 new office jobs, 75 industrial jobs and ten others. The site proposed is "greenfield" and not currently scheduled as employment land.
On the face of it the application flies in the face of the Local Plan and every policy that exists in West Oxfordshire. There are other sites scheduled as employment land in Chippy (at Cromwell Park and Parker Knoll) which are available for development. In theory the planners should tell Owen Mumford to look at those. But as we were told so many times in the debate over Parker Knoll - "you can't tell private companies what to do and where to go!" Quite so. Owen Mumford want to expand on their existing site - not at the other end of town. The Town Council must back them. Lets hope the Planners have the sense to let them. At last here is an application which is about creating jobs - not destroying them. We have learned over the last year that when it comes to the crunch all of West Oxfordshires high flown policies about employment sites don't actually add up to a row of beans. This is encouraging. Now we can have some flexibility from the Planning Committee over job-creation rather than job-destruction. It would be mad for this application be rejected - but then we've said that before recently...........
Well the Town Council came out with strong support and the planners ingeniously discovered Policy E8 of the adopted Plan which "looks favourably upon the expansion of existing businesses" provided that.....
The first Planning Meeting was on September 6th. The Planners didn't actually make a recommendation because they were still waiting for some comments (like from the County Council or the Countryside Agency who were on holiday!!). However the Planners own view came across pretty loud and clear in their conclusions........The boys done good.
........although the site lies within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the scale of development and nature of the proposed use would not give rise to significant environmental effects.....
.......The benefit to the local economy and the town of creating a significant number of new jobs following the Parker Knoll closure is significant. Furthermore, the existing operational requirements of the applicant severely limits his ability to meet the need for new floorspace in some other way outside of the AONB.......
...... the proposed factory extension would have a limited impact upon the scenic qualities of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ...... the localised impact upon the public footpath adjacent to the site is outweighed by the benefits to the local economy.
At the Planning Meeting on September 6th the Committee decided they needed a site visit before any decision. So they all duly came to Chipping Norton on September 3Oth.
The Planners have restated their previous view. Now the decision should be finalised at the Planning Meeting on 4th October.
PLANNING COMMITTEE DECISION
WODC councillors agreed to pass the plans if the company carried out an archaeological survey, lowered the level of the proposed building - which must be stone walled with a slated roof - by one metre, and improved the junction leading to the site