PLANNING COMMITTEE REFUSE
PA TURNEY APPLICATION TO BUILD HOUSING
"The proposal would result in the loss of an employment site and undermine the Council�s policies to protect the supply of useful employment sites."
PA Turney applied to develop their 2.7 acre Station Yard site for housing. The Planning Committee refused the application on Dec 1st. The reasoning in the Planning Officer's report could all be very relevant to the Parker Knoll application which comes up for a decision in January. The following are extracts. READ THE FULL REPORT
The site was put forward in the review of the Local Plan but Members decided not to allocate it. The relevant Cabinet Report stated: "There is no justification for allocating this employment site for residential development under the Council�s policies to protect our supply of useful employment sites. It may be difficult to find suitable housing sites; it is even more so for new employment sites. An unfortunate precedent would be created in this instance."
In view of the Council�s decision not to allocate this site for housing in the review of the Local Plan, the key question is whether anything has changed Policy E7 only allows a change of use or redevelopment of an existing employment site where it can be demonstrated that it is not reasonably capable of being used or redevelopment for employment purposes, or where substantial planning benefits would result by allowing an alternative form of development, or where the existing use severely conflicts with other policies in the Plan. This policy approach has undoubtedly contributed to the low levels of unemployment in West Oxfordshire and helped maintain a diverse supply of employment sites and opportunities. Accordingly, Policy E6 of the West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2011 maintains this approach.
It would appear that the applicant�s case rests on Government advice in PPG3 and how they consider it should be applied to the proposal. However, in your officers� opinion many of the �bigger� issues surrounding housing and employment policy should be properly debated through the Local Plan Inquiry and not determined through individual planning applications.Furthermore, it should not be taken that existing employment sites, which by their very nature are "Brownfield", are necessarily suitable for housing. A balance needs to be struck between providing previously developed land for housing and retaining sites for employment.
It is noted that the applicant has submitted no substantive evidence to demonstrate why the land should not be retained for employment. In other words, there has been no analysis of employment levels, patterns and future needs to substantiate the loss of this site. Quite simply the applicant has relied upon the Government�s commitment to deliver 60% of additional housing on previously developed land.
EDITOR'S COMMENT : THESE LAST TWO PARAGRAPHS MUST GIVE US A LOT OF HOPE THAT THE WODC ARE REHEARSING THEIR ARGUMENTS FOR TURNING DOWN THE PARKER KNOLL APPLICATION NEXT MONTH TOO. HOW ARE THE SITUATIONS DIFFERENT