Development of Land West of Mill Lane, Marston - Public Consultation

Land West of Mill Lane consultation - Clarifications

Following the Public Consultation process held for ‘Land West Mill Lane Project’, we have reviewed the constructive feedback received from various sources.

The ‘Clarification document’ aims to provide the project team’s response to help address the key queries received.

The proposals are being finalised for planning submission and you will have a further opportunity to comment.

Highways

1. Existing Traffic congestion on Mill Lane, rat-running along Elsfield Road/Oxford Road and proposed mitigation measures

Existing traffic conditions and the impact of the scheme have been discussed extensively with Highway Officers at Oxfordshire County Council (County). Based on the recommendations received from Highways officers at County, the proposed mitigation measures associated with the scheme are likely to include contributions towards the delivery of the 'Cycle Streets proposals' for Mill Lane. The 'Cycle Streets scheme' is currently being developed by County to provide cyclists with priority over existing traffic, thereby also discouraging car use. In addition to the off-site highway contributions, a ‘Travel Plan’ will also be prepared, outlining proposed measures to help achieve and monitor the objectives of healthy and sustainable travel options.

Oxfordshire County Council (Highways) have confirmed that the implementation of measures to resolve the wider 'rat-running' issues fall outside of the specific scope of this development proposal, particularly given the implications for the operation of the wider surrounding network. They have indicated that the delivery of junction improvements at Oxford Road in isolation would potentially make this route more attractive as a rat run, through the reduction of journey times and may exacerbate existing traffic issues.

We continue to consult with Highways Officers at County with regard to the most appropriate set of highways mitigation measures related to the scheme including potential junction improvements, and ensuring that sustainable development is delivered through improved conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, thereby encouraging sustainable modes of travel.

2. Cumulative impact of the proposed developments in relation to Transport Assessment

Consideration of the cumulative impact of development proposal within the surrounding area have been discussed with Highway Officers at Oxfordshire County Council (County) and will be addressed within the Transport Assessment and Travel Plan, to be submitted with the full planning application. These two documents are currently being prepared. Based on the recommendations received from Highways officers at County, the most appropriate and effective proposed mitigation measures for the 'Land West of Mill Lane' scheme are being discussed as set out in Question/Response 1 above.

3. Consideration of direct Access to Mill Lane from A40

The potential for delivering a new access onto the A40 has been discussed at length with Highway Officers at Oxfordshire County Council (County). They have advised that creation of a new access onto the A40 would not be supported by the County Council at the current time, due to proximity to adjacent junctions and its impact upon the operation of the A40. A new access to the A40 would also be likely to generate additional through traffic on Mill Lane, which is not considered appropriate by Highway officers at County.

4. Proposed improvements to Mill Lane

Oxfordshire County Council (County) Highways are planning to implement a Cycle Streets scheme for Mill Lane to provide cyclists with priority over existing traffic. These proposals are still being worked up. Typical design features of Cycle Streets include:

  • Maximum traffic speeds of 20mph;
  • Psychological and physical traffic calming features;
  • Priority for cyclists at junctions;
  • Surfacing and surface markings; and
  • Narrow Street profile to prevent or discourage overtaking.
  • The use of the Cycle Street sign to inform both cyclists and motorists

In addition, it is evident from our discussions held with County (Highways), that they are mindful that hard engineered solutions along Mill Lane may potentially exacerbate existing traffic issues by making the route more attractive for travel/rat running.

5. Transport Assessment/ Travel Plan

A Transport Assessment Report and Travel Plan is currently being produced and will be submitted as part of the planning application and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council Planning portal post application validation.

6. Proposals for: Bus Gate at Marston Ferry Road/ Introduction of CPZ- Controlled Parking Zones in Old Marston

Implementation of potential measures such as a bus-gate at Marston Ferry Road, and in the longer term a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in Old Marston are being considered by Oxfordshire County Council (County) Highways. However following discussions with County Highway officers, it is evident that these measures fall outside of the scope of the subject development proposals, particularly given the implications for the operation of the wider surrounding network.

Further advice is being sought from the County Highways department and this will be considered through the Transport Assessment report. There will be an opportunity to participate in the formal consultation process which will take place as part the of the Planning process.

For any queries relating to Bus Gate, CPZ proposals, Oxfordshire County Council (Highways) can be contacted on the County Council Highways website.

7. Oxford City Council - Highways Department: Contact

The County highways department can be contacted via the 'Contact us' page on County Council Highways website.

Air Quality Assessments

8. Air Quality Assessments

An Air Quality Assessment report is currently being produced and will be submitted as part of the planning application and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council Planning portal post application validation.

Development

9. Proposed Housing Mix

Oxford City Council Housing Limited (OCHL) is proposing to build 80 new homes on this site. 40 of these will be social housing: 32 as homes for social rent and 8 for shared ownership or affordable rent. The remaining 40 homes will be offered for private sale.

10. Future plans on farm land to the west of the site

The adjoining land to the West is not allocated in the Oxford Local Plan 2036 and remains in the designated Oxford Green Belt, as such there are no development plans for this land in the current Local Plan.

11. Impact on neighbourhood during Construction 

A Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) and Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) will be produced as precommencement planning conditions demonstrating how the construction process will be managed. This will be produced by the Building Contractor prior to start of construction to assess impact and outline mitigation measures.

12. Scheme relationship with the surrounding Green Belt area

The proposal will provide an attractive 'public open space' at the western edge of the development, forming a visual buffer between the development and the adjoining Green Belt land, and creating a new destination for play, relaxation and interaction with nature by new and existing residents. The space will also act as a ‘gateway’, linking to pedestrian and cycle access into adjacent schemes to the north and south of the site, and through to Old Marston. Various enhancements are proposed to increase the site’s biodiversity, including wetland habitat within SUDS, wildflower meadow, new native tree planting, as well as careful retention of existing native hedgerows, all brought into a wildlife sympathetic management regime. This represents an improvement of the site’s current condition as a private and inaccessible improved ley or pasture, supporting low biodiversity.

Planning Policy

13. National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in relation to proposed development

As part of the formal submission of proposals to the Local Planning Authority, a planning statement will be submitted which will
address National and Local Planning Policy and its relevance to the proposed scheme. This will be available to view on the Oxford City Council planning portal following planning application validation.

Architecture

14. Masterplan Design- Consideration of neighbouring proposed developments

A series of meetings have taken place between project teams of both the sites i.e. Land West of Mill Lane and Hill View Farm, in order to discuss ways in which the schemes could complement and respect each other. A pedestrian/cycle access point along the Northern boundary of the Land West of Mill Lane scheme linking with the proposed 'Greenway route' in Hill View Farm site, is being proposed to allow for ease of pedestrians/cyclists to flow between the two residential schemes. We have also considered the Cumberledge Close scheme which has been granted planning consent, and proposed a pedestrian link through to this scheme and on to Mill Lane to provide connectivity through this adjacent scheme and onwards to the village of Marston. It is to be also noted that the Local Planning Authority assigned case officer is the same for all the three sites noted above, which provides continuity.

A Planning Statement supporting the Design and Access Statement for the scheme, which brings together the approach to design, access, connectivity etc, will be submitted as part of the planning application and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council Planning portal post application validation.

15. Provision of local amenities- Local convenience store, GP Surgery in the proposed scheme

There are no proposals for provision of local convenience store, GP Surgery in the development . This has not been specified as part of the site allocation policy or recommended by the Local Planning Authority.

16. Proposed Housing Design

Series of meetings have taken place with the Local Planning Authority Case officer and Urban Designer from the outset in order to develop the proposed housing design, which offers a modern take on the historical housing found within the Old Marston Conservation Area. Both the materials and architectural features found in the local area have provided inspiration for the design which looks to compliment its local context.

17. Proposed Pedestrian/ Cycle access points

The following pedestrian/ cycle access points have been proposed-

  • 1 x pedestrian/cycle access point along Mill Lane to directly link into the scheme. As commented previously Mill Lane is proposed to be developed in the future as a 'cycle street' with designated cycle provision for safer access.
  • 1 x connecting the pedestrian/cycle access point along the Northern boundary of Land West of Mill Lane site with the proposed 'Greenway route' in Hill View Farm site, to allow for ease of pedestrians to flow between the two residential schemes.
  • 1 x connecting to Cumberlege Close, to allow for local residents who live further down Mill Lane to access the green public open space and for an alternative access to Mill Lane for new residents.
  • Proposals being looked at for creating a pedestrian access point along the Southern boundary (New Addition post Public Consultation review) connecting the site to the public right of way network in the surrounding fields.

18. Car-parking provision

The level of parking provision has been discussed with the Local Planning Authority and County Council Highways Authority. The proposals for 1 parking space per dwelling and shared parking provision for the apartment block, are in line with the Oxford Local Plan 2036, Policy M3: vehicular parking standards. Car-club provision is also being investigated.

19. Electric Car-charging

Electric Charging bays are proposed to be provided as follows-

  • 1 electric charging bay per household will be provided to each home.
  • A minimum of 2 electric charging bays for the shared parking of the apartment block.

This is in line with Policy M4 of the Oxford City Council Local Plan 2036.

20. Impact on existing houses along Mill Lane/ Impact on Views

The project team have worked closely with Local Planning Authority, including urban design officers to put forward a suitable scheme.

The proposed houses along this portion of land are 9m tall from ground floor level to roof ridge level. Currently the proposed houses are a distance of 36 metres away from the existing houses along Mill Lane (back to back distance of the actual houses). These distances satisfy the current planning guidelines and are policy compliant.

A Landscape Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) which is to be submitted as part of the formal planning submission will address the impact on views in detail and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council Planning portal post application validation.

21. Masterplan encompassing all the proposed developments along Mill Lane

A cumulative layout plan showing amalgamation of all 3nr. Sites-Proposed Land West of Mill Lane and latest design proposals for Hill View Farm (presented as part of their Public Consultation process) and planning approved Cumberledge Close; has been produced to provide an overview of the proposed developments in this area in the wider context. This will be available in the Planning Application documentation once submitted.

22. Green Link along the main access road into the development

The grass verges along the main access road into the site have been designed in line with comments from the Local Planning Authority to be a car free area and to propose a green link lined with trees that will mature over time.

23. Pedestrian/ cyclist access provision into Hill View Farm Development

Proposals include for pedestrian/ cyclists access point along the Northern boundary offering connectivity between the Land West of Mill Lane scheme and the Hill View Farm scheme. This access point will offer the pedestrians and cyclists a safe access route to the proposed green open space and footpath network and provide permeability through the schemes and a clear link through to Old Marston.

24. Provision of secure cycle parking for dwellings

Safe and secure cycle parking for each dwelling will be provided in line with the Oxford City Council (County) Local Plan 2036 and a shared covered cycle parking area will be provided for the apartment block.

25. Lighting Strategy

A preliminary lighting strategy will accompany the design and access statement within the planning application submission documents, which will be available on the Oxford City Council planning portal once submitted. Discussions have been held with Oxfordshire County Council Highways Department to discuss suitable widths of shared surface roads for safe travel. These areas will also be well overlooked and well lit. In addition, both physical and psychological measures (such as varying surface materials/ markings) will be considered in order to help ensure cycle/pedestrian priority over vehicles.

Drainage Strategy

26. Drainage- Surface water Run-off

Surface water runoff from the site will be restricted to the equivalent existing runoff rate from the current greenfield scenario, with a controlled discharge to the existing ditch across the adjacent fields to the West into the tributary of the River Cherwell further west. The exact alignment and dimensions of this outfall route are currently being reviewed. By restricting the peak rate of surface water runoff from the site to the existing greenfield runoff rate, the level of flood risk to adjacent existing development will not be increased.

During particularly extreme storm conditions, any surface water runoff exceeding the capacity of the designed surface water drainage will be directed towards the low-lying north-west corner of the site, away from adjacent existing development. From here, runoff will be conveyed beyond the site in to the existing ditch running in westerly direction before discharging in to the tributary of the River Cherwell.

27. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS)

Surface water runoff will be attenuated on site using a combination of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS), likely to include permeable paving, swales, and an attenuation pond. Such SUDS systems not only offer attenuation of surface water runoff, but can also offer wider benefits in terms of water quality, and ecological and aesthetic opportunities.

28. Foul discharge

Foul sewerage from the development will be conveyed to the existing foul sewer system in Mill Lane; Thames Water have confirmed that there is sufficient spare capacity to accept the additional flow.

29. Flood risk

Environment Agency mapping shows that the site is in fluvial Flood Zone 1 (Low Risk), and that the site is also at Very Low Risk of surface water flooding. The elevated location of the site also means that groundwater flood risk is not a significant risk.

Utilities

30. Potable (Drinking) Water Supply to the development

Potable (Drinking) water is proposed to be supplied to the development by Thames Water. They have indicated that some off site network reinforcement works will be required to meet the anticipated demand. The extent of these reinforcement works is currently being determined by a hydraulic modelling study being conducted by Thames Water.

31. Utilities Capacity- Gas & Electricity

Electricity and gas is proposed to be supplied to the development. Some off site network reinforcement works will be required to the electricity network to meet the anticipated demand. The extent of these reinforcement works is currently being determined by SSEN.

Ecological Impact

32. Green fields loss and associated ecological impact/ Impact on wildlife

On-going ecological assessment shows that the site supports limited biodiversity value, with the majority of the site being a farmed improved grassland field. The hedgerows around the periphery of the site are of higher biodiversity value, these are largely retained within the development.

The site and its immediate surroundings are not designated sites for nature conservation. The SSSI, New Marston Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) located approximately 850m south of the site comprises of a series of agriculturally unimproved neutral meadows on the flood plain of the River Cherwell. There is a band of impermeable clay between the proposed site and the SSSI, therefore hydrological impacts are not considered likely. Almonds Farm and Burnt Mill Field Local Wildlife Site (LWS) is located approximately 240m west of the site. The LWS is designated for the rich floral assemblage that it supports. however no impacts upon this site are foreseen resulting from the proposed development.

Reptile surveys were conducted on the site and it is considered that the development will not result in a reduction in the amount of reptile habitat present, considering the negligible value to this species group of the agricultural improved grassland forming the majority of the site. Within the proposed development, areas of wildflower grassland are proposed, along with a SuDS attenuation features. These areas will provide improved forging opportunities for reptiles. A biodiversity net gain assessment will be conducted once the design of the site is finalised. It is targeted that the site will deliver a 10% net gain (in line with emerging policies) as calculated using the Biodiversity Metric 2.0 (BM 2.0). The above surveys will form part of the Ecological Assessment report, which will be submitted as part of the planning application and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council Planning portal post application validation.

33. Bio-diversity net gain assessment

The ‘green fields’ currently support minimal biodiversity, being homogenous farm land. The bio-diversity net gain assessment is being conducted according to the Biodiversity (Metric 2.0) methodology as presented on Natural England website; and will assess the value of these sites in the baseline state against the proposals to assess biodiversity net gain. This will be submitted as part of the planning application and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council Planning portal post application validation.

34. New Marston Meadows Site - Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) Impact

The site and its immediate surroundings are not designated sites for nature conservation. A SSSI, New Marston Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is located approximately 850m south of the site. The SSSI is comprised of a series of agriculturally unimproved neutral meadows on the flood plain of the River Cherwell. There is a band of impermeable clay between the proposed site and the SSSI, therefore hydrological impacts are not considered likely. Liaison with Natural England in relation to the SSSI- New Marston Meadows is ongoing. The outcome of the same will be addressed through the Ecological Impact Assessment report; which will be submitted as part of the planning application and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council Planning portal post application validation.

Environmental Impact Assessment

35. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

In response to EIA screening request submitted, Oxford City Council planners have confirmed that the scheme is not EIA development and a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will not be required to accompany the planning application. Some of the measures proposed by Oxford City Council in order to manage/ mitigate any potential impact of the scheme and its
construction on surrounding uses are as follow:

  • Production of Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) and Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) (prior to commencement of works).- (Will be produced by Building Contractor as pre-commencement condition).
  • Air Quality Assessment Report (to ensure air quality impacts are controlled during construction and operation.)
  • Land Quality Assessment Report to (Risk of contamination is anticipated to be low).
  • Ecological Assessment Report (mitigation of impacts to protected species and designated sites within the wider area and demonstrate net gain in biodiversity.)

The above reports will be submitted as part of the planning submission and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council Planning portal post application validation.

Heritage Impact Assessment

36. Impact on the heritage assets in the surrounding areas

An impact assessment for cultural heritage incorporating the setting of the site and the heritage assets within the surrounding area will be thoroughly assessed in the Cultural Heritage Desk-Based Assessment. This will also include an assessment of the impact of the proposed development on the assets and their settings. This Assessment will be submitted as part of the planning application and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council (County) planning portal post application validation.

37. Archaeological investigations

A detailed programme of archaeological evaluation is currently ongoing. This is being conducted in close communication with and under guidance of the local planning authority archaeologist. The report will be submitted as part of the planning application and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council (County) planning portal post application validation.

Landscape Visual Impact Assessment

38. Landscape Visual Impact Assessment

A Landscape Visual Impact Assessment is currently being produced and will be submitted as part of the planning application and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council Planning Planning portal post application validation.

Noise Impact Assessment

39. Noise Impact Assessment

A Noise Impact Assessment is currently being produced and will be submitted as part of the planning application and will be available to view on the Oxford City Council Planning portal post application validation.

Programme

40. Programme for the development

Tentative programme for the proposed development as follows:

  • Planning submission - January 2021
  • Start on Site - September 2021

Public Consultation Process

41. Public Consultation Process

The public consultation process has been implemented based on a detailed consultation plan approved by Oxford City Council.

The consultation plan ensured that residents, local groups, key consultees where informed about the consultation process and were given an opportunity to review the project information and respond through various mediums noted below.

  • Via post- Project information brochure and questionnaire distributed via post to c 300 homes in the vicinity of the proposed development.
  • Online portal- Availability of information on Oxford City Council portal along with a short film explaining the proposed scheme.
  • Online questionnaire.
  • 2nr. Zoom Q&A sessions- Due to COVID restrictions in place, 2nr. virtual zoom Q&A sessions were held to compensate for not being able to hold a face to face public consultation at a local venue. These sessions offered opportunity to ask questions directly to the project team members.

Having received a good number of responses to the questionnaire; we believe that the consultation process was effective and
measures implemented were satisfactory in reaching the wider audience.

42. Public Consultation Process: Opportunity to comment on the revised plans

Local residents and any interested parties will have an opportunity to comment on the scheme design through the formal consultation which will be held as part of the formal planning application process.

Sustainability

43. Sustainability Criteria

It is proposed that the development will aim to achieve 70% carbon reduction from 2013 Building Regulations. A detailed Sustainability
Strategy is currently being developed.

44. Sustainability Measures

Sustainability measures such as PVs, ASHP are being considered; however these are yet to be modelled and agreed with Oxford City Council.