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BAMPTON - PLANNING APPLICATION UPDATE

We issue this statement by way of an update in relation to our proposal at Land off New Road, Bampton. During the public consultation and also the statutory consultation a number of issues have been raised and these are to be addressed in turn, as follows;

  • HEDGEROW RETENTION:

The submitted planning application was supported by an extended Phase 1 ecology survey which did not identify the need to undertake any additional survey work.  Accordingly, the original masterplan was prepared and the existing hedgerow to New Road was shown to be removed.

Notwithstanding the above, having reviewed the responses to the public consultation exercise undertaken on Thursday 3rd October it was evident that the local populous sought the retention of the hedgerow along New Road.

A hedgerow assessment was subsequently commissioned to inform the strategy. The hedgerow assessment concluded that although the hedgerow fronting New Road had limited habitat value it was of historic importance. A hedgerow is considered of historic importance when it is 30 years or more in age. Accordingly the plans have been amended to retain and supplement the hedgerow to both respect its historic importance and to improve its appearance and ecological value.

  • FLOOD ISSUES:

Whilst the Environment Agency has confirmed that there is no objection to the proposal subject to the implementation of planning conditions to control surface water run-off rates, a reply from the District Council’s Environmental Services team has been received querying whether there is scope to address the wider flood risk issues beyond the boundary of the planning application.  Richborough Estates are responding to this as follows;

                                    i.            Detailed investigations will be carried out by our consultants into the flooding problems that are affecting the existing residential area to the west of the site from surface water run-off across the fields to the north. Although this matter is not directly connected to or influenced by the submitted development proposals,our drainage consultants have been instructed to investigate the concern to identify whether there is a scope to input into a wider  solution for the local area. Although the investigations are not yet complete, it is likely that flood alleviation works could be carried out to the North-west of the development site by reinstating the ditch line from behind the school and connecting it into the surface water drainage system within the development site if levels dictate.

                                   ii.            Porous paving will be incorporated and there will be a preference towards using open swales as opposed to filter drains.

                                 iii.            The attenuation pond will be oversized so that it will accommodate excess surface water that will be received from the fields to the North-West of the site as well as from within the proposed housing area. This will provide a significant benefit to the existing residents by removing a long standing flooding problem.

  • BAMPTON SCHOOL CAPACITY:

Richborough Estates have been in discussions with representatives at Bampton C of E Primary School to understand how the proposed housing could directly benefit the School’s existing and future needs. The School has existing plans both to increase its capacity to accommodate more pupils and to rationalise the existing accommodation for the benefit of all pupils. Planning permission has already been granted for an additional classroom and the school has been raising funds to pay for the capital cost of building and equipping the new classroom. 

Accordingly, meetings have been held between the Headmistress and Richborough to discuss how the company could help the School with providing the necessary funds to ensure that the classroom can be provided. The School has already raised approximately 50,000 pounds towards the cost of delivering the additional classroom, however if the Richborough application were approved then the development would fund the additional classroom in its entirety.

Richborough Estates has recently been advised that the County Council has told the School not to continue discussions with the Company but to ensure that all further discussions must be directed through the County Council. We are extremely disappointed that the County Council has taken this stance as it goes against the Government’s wish for developers to work with local communities to ensure that the local community can directly benefit from new housing schemes. Richborough Estates remain committed to trying to work with the School to ensure that financial contributions to increasing its capacity can be targeted directly rather than through the County Council.

15 November 2013