Plans for 160 new homes on hold after crossings permission denied

Herald Series: . .

A DEVELOPMENT of 160 homes in Abingdon has suffered a major setback after permission for two neighbouring pedestrian crossings was refused.

The crossings for Ock Street and Marcham Road were devised to help the town cope with an influx of cars from the new estate to be built on land off Drayton Road.

The building of the crossings was outlined by a Government inspector as a condition for it to go ahead and Oxfordshire County Council officers had recommended they be approved.

But yesterday at County Hall in Oxford, David Nimmo-Smith, the cabinet member for transport, rejected the proposals.

He said: “I am left with a difficult decision.

“But I am minded to turn down these proposals and let it run its course.”

The move would have seen the existing pelican crossing on the Marcham Road side of the Spring Road/Drayton Road/Ock Street/Marcham Road double roundabout moved 60 metres further away.

The planning permission has been seen as a key battleground by opponents of the estate. At the meeting, attended by about 30 people, residents claimed the changes would result in a system that was less safe for children and would harm air quality.

Vale of the White Horse District Council also produced two reports with similar findings.

District councillor Richard Webber said: “Schoolchildren are the key issue. If these proposals are accepted, a safe arrangement will be replaced by a less-safe arrangement. On behalf on my council, I urge you to reconsider.”

After the meeting county councillor Neil Fawcett, who represents the Abingdon South ward, said he was delighted by the decision.

He said: “This is finally a sign that arguments made by local residents are being listened to.

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“We hope this will stop the development, but I am sure the developers are already seeking legal advice to launch an appeal.

“It is good the decision was made on the grounds of safety, but we are not naive to think this is the end.

The developer of the new houses, Hallam Land Management, could now appeal against the decision.

Comments (3)

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1:15pm Fri 28 Mar 14

Inkpot says...

Good News !!!!!!!
If the existing crossing in Marcham Road is moved further up the road children will not use it to cross to Spring Road.
This means that that they will use the proposed new crossing at the bottom of Ock Street. To use this they will have to cross via the existing crossing, and this will hold up the traffic on Drayton Road.
When they then cross Ock Street, this will hold up the traffic approaching from the town centre, and vehicles trying to exit the Drayton Road will block the roundabout and cause GRIDLOCK.
This idea from the planning inspector needs to be rethought !!!!!
Good News !!!!!!! If the existing crossing in Marcham Road is moved further up the road children will not use it to cross to Spring Road. This means that that they will use the proposed new crossing at the bottom of Ock Street. To use this they will have to cross via the existing crossing, and this will hold up the traffic on Drayton Road. When they then cross Ock Street, this will hold up the traffic approaching from the town centre, and vehicles trying to exit the Drayton Road will block the roundabout and cause GRIDLOCK. This idea from the planning inspector needs to be rethought !!!!! Inkpot
  • Score: 4

12:45pm Tue 1 Apr 14

TonyH says...

Inkpot, I'm sure you mean well, but the appeal inspector doesn't give a toss. If you read the appeal decision, the evidence is flawed, every local authority had rejected the estate, and yet quite plainly the Govt had managed to get word to the supposedly 'independent' inspectors as all round the country any appeal that mentioned 'housing' was given a 'YES'. In this case the developer presented 'evidence' that said 159 dwelling will produce, in the morning rush, just 41 car journeys, 30 to Abingdon, and 11 south to Drayton etc. Also that the avg wait coming up to the Ock St mini-roundabouts is 9 mins at that time. So, apparently most people going to live there are either pensioners, or have no job (neither group need more new housing) - cos if they're working those figures are plainly nonsense - and my OH reckons the wait is more like 29mins. Someone who attended the inquiry said it was obvious what the outcome would be, and the final document sweeps away all arguments inc problems re flood plain, environment etc, just 'house are good'.

Neither should people rejoice at this decision - from memory the document mentioned that if this 'sop' re the crossings was rejected by local planners (the inspector had mentioned the crossings to placate the inevitable outcry re the daft/crooked decision) that should NOT rule out the developmemt. He'd foreseen that OCC/Vale might try this blocking tactic.
Inkpot, I'm sure you mean well, but the appeal inspector doesn't give a toss. If you read the appeal decision, the evidence is flawed, every local authority had rejected the estate, and yet quite plainly the Govt had managed to get word to the supposedly 'independent' inspectors as all round the country any appeal that mentioned 'housing' was given a 'YES'. In this case the developer presented 'evidence' that said 159 dwelling will produce, in the morning rush, just 41 car journeys, 30 to Abingdon, and 11 south to Drayton etc. Also that the avg wait coming up to the Ock St mini-roundabouts is 9 mins at that time. So, apparently most people going to live there are either pensioners, or have no job (neither group need more new housing) - cos if they're working those figures are plainly nonsense - and my OH reckons the wait is more like 29mins. Someone who attended the inquiry said it was obvious what the outcome would be, and the final document sweeps away all arguments inc problems re flood plain, environment etc, just 'house are good'. Neither should people rejoice at this decision - from memory the document mentioned that if this 'sop' re the crossings was rejected by local planners (the inspector had mentioned the crossings to placate the inevitable outcry re the daft/crooked decision) that should NOT rule out the developmemt. He'd foreseen that OCC/Vale might try this blocking tactic. TonyH
  • Score: -1

8:27am Mon 7 Apr 14

Abingdon Neil says...

TonyH - no, the Inspector allowed the planning permission subject to the crossings moving. He made it very clear that it was for OCC to make the decision on the crossing and that evidence might well come to light that would stop it. (In planning law this is known as a 'Grampian condition').

So the developers may decide to try and challenge the decision, on the grounds that it was unreasonable or that the right procedure wasn't followed, or could come back with a fresh planning application for the site, but for the time being the decision stops the current development unless there is a successful challenge.
TonyH - no, the Inspector allowed the planning permission subject to the crossings moving. He made it very clear that it was for OCC to make the decision on the crossing and that evidence might well come to light that would stop it. (In planning law this is known as a 'Grampian condition'). So the developers may decide to try and challenge the decision, on the grounds that it was unreasonable or that the right procedure wasn't followed, or could come back with a fresh planning application for the site, but for the time being the decision stops the current development unless there is a successful challenge. Abingdon Neil
  • Score: 1

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