Plans prompt flooding fears

Steve Fraser with upset residents who do not want a proposed new housing development in Abingdon to go ahead

Steve Fraser with upset residents who do not want a proposed new housing development in Abingdon to go ahead

First published in Abingdon Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

PLANS to build 170 homes in Abingdon have alarmed neighbours.

Developer Hallam Land Management wants to build the two and three bedroom properties on a field between Virginia Way and Stonehill off Drayton Road.

But residents invited to comment on the plans say the development site is on a flood plain and fear it could lead to more fields being built on.

Steve Fraser, of Overmead Road, said: “We have always said in the past that a development here would be ridiculous, there is a sewage works nearby, and these fields are in a flood plain.”

Mr Fraser said the last time the fields flooded the water came close to his house.

He was also worried the field in front of his house could be next for development.

The 50-year-old said: “None of us would agree to this, it would destroy something beautiful out there. “Our field is the one behind and who is to say they won’t come down here next?

Pat Thomas, 64, also from Overmead Road, said: “They will have a war on their hands, we don’t want it at all. These fields have been here since before I was born, I see deer in there, and badgers, foxes and hedgehogs – where are they all going to go?

“If they start building up there, they will have access and our field will be next.”

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Hallam Land Management is holding a public exhibition on its proposals tomorrow at the Roysse Room in the Guildhall, between 1pm and 8pm.

It is seeking the views of local residents and members of the development team will be on hand to answer questions.

District and town councillor Aidan Melville said: “They have kept this under the radar. For a start it is in the part of town which doesn’t have great transport infrastructure. “It already gets so congested with traffic , it is a no brainer, plus it is prone to flooding.”

He added that he would be writing to the developer to “outline his thoughts”.

But not everyone is opposed to the plan.

Gary Gill, 46, from Northcourt Road, said: “It’s a good thing. Housing has got to be built. You will always get people whinging and saying not in my back yard.”

Hallam spokesman Andy Birch said: “The exhibition we are holding will be an opportunity for local people to discuss the principle and proposals for the site, and offer feedback to the development team.

“Abingdon is a sustainable location and new homes are required for the existing population, including affordable homes, and to support growth in the local economy.

“We already understand many of the technical issues relating to the site, but we will be exploring ways to offer benefits to the local community such as through improving the local highway network.”

An application will be submitted to Vale of White Horse District Council at a later date.

Comments (15)

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5:32pm Wed 5 Sep 12

Gunslinger says...

While it is possible to understand peoples' concerns, they need to remember that where they are living now was once someone else's open countryside with foxes badgers etc.. People have to live somewhere.
I'm not sure this particular site is in the flood plain, as the ground rises quite a bit towards the Drayton Road.
While it is possible to understand peoples' concerns, they need to remember that where they are living now was once someone else's open countryside with foxes badgers etc.. People have to live somewhere. I'm not sure this particular site is in the flood plain, as the ground rises quite a bit towards the Drayton Road. Gunslinger
  • Score: 0

5:48pm Wed 5 Sep 12

jamiek says...

Got to agree with Gunslinger nimbys the lot of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Got to agree with Gunslinger nimbys the lot of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!! jamiek
  • Score: -2

6:46pm Wed 5 Sep 12

Lord Palmerstone says...

Gunslinger wrote:
While it is possible to understand peoples' concerns, they need to remember that where they are living now was once someone else's open countryside with foxes badgers etc.. People have to live somewhere.
I'm not sure this particular site is in the flood plain, as the ground rises quite a bit towards the Drayton Road.
They do have to live somewhere, but that is surely where they're living now. The indigenous population is having fewer children and when the EU implodes we can require Eastern Europeans to return to the uncrowded countries whence they came, so let's not rush into concreting every bloomin' bit of our tiny overcrowded island.
[quote][p][bold]Gunslinger[/bold] wrote: While it is possible to understand peoples' concerns, they need to remember that where they are living now was once someone else's open countryside with foxes badgers etc.. People have to live somewhere. I'm not sure this particular site is in the flood plain, as the ground rises quite a bit towards the Drayton Road.[/p][/quote]They do have to live somewhere, but that is surely where they're living now. The indigenous population is having fewer children and when the EU implodes we can require Eastern Europeans to return to the uncrowded countries whence they came, so let's not rush into concreting every bloomin' bit of our tiny overcrowded island. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 1

7:26pm Wed 5 Sep 12

Gunslinger says...

An unnecessarily alarmist article. Per the Environment Agency web site, the area between Virginia Way and Drayton Road is NOT in a flood plain.

The area adjacent to Overmead is only in 'extent of extreme flood' - along with the sewage works and the Council-owned playing fields and park.
An unnecessarily alarmist article. Per the Environment Agency web site, the area between Virginia Way and Drayton Road is NOT in a flood plain. The area adjacent to Overmead is only in 'extent of extreme flood' - along with the sewage works and the Council-owned playing fields and park. Gunslinger
  • Score: 1

9:40pm Wed 5 Sep 12

holli2012 says...

They do have to live somewhere, but that is surely where they're living now. The indigenous population is having fewer children and when the EU implodes we can require Eastern Europeans to return to the uncrowded countries whence they came, so let's not rush into concreting every bloomin' bit of our tiny overcrowded island. ........ well said and to be honest the name calling is childish we are all alowed to express our opinion if that were my children i would be worried to merely having then growing up in a society that wants no land left for them to play and climb trees maybe we should buy them all xbox now lock them in there rooms and make them obese!
They do have to live somewhere, but that is surely where they're living now. The indigenous population is having fewer children and when the EU implodes we can require Eastern Europeans to return to the uncrowded countries whence they came, so let's not rush into concreting every bloomin' bit of our tiny overcrowded island. ........ well said and to be honest the name calling is childish we are all alowed to express our opinion if that were my children i would be worried to merely having then growing up in a society that wants no land left for them to play and climb trees maybe we should buy them all xbox now lock them in there rooms and make them obese! holli2012
  • Score: -4

1:05pm Thu 6 Sep 12

DDOxon says...

I am born and bred in Abingdon and still live there! I am all up for new houses being built, as people need somewhere to live - simple as that. Especially the youth of Abingdon who grow up in the town and are forced to move due to high house prices - lets hope this housing is a little more affordable! The only concern I do have is with regards to the traffic. The traffic in Abingdon is already abysmal during rush hour, especially the Drayton Road.... If they want to build houses there, they need to think about the impact on the roads.

And you never know - maybe building more houses and increasing the population of the town; might lead to us finally having decent amenities?!?!
I am born and bred in Abingdon and still live there! I am all up for new houses being built, as people need somewhere to live - simple as that. Especially the youth of Abingdon who grow up in the town and are forced to move due to high house prices - lets hope this housing is a little more affordable! The only concern I do have is with regards to the traffic. The traffic in Abingdon is already abysmal during rush hour, especially the Drayton Road.... If they want to build houses there, they need to think about the impact on the roads. And you never know - maybe building more houses and increasing the population of the town; might lead to us finally having decent amenities?!?! DDOxon
  • Score: 1

1:30pm Thu 6 Sep 12

RJOxford says...

Far be it from me to be critical of the Oxford Mail's reporting, but it is not called "Overmead Road" and never had - simply "Overmead" - because it looks over a mead. It is a path.
Far be it from me to be critical of the Oxford Mail's reporting, but it is not called "Overmead Road" and never had - simply "Overmead" - because it looks over a mead. It is a path. RJOxford
  • Score: -1

2:53pm Thu 6 Sep 12

mac123 says...

I agree with DDOxon, the traffic at Drayton Road is awful, queues are soul destroying going into Abingdon every morning on School days. It can take 20 to 30 mins to drive less than a mile. Will be fun with an extra 170 houses there with a possible 200 plus cars. It wont matter what people want they will be built and some official will receive a nice cake from Mr Builder stuffed with £20 notes & the use of his Villa in some Med Island for a couple of weeks. LOL.
I agree with DDOxon, the traffic at Drayton Road is awful, queues are soul destroying going into Abingdon every morning on School days. It can take 20 to 30 mins to drive less than a mile. Will be fun with an extra 170 houses there with a possible 200 plus cars. It wont matter what people want they will be built and some official will receive a nice cake from Mr Builder stuffed with £20 notes & the use of his Villa in some Med Island for a couple of weeks. LOL. mac123
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Thu 6 Sep 12

Iain L says...

I went to the presentation today and I certainly won't be supporting the scheme.

Removing yet more green spa e to add houses.

Totally unrealistic ideas about likely impact on Drayton road traffic and their ability to solve

If they have to invest in traffic they will correspondingly reduce social housing component

They don't own the land at this point

I also suspect if this went through there are a number of similar neighbouring fields which could follow. Abingdon and Drayton would become one big town.

If you're concerned make your views known to this consultation and also when/if they submit planning application in the next two months
I went to the presentation today and I certainly won't be supporting the scheme. Removing yet more green spa e to add houses. Totally unrealistic ideas about likely impact on Drayton road traffic and their ability to solve If they have to invest in traffic they will correspondingly reduce social housing component They don't own the land at this point I also suspect if this went through there are a number of similar neighbouring fields which could follow. Abingdon and Drayton would become one big town. If you're concerned make your views known to this consultation and also when/if they submit planning application in the next two months Iain L
  • Score: 0

1:06pm Sat 8 Sep 12

iloveabingdonasitis says...

I see many people making these 'pro' comments live in the North of Abingdon ....... try living off the Drayton Road - one way out of Abingdon, and it's up the Drayton Road. Impossible to even get off Mill Road between 8am - 9am! If you're happy with having more houses being built in the town, why not pop them in your back yard. I'm sure many of us would be happy for that.

We've lost our brewery, Old Gaol, Pavlova site, Caldecott House, MG grounds, farmlands, small pockets in the town centre, pubs and many more... all lost to housing developments. 170 houses on this proposed new site = approx 340 cars (2/household) = more traffic = more people = more roads = more houses = viscious circle!

When will it stop!
I see many people making these 'pro' comments live in the North of Abingdon ....... try living off the Drayton Road - one way out of Abingdon, and it's up the Drayton Road. Impossible to even get off Mill Road between 8am - 9am! If you're happy with having more houses being built in the town, why not pop them in your back yard. I'm sure many of us would be happy for that. We've lost our brewery, Old Gaol, Pavlova site, Caldecott House, MG grounds, farmlands, small pockets in the town centre, pubs and many more... all lost to housing developments. 170 houses on this proposed new site = approx 340 cars (2/household) = more traffic = more people = more roads = more houses = viscious circle! When will it stop! iloveabingdonasitis
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Sat 8 Sep 12

mickeybear says...

According to the standard traffic figures used by the OCC (and the Environment Agency and Department for Transport), this development would add about 765 vehicle movements a day (the majority at peak times) to the already most congested routes into town (along the Drayton Road and St Helen's Wharf). The District has failed miserably (not quite as badly as the County, but that would be well-nigh impossible!) to address the issues of air pollution in the town centre, the huge drop in cycle use by pupils on the school run (because of the increasingly dangerous road conditions and the fumes), and this latest development could well push things over the edge. The pollution levels are already so high as to pose a direct threat to human health, and breach EU danger limits, and the traffic problems are a severe drag on the attempts to re-brand the Town and exploit its undoubted potential. Unless and until someone has the courage to grasp the nettle, this situation will continue.
According to the standard traffic figures used by the OCC (and the Environment Agency and Department for Transport), this development would add about 765 vehicle movements a day (the majority at peak times) to the already most congested routes into town (along the Drayton Road and St Helen's Wharf). The District has failed miserably (not quite as badly as the County, but that would be well-nigh impossible!) to address the issues of air pollution in the town centre, the huge drop in cycle use by pupils on the school run (because of the increasingly dangerous road conditions and the fumes), and this latest development could well push things over the edge. The pollution levels are already so high as to pose a direct threat to human health, and breach EU danger limits, and the traffic problems are a severe drag on the attempts to re-brand the Town and exploit its undoubted potential. Unless and until someone has the courage to grasp the nettle, this situation will continue. mickeybear
  • Score: 0

10:21pm Sat 8 Sep 12

Jacks son says...

Mickeybear - just curious....what would YOU suggest? How would YOU grasp the thistle?

I agree with your sentiment...but just curious how/what you would suggest is done to improve the situation.

Bear in mind of course; the biggest hurdle to smack you in the face isn't the dire finances of the situation...but the fact that the Blue team and the Yellow team are more eager to score political points than to sort traffic woes in Abingdon. The MG garden at the double roundabout is a case in point. There was no combined political will to put the land to use to help the traffic situation and knock on effects. It was far better that a resolution WASN'T found and an opportunity lost for the town, than anyone conceded any political ground. Party politics first. town second.
Mickeybear - just curious....what would YOU suggest? How would YOU grasp the thistle? I agree with your sentiment...but just curious how/what you would suggest is done to improve the situation. Bear in mind of course; the biggest hurdle to smack you in the face isn't the dire finances of the situation...but the fact that the Blue team and the Yellow team are more eager to score political points than to sort traffic woes in Abingdon. The MG garden at the double roundabout is a case in point. There was no combined political will to put the land to use to help the traffic situation and knock on effects. It was far better that a resolution WASN'T found and an opportunity lost for the town, than anyone conceded any political ground. Party politics first. town second. Jacks son
  • Score: 0

10:39pm Sat 8 Sep 12

Iain L says...

Jack - I think you're mistaken if you think this is a party political thing.

The challenge is that the only scheme which would alleviate the situation on the Drayton Road is the creation of a second river crossing.

This scheme would cost c£20m and the money simply isn't available at present. Both parties in Abingdon have made representations to the county council, fairly forcibly.

The challenge is that currently infrastructure funding is tightly tied to housing. To fund the second crossing would require an additional (above what we already have) 6000 new houses. None of the parties in Abingdon are currently willing to countenance this.

The mg gardens is a red herring as is the idea of a traffic controlled roundabout by the white horse. There have been thorough investigations on these schemes and he problem is they just move the bottleneck rather than actually relieving the traffic on the Drayton road.
Jack - I think you're mistaken if you think this is a party political thing. The challenge is that the only scheme which would alleviate the situation on the Drayton Road is the creation of a second river crossing. This scheme would cost c£20m and the money simply isn't available at present. Both parties in Abingdon have made representations to the county council, fairly forcibly. The challenge is that currently infrastructure funding is tightly tied to housing. To fund the second crossing would require an additional (above what we already have) 6000 new houses. None of the parties in Abingdon are currently willing to countenance this. The mg gardens is a red herring as is the idea of a traffic controlled roundabout by the white horse. There have been thorough investigations on these schemes and he problem is they just move the bottleneck rather than actually relieving the traffic on the Drayton road. Iain L
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Sun 9 Sep 12

Jacks son says...

Iain, I am grateful for your efforts and time in replying to rants put on this and other blogs.

I am curious though...and you'll have to forgive me as acutely accurate series of events seem hard to come by; but...wasn't there a suggestion that an extra "left hand filter" lane was/could have been added at the double round abouts to try and alleviate the traffic headed from Drayton to the A34? But there were issues between the Blue team and the Yellow team who owned the land vs those who deal with the roads - so whilst the land was available for a time...the opportunity was then lost as the land now has a new and different use? I agree...traffic lights here aren't the answer...but other options seem to be being lost.

I went to a meeting a few months ago about the grand transport plan for Abingddon and it was said that we'd only get infrastructure improvement (roads, bridges etc) once we've had our expansion....to which there was uproar in the 13 strong crowd as it was pointed out how the town has HAD that expansion in the past already? Who's arguing That point...or is there no point. Is anyone trying to get part of the £3m back from consultants who miss sold SCOOT and ABITs to us? Also, is the ONLY scheme for the Drayton road a second river crossing? That's one of many goals; what about the opening of the slip road to head north on the A34 that's overgrown at Drayton? The best the grand plan had to offer was to suggest we all use bikes and busses more. Golly....I hope we paid a lot for THAT suggestion!

I really am with you in promoting all things great and good about our town, I'm glad to raise a family here...but for all the good and wonderful things that there are and are yet to come...doesn't make the bad things go away. So...what can just a resident do to address those bad things (whilst others continue to work on the good)? Should I get a law degree so I/we can sue those ABITs consultants, or does someone already have one that we can speak to?
Iain, I am grateful for your efforts and time in replying to rants put on this and other blogs. I am curious though...and you'll have to forgive me as acutely accurate series of events seem hard to come by; but...wasn't there a suggestion that an extra "left hand filter" lane was/could have been added at the double round abouts to try and alleviate the traffic headed from Drayton to the A34? But there were issues between the Blue team and the Yellow team who owned the land vs those who deal with the roads - so whilst the land was available for a time...the opportunity was then lost as the land now has a new and different use? I agree...traffic lights here aren't the answer...but other options seem to be being lost. I went to a meeting a few months ago about the grand transport plan for Abingddon and it was said that we'd only get infrastructure improvement (roads, bridges etc) once we've had our expansion....to which there was uproar in the 13 strong crowd as it was pointed out how the town has HAD that expansion in the past already? Who's arguing That point...or is there no point. Is anyone trying to get part of the £3m back from consultants who miss sold SCOOT and ABITs to us? Also, is the ONLY scheme for the Drayton road a second river crossing? That's one of many goals; what about the opening of the slip road to head north on the A34 that's overgrown at Drayton? The best the grand plan had to offer was to suggest we all use bikes and busses more. Golly....I hope we paid a lot for THAT suggestion! I really am with you in promoting all things great and good about our town, I'm glad to raise a family here...but for all the good and wonderful things that there are and are yet to come...doesn't make the bad things go away. So...what can just a resident do to address those bad things (whilst others continue to work on the good)? Should I get a law degree so I/we can sue those ABITs consultants, or does someone already have one that we can speak to? Jacks son
  • Score: 0

1:43pm Mon 10 Sep 12

Abingdon Neil says...

I don't think this scheme should go ahead unless and until there is a significant improvement in transport infrastructure.

The biggest problem currently is the failure of the Vale District Council to get the new Local Plan finished and agreed. For as long as the Plan is not formally adopted opposition to any planning application is severly weakened.

The sooner the Vale finishes this process the better.

Iain L is correct that town councillors of all parties have argued for investment in Abingdon's infrastructure to alleviate the problems.

Longer term measures including a second river crossing, making the north Abingdon A34 junction into a full diamond interchange and opening up the Drayton slips were included in the 'ABITS' scheme, and, therefore, in the County Council's Transport Plan. However the County Council dropped these proposals in the latest version of the Plan, despite including similar proposals in other parts of the County. As far as I know (and I hope Iain L will coreect me if I am wrong) Abingdon's County Councillors supported this Plan.
I don't think this scheme should go ahead unless and until there is a significant improvement in transport infrastructure. The biggest problem currently is the failure of the Vale District Council to get the new Local Plan finished and agreed. For as long as the Plan is not formally adopted opposition to any planning application is severly weakened. The sooner the Vale finishes this process the better. Iain L is correct that town councillors of all parties have argued for investment in Abingdon's infrastructure to alleviate the problems. Longer term measures including a second river crossing, making the north Abingdon A34 junction into a full diamond interchange and opening up the Drayton slips were included in the 'ABITS' scheme, and, therefore, in the County Council's Transport Plan. However the County Council dropped these proposals in the latest version of the Plan, despite including similar proposals in other parts of the County. As far as I know (and I hope Iain L will coreect me if I am wrong) Abingdon's County Councillors supported this Plan. Abingdon Neil
  • Score: 0

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