Foxley Oaks Objective Comments

The following notes have been painstakingly compiled by a couple whom are local residents to the proposed Foxley Oaks development who have taken the time to study ALL of the many documents provided as part of planning application 16/01196/OUT (click here to view it online).

This application is a prime example of a developer being extremely liberal with the truth in their accompanying assessments and taking advantage of the Christmas / new year period to make their application in the hope that residents will be ‘off guard’.

General observations

This land is a ‘’no-mans land’ in terms of it’s connectivity – it is equidistant between Bracknell and Wokingham and facilities in each town would be used from this site leading to a blurring of their separation. Adjacent Wokingham land is also offered for development and without joint consideration of adjacent sites  across the borough boundaries,  the councils cannot prevent loss of the strategic gap.
Amen Corner North is being marketed as a ‘Wokingham’ development – as Bellway state, Wokingham is the closest settlement and offers  the best facilities for residents of  this site –this is evidence of the perceived blurring of separation between the towns.
The area north of the ridge boundary of ACN has been assessed as completely separate from the scrub land close to London road  – it has always been less suitable for development because of its higher visual amenity value and  good quality agricultural land.
Willson Developments have submitted their proposals for an out of settlement development on the basis of Bracknell Forest housing shortfall. The SHELAA is still being considered and no action should be taken on this application until  the council has developed a long term strategy.,
Bracknell forest’s  own housing trajectory shows a surplus of availability during the time this development  could  become available.

Traffic assessment report

The main access arrangement has not been proposed.  Foxley fields is a smaller development which is accessed via a full size roundabout from Forest Road.  Foxley oaks should be serviced with a similar arrangement.
The traffic assessment does not acknowledge Foxley Lane (potentially the main access point for the development) as a commuter route between North Wokingham and Bracknell –therefore carrying faster moving traffic at peak times.
This will become used more with the developments at Matthews green in north Wokingham  and west Bracknell eg Blue Mountain,  in the opposite direction.
Traffic in Foxley Lane will also increase along with sales of houses in recent developments eg Millgate and Croudace
The east end of Foxley Lane is effectively single carriageway at the moment  due to on –road parking and a 90o bend which is not recognised
  • p40 7.9
    The traffic count did not consider that traffic currently  uses  the two access points into the Roebuck estate to  avoid  busy junctions – there was no count done at these points.
    The main junctions at each end of Foxley Lane ,which will be carrying more traffic, have not been mitigated in any way in this assessment
    Traffic flows for the sports pavilion and school have  not been considered
    Parking for the sports facilities has not been adequately considered
    Eg parking for match fixtures and training sessions.
  • P23 4.6 The proposal for the northern emergency vehicle access
    This position does not allow direct access from London road as it is north of the traffic restriction in Murrell Hill Lane. Emergency vehicles will need to be routed through the village thus adding to their response times.
  • P26 4.19 Lighting in MHL
    The rural ‘dark’ lane should be retained.
    P26 4.21 Travel by public transport
    Binfield is identified as already having a higher than average car ownership –  public transport is used by the economically inactive eg concessions and school access.
  • P26 4.23 Good opportunity to develop bus use
    Existing location of bus stops – at least a 10 minute walk away – will not outweigh the convenience of car use
  • P28 4.40 Off site highway mitigation
    St marks/popeswood road junction alteration is counter intuitive as alteration to favour  the highest traffic flow will increase  it’s average speed into the village.
  • P29 4.53 School parking
    Only one in three non-teaching staff will be able to park on-site
    The school is located in the highest density housing area – which will have the most on-road parking. On-road parking near the school is dangerous for school pedestrians
  • P6-11 Traffic count -existing
    • 8-9 (now) 212 cars from Forest  Road into Foxley Lane ie commuting towards Bracknell
    • 8-9 (now)114 cars in opposite direction ie commuting towards Wokingham
    • 5-6 (now)208 from Foxley Lane  into forest road ie return commute
    • 5-6 (now)59 in opposite direction

INDICATING COMMUTER THROUGH TRAFFIC

Projected flows in 2026 with development
There are reduced flows with no explanation

Landscape and visual impact assessment

General points

High landscape and visual sensitivity of the site and its surroundings are recognised within the council’s Landscape Character Assessment prepared in September 2016
  • P3 2.13 National policy planning framework
    Planning decisions should respond to the local character and history and reflect identity of local surroundings
  • P4 2.2 Views into and out of larger sites  should  be considered throughout the design process
    Local policy – council will protect land outside settlement for it’s own sake- particularly against development which will adversely affect the character appearance or function of the land
  • P6 2.27
    Strategic gap between Bracknell and Wokingham
    The gap between the two boroughs is being reduced – the size of the gap is not defined therefore it is vulnerable to encroachment from urban development on the edges of both towns.
  • P7 3.1.2 Baseline conditions
    ‘The site would form a natural extension to Binfield and relating to existing properties backing onto Foxley Lane and MHL’ This completely ignores the historic settlement at the north of the site.
  • P15 3.5.12 Borough character
    Gap 2 is identified as being important in maintaining the clear separate identities of Binfield and Wokingham. It is a coherent area
  • P15 3.5.13
    A mix of small pasture fields, woodlands and tree belts These are well enclosed, with limited views and a strong contrast to the urban form.
  • P16 3.6.2 Landscape character
    Along Foxley Lane and MHL existing properties along these frontages enjoy a rural aspect therefore landscape treatment warrants careful attention
  • P17 3.7.2 Existing visibility-a limited visual envelope
    There are long distance views especially westwards across into Wokingham borough.
  • P22 5.2.2 Hedgerows lost
    Field pattern established since 1898 separates grazing from arable. Height difference across the hedgerow has not been taken into account in the definition. Eg there is a 5ft height difference between the land on each side of  a hedgerow defined as ‘linear scrub’ (ie tree height  should be measured from its base, not the higher field!)
  • P22 5.2.4 Beneficial effects of conversion of agricultural land to wildflower areas
    There is a shortage of agricultural land in the Parish and some of this land has been identified as grade 2 (good quality)
  • P25 Table 2 Impact of proposed development
    MHL  -trees and shrubs to be planted  medium/adverse to low beneficial
    Why is there a need to introduce urban planting to a rural lane?
  • P27 6.2.2
    During construction existing views substituted by views of construction – the landscape treatment of the interface would be carefully considered with appropriate planting
    This should be carefully defined  – height, density, species, placement.
  • P36 8.2.1 Review against landscape aspects of planning policy
    New softer settlement edge to west, although currently hedgerows along MHL are soft edge to settlement
  • P37 8.3 Local policy
    This is outside the settlement boundary
  • P37 8.3.3
    Connectivity would be improved for local people and wildlife …. by building houses in their way???
  • P39 9.3.3 Visual effects
    Rural to urban leads to permanent loss of views from existing settlement
    Introducing the scheme
  • P4 Introduction
    ‘this application is by the same team as ACN.’ There are no parallels
    Different visual outlook, different quality of land and land use the two are not intervisible nor linked in use.

The site

The nationally significant historic farm settlement lies to the north of the site.
  • P6 The application
    ‘The medical centre is an important part of the scheme ‘– the whole scheme is being justified by its inclusion. The other public facilities have been given  cursory attention( school /sports).
  • P10 Assessment of the site
    This has previously been offered in the call for land and repeatedly been rejected for valid policy reasons and unsuitability for development.
  • P12 Connections –pedestrian and  cycle
    The route to London road is part of a  recreational route– it is not a destination
  • P16 Landscape character
    The croudace development is not shown
  • P21 Local character –area 6 edges
    ‘Edges, such as Foxley Lane and Murrell Hill Lane have a more sylvan character’ Any additional development around the edges of Binfield should emulate this atmosphere. Ie NOT urban
  • P22 Density of housing
    this is derived from central village areas which are not edge of settlement  -the density should be much lower as  in existing whitehouse farm settlement.
  • P24 Site analysis ecology
    A natural habitat is being destroyed and replaced by artificial attempts to re-create what is being lost
  • P26 Built heritage
    Existing properties closest to the development are omitted from consideration
    These five  properties have been linked historically for hundreds of years and should not be considered as separate enitites

Archaeology

Is the identified  prehistoric enclosure to be marked on the masterplan and on the ground. Will it be investigated?

Drainage

If there are no existing dwellings, how can it be assumed that the site has not flooded? The historic Whitehouse farm settlement has installed private flood prevention measures.
  • P32 The masterplan –maximising local connections
    General day to day needs are not met within a 10 minute walk  and will require transport by car.
  • P35 Site layout
    Emergency vehicle access via village (rather than direct from London Road -) will increase response times.
    School traffic is drawn into development to the densest populated area.
    Housing could be further from existing properties
    Sports facilities alongside MHL will encourage traffic movement and parking among recreational lane users.
    SANG should be located within the borough to reduce the housing density and improve the visual amenity within  the site
    The SUDS are a danger to the school children walking to school
    Why is there a circular loop to encourage traffic flow past more houses.
  • P68 Improvements to MHL
    Existing lane is unspoilt and rural – not appropriate to  introduce urban features such as bollards and lighting.
    Objectively assessed housing need
    General comment:
    The developer should respect the council’s current strategy to meet housing need.
    Latest published figures of the housing pipeline, from the council, are several months out of date . They do not take into account ‘soft’ sites which have recently become subject to full applications   -a direct result of the current national house building strategy.
    This should reduce pressure on the council to develop out of settlement sites.
    The timing of development at Foxleyoaks   would produce housing at the same time as the council’s predicted peak of new  housing availability.
    Noise assessment document
  • P9 4.6 Road traffic noise change
    Comparing 2026 development fully operational -6db increase on foxley lane ‘This is significant in the long term’

Flood risk assessment

  • P10 4.5 Flood risk to the site from ground water
    No history of flooding to the site from ground water – without any housing or domestic activity none would be recorded. Flood prevention pumping is carried out from properties adjacent to highest  elevation north edge of site.

Desk study and Preliminary risk assessment

  • P6 Local planning policy and guidance
    EN8 development on land outside settlement
    ‘development out of settlement boundaries will only be permitted where it does not adversely affect character appearance function of the land and would not damage its landscape quality’
    EN20 design considerations in new development –sympathy with appearance and character of environment, appropriate in scale and siting both in itself and in relation to adjoining buildings spaces and views.
  • P17 4.4 Locally listed buildings
    (the) Whitehouse – inaccuracies in assessment –there are NO ‘garages ‘ restricting views of the site
    View of the site is 180o from garden ,120o from house
    -there are no replacement windows to the East elevation
    -there is an existing outbuilding to the north (not converted)
    -Mosscroft –not considered at all
    Whitehouse farm –not considered individually –inaccurate dating (17th century hovel  – original features remain.) NOT 19th century
    Barn –not considered individually
    THIS GROUP OF BUILDINGS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A SINGLE SETTLEMENT AS SHOWN ON OS MAP 1898
  • P20 Assessment of impact
    (the) whitehouse – there is an unrestricted view of  the development from the house and from the garden.
  • P9 Historic map regression
    The 1839 tithe maps shows the existing field boundaries in place yet the classification of the hedgerows is described as ‘linear scrub’ therefore facilitating its removal.

Foxley Oaks Binfield

SANG

The SANG facility should be kept within Bracknell Forest /Binfield to retain the rural character and reduce the density of housing in Binfield
  • P8 2.34 Landscape character context
    ‘Notable components of the landscape include relatively well managed hedgerows with trees’ Why destroy the context of this landscape with new roads and buildings?
  • P15 4.3 Car park
    10 car parking spaces for the sang – residents from Binfield who would normally walk their dog in this rural area will now have to use their car to access open countryside.
    Planning Statement
  • P15 6.58
    Development of this land was rejected in 2010. The council site suitability matrix , found in the SHELAA monitoring report 2013, identifies that the site is constrained by the following:
    -It is outside the settlement boundary
    -It is unclear how the development would address the need for educational facilities
    -there is concern that the site would affect the distinctiveness of Binfield
    -concern regarding the impact the site would have on Biodiversity -it is more than 500m from a strategic road network
    -more than 50 per cent greenfield
    -the agricultural land quality is good
    -proximity to local wildlife site, ancient woodland and listed building
    It is still unclear whether the school has any investor support
  • P21 6.58
    Transport ‘council will use its planning and transport power to reduce the need to travel’
    All facilities are over a mile away and need to be accessed by car.
    Existing bus routes are under –used despite being supported by the council.
  • P35 7.16 Lack of a 5 year supply
    Projected completion date of these properties coincides with the council projected peak completions – where there is no anticipated shortfall.
    Existing SHELAA sites are now coming to full planning application as a result of the national building policy.
    Current parliamentary debate is leading to a new Neighbourhood planning Bill which is a response to a lack of local influence on the planning process.http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2016-17/neighbourhoodplanning.html   This may support councils in resisting inappropriate out of settlement applications.
  • P47 7.78 Environmental sustainability
    The site has moderate/high sensitivity in a published landscape assessment
  • P53 7.108 Archaeology
    Pre-historic enclosure has no position or status on the plan. It should take a position in the development which would allow future investigation to take place. (ie in accessible public area)

Agricultural Land Classification
Appendix 2

Site includes good quality agricultural land which is being underused due to it’s continual submission for development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *