The proposed development site is an area of grassland covering 6.8 acres which is located on the western edge of the existing Newton Longville settlement area.
The site is located immediately south of Whaddon Road with existing residential properties in Whaddon Road, Lower End and Westbrook End situated at its eastern boundary. Existing residential properties are also located to the north of the site on the opposite side of Whaddon Road, while further grassland and farmland border the site to the west and south.
The development plan for the area is the Aylesbury Vale District Local Plan, which was adopted in 2007.
The housing supply policies within the adopted Local Plan are now out of date and work on a replacement, referred to as the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, is only at a very early stage. In these circumstances, the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) prescribes that development proposals should be approved unless any adverse effects of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the Framework as a whole.
Aylesbury Vale District Council has employed an interim approach to meeting housing needs in the District whilst work is completed on the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan, which utilises 2011 based Government Household Projections as a provisional requirement. Progress against this target will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications in the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan, and all development proposals will need to be considered on their own merits.
A Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) was undertaken by Aylesbury Vale District Council in 2013. This identified the Whaddon Road site as suitable for development, with it having no significant constraints and being well related to the built form of Newton Longville. The site is also considered to be sympathetic to wider landscape views of the setting of the village. The SHLAA will also be a material consideration in the determination of a planning application for the site.
Before we start designing a new scheme, we complete an assessment of the site and the surrounding area as they are at the moment. We record those features we will need to take into account in our design. All of the relevant considerations, whether they fix the way our scheme will have to be designed or give us a real opportunity to make the most of a particular feature, are shown here.
This plan shows how the characteristics of the site and its surroundings are being taken into consideration.
An Ecological Appraisal was completed at the site in May 2013, and this highlighted an area of grassland in the northern section of the site as being of potential ecological value. A further botanical survey (September 2013) identified this as species-rich grassland of a type which is now very uncommon in Aylesbury Vale. The decision has therefore been taken to preserve this northern section of grassland in its current state.
The grasslands in the southern section of the site have been significantly disturbed in recent times and are therefore of relatively low conservation value. As such, the proposed development will be focused in this area.
The loss of the southern grassland will be compensated for to ensure there is no overall loss of biodiversity. Targeted surveys including badger, bat, breeding bird and botany surveys were carried out in the 2013 survey season. The results of these will be presented during the application process and appropriate measures will be taken to protect and enhance wildlife habitats as required.
Access and transport
Access to the proposed development will be taken via a new priority T-junction off Whaddon Road. Buckinghamshire County Council in its role as the Local Highways Authority has requested that the potential impact of the scheme on the local highways network is formally assessed, including by undertaking capacity assessments at seven key junctions in the vicinity of the site.
The findings of these capacity assessments will be presented in a Transport Assessment which will be submitted in support of our planning application. In the event that the assessments show that issues may arise in terms of highway safety and/or capacity as a result of the development, we will provide funding for the necessary highways improvement works to be carried out.
Buckinghamshire County Council has also requested that a Green Travel Plan is submitted with the planning application to promote sustainable modes of transport among future residents of the site.
Anglian Water has confirmed that there is capacity within the foul sewerage network to accommodate the proposed development.
Sustainable drainage techniques will be incorporated within the design of the site to manage surface water run-off for a 1-in-100-year flood event (with additional 30% allowance for climate change). This will take the form of swales and an on-site pond and will ensure that surface water run-off is discharged to the existing drainage network at a rate which is no higher than current greenfield run-off rates.
We are liaising with all relevant utility providers to ensure that there is sufficient capacity within their networks to supply the proposed development. In the event that capacity issues are envisaged, we will provide funding to enable the necessary network improvements to be carried out.
A tree survey will be carried out to assess the condition of existing trees within the proposed development site. All trees and hedgerow which are assessed as being in good condition will be retained where possible and protected during construction.
An Archaeological Evaluation was conducted on the site during June and August 2014. This included an assessment of documentary records, a geophysical survey and the excavation of 14 archaeological trial trenches. No obvious archaeological features were found within the site, with the exception of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation earthworks located in the north-western corner of the site. This area of land will remain undeveloped.