The proposed development site covers an area of 8.13 acres and is currently in agricultural use.
The site is bordered by existing homes in Barford Road, Church Street and Bradford Court to the west, and by properties in Milton Road to the south – some of which are separated from the site by a disused railway cutting.
A recent development lies to the south-east of the site and we are proposing to take access to the new homes from this location.
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.
Flood risk and drainage
As the site is currently undeveloped, existing rates of surface water run-off will need to be maintained (known as greenfield run-off rates) post development. This is in line with the current National Planning Policy Framework, and the proposals will be designed in consultation with the lead local flood authority and the Environment Agency.
Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) will be used where possible in order to mimic the natural surface water drainage of the site prior to development. This is likely to involve a connection to existing Thames Water systems with flow rates limited to greenfield run-off rates.
Foul water drainage will be connected to the Thames Water system, and consultation is currently ongoing with regard to acceptable flow rates.
A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment has been carried out to identify the potential landscape and visual sensitivities of the site and its surrounding area. The findings of the field appraisal have informed the design layout, as illustrated on the plan shown above, and key findings are as follows:
• The site is well related to the existing settlement edge as it is partially encircled by existing development.
• Views from nearby Public Rights of Way experience the site as a small field with overlooking development.
• Views out to the wider landscape are limited only from the north-eastern portion of the site where a localised valley provides – but also closes down – such views.
• St. Mary’s Church is a local landmark. Its spire creates a legible feature seen from some parts of the right of way passing through the site.
• The eastern boundary of the site benefits from tall hedgerows with mature hedgerow trees to create a distinct semi-natural boundary to the site.
An ecological appraisal has found that the majority of the site has low ecological value based on its current management; however, boundary hedgerows are of ecological interest and these would be sympathetically retained as part of our development. This would retain key green corridors across the site for wildlife.
The results of the ecology surveys undertaken have been used to inform mitigation and enhancement measures to ensure that the development would not harm local biodiversity, but would provide an enhancement.
An assessment of trees and hedgerow within the site has been carried out. This assessment highlighted the presence of predominantly semi-mature tree stock with the highest quality (Category A) trees being limited to the site’s southern and eastern boundaries and the remaining groups of trees found to be of B, C and U categories. Collectively, the trees contribute towards containment of the site and, where possible, will be retained and incorporated into a sensitively-designed layout.
An archaeological assessment of the site has been carried out and further investigation of the potential for the site to contain buried archaeology will take place in the near future. The results of this archaeological work will allow an informed decision to be made as to whether buried archaeology is present and if archaeological mitigation works will be required.
Access to local amenities
The nearest shop, a Costcutter, is just 280m from the site, and the closest primary school is 850m away, representing a 10-minute walk. The position of the proposed development therefore lends itself well to residents adopting walking as a frequent mode of travel, and the proximity of bus stops allows future residents to choose this method of travel to Banbury.
Local amenities and transport connections in Bloxham.
The site is also well situated for travel by bicycle, with direct access to National Route 5 which runs through the village and along Barford Road. This route offers a good cycle connection from the site to Banbury, including its railway station. Further afield, NRN5 connects Reading with the Midlands. Local amenities and transport connections are illustrated in the plan pictured right.
The national trip-generation database, TRICS, has been used to calculate expected traffic movements from the proposed development.
It has been determined that the development will generate around 18 two-way trips during each of the morning and evening weekday peak hours. The largest number of movements in any one direction will be 12 vehicles leaving the site between 8am and 9am. Even if all vehicles travelled in the same direction this would represent an average of one additional vehicle every five minutes; however, it is likely that this number would be spread across the local highway network.
It is understood that the mini-roundabout at the southern end of the village suffers congestion during the peak hours, but the level of traffic which will be generated by the development will not trigger a material change in its operation.
Detailed junction analyses are to be undertaken for all key junctions in the vicinity of the site. This analysis will include traffic which is likely to be generated by other local development for which planning permission has already been granted.
A Travel Plan is to be produced which will help to reduce vehicular trips even further by encouraging non-car modes of travel wherever possible.