Witney residents take dim view of Windrush Valley housing plan

The Oxford Times: Residents, left to right, Anne and David Wilson, Jacki Dickenson, Trudi Lee, Cllr Andrew Coles and Colin Dickenson say plans to build 270 homes in Windrush Valley will spoil some of the best views in Witney Residents, left to right, Anne and David Wilson, Jacki Dickenson, Trudi Lee, Cllr Andrew Coles and Colin Dickenson say plans to build 270 homes in Windrush Valley will spoil some of the best views in Witney

A DEVELOPER wants to build 270 homes in Witney’s Windrush Valley, prompting fears the ‘best view in town’ could be spoiled.

Residents have united against the proposals, which they say would spoil the view and threaten more homes with flooding.

Gladman Homes want to utilise a farmer’s field which lays behind two bungalows, the Windrush Inn and up to Apley Barn off Burford Road to build the new estate.

It says 30 per cent of the homes would be made affordable for local people and the site would include a public open space and recreational facilities, including a new play area.

Burford Road resident Roger Lee, 69, a retired bank manager, said it wasn’t a case of ‘not in my back yard’ but that the homes plan was over-development.

He added: “It’s a beautiful area where you look down into the valley. People take dogs for walks down there and it’s unbelievable they are choosing a site like that. This would spoil the best view in Witney.”

West Oxfordshire District Council member for Witney Central ward, Andrew Coles, said the plans had come “completely out of the blue”.

He said: “It’s in the wrong location because it’s on a flood plain in the most beautiful area.

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“People are mindful of the need for housing and we do have a very real need but you’ve got to put housing in the right places.

“If you build in the wrong places it can have a devastating impact on communities, particularly if you build so close to the River Windrush.”

Mr Coles said the site was vulnerable because the district council does not yet have a Local Plan in place to safeguard it from unwanted development.

Witney Town Council planning committee chairman Alan Beames did not believe the proposed homes would be at risk of flooding but said there would be a threat to properties in Bridge Street, Riverside Gardens and Aquarius.

He said: “It would definitely have a knock-on effect.”

WODC planning manager Phil Shaw said: “We’ve been made aware of the plans but haven’t been approached by the developer as part of the pre-application discussion.”

Gladman Homes declined to comment.

Comments (13)

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4:14pm Wed 2 Apr 14

The New Private Eye says...

Where are people going to live? Already over the last ten years over 5,000 have come to live in Oxfordshire from overseas, that is without the local populations children. there are 2 solutions, build more or get David to sort out the massive influx.
Where are people going to live? Already over the last ten years over 5,000 have come to live in Oxfordshire from overseas, that is without the local populations children. there are 2 solutions, build more or get David to sort out the massive influx. The New Private Eye
  • Score: -6

5:18pm Wed 2 Apr 14

jimster says...

Speaking as someone who has been pushed out of Witney, and all of Oxfordshire, away from my job, to Swindon, because I could not afford to purchase even a lowley one bedroom flat in Witney, I welcome building of new properties in Witney and the surrounding area.
Speaking as someone who has been pushed out of Witney, and all of Oxfordshire, away from my job, to Swindon, because I could not afford to purchase even a lowley one bedroom flat in Witney, I welcome building of new properties in Witney and the surrounding area. jimster
  • Score: -14

5:42pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Richard of Wantage says...

The New Private Eye wrote:
Where are people going to live? Already over the last ten years over 5,000 have come to live in Oxfordshire from overseas, that is without the local populations children. there are 2 solutions, build more or get David to sort out the massive influx.
Don't worry there will soon be enough homes for everybody Oxfordshire is getting over 100,000 new homes in the next 16 years. You may not be able to get to work because of the gridlock, but at least you will have a bedsit in a very large housing estate.
[quote][p][bold]The New Private Eye[/bold] wrote: Where are people going to live? Already over the last ten years over 5,000 have come to live in Oxfordshire from overseas, that is without the local populations children. there are 2 solutions, build more or get David to sort out the massive influx.[/p][/quote]Don't worry there will soon be enough homes for everybody Oxfordshire is getting over 100,000 new homes in the next 16 years. You may not be able to get to work because of the gridlock, but at least you will have a bedsit in a very large housing estate. Richard of Wantage
  • Score: 14

6:44pm Wed 2 Apr 14

picto68 says...

I agree Witney and West Oxfordshire need more houses, but more building on the Windrush flood planes is just a recipe for disaster. Has Witney not suffered enough flooding over the past five or so years?
I agree Witney and West Oxfordshire need more houses, but more building on the Windrush flood planes is just a recipe for disaster. Has Witney not suffered enough flooding over the past five or so years? picto68
  • Score: 23

8:22pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Richie24 says...

People should look more closely at this Gladman Homes company, it seems he's picking on green field sites all over the South East and now he's eyeing up another greenfield site, now that there is a planning free for all he'll probably get away with it! Houses are needed, but are they really needed on a hill side green field site, some of which does indeed flood, jutting out well into open countryside and is not very well served close by by any amenities such as shops, schools etc. Its all very well stating that 30% will be social housing, a lot of young people don't want to live in shared equity housing and no doubt the 70% will be completely out of reach of most local people anyway, rather it'll make a hefty profit for a speculative developer who'll leave the town and move on to his next site.
People should look more closely at this Gladman Homes company, it seems he's picking on green field sites all over the South East and now he's eyeing up another greenfield site, now that there is a planning free for all he'll probably get away with it! Houses are needed, but are they really needed on a hill side green field site, some of which does indeed flood, jutting out well into open countryside and is not very well served close by by any amenities such as shops, schools etc. Its all very well stating that 30% will be social housing, a lot of young people don't want to live in shared equity housing and no doubt the 70% will be completely out of reach of most local people anyway, rather it'll make a hefty profit for a speculative developer who'll leave the town and move on to his next site. Richie24
  • Score: 21

10:41pm Wed 2 Apr 14

windrushview says...

Money money money ..this is what this is about .The people of Witney will suffer with even more flooding if this is allowed to go through ..disgusting that anyone would ever think of building on such a flood plane .Sadly it seems these days there is always someone ,or some company all to ready to make money what ever the consequence.
WODC ..get ya act together and stop this .
Money money money ..this is what this is about .The people of Witney will suffer with even more flooding if this is allowed to go through ..disgusting that anyone would ever think of building on such a flood plane .Sadly it seems these days there is always someone ,or some company all to ready to make money what ever the consequence. WODC ..get ya act together and stop this . windrushview
  • Score: 23

9:18am Thu 3 Apr 14

DEnright says...

People in Witney need a say in how our town develops, not just landowners and developers. We also need roads, schools and local jobs for people across the town, not just new houses. This estate on the Windrush Valley is the wrong place, because of the flooding impact, the damage to local countryside and wildlife, the impact on neighbours, and the traffic problems.
People in Witney need a say in how our town develops, not just landowners and developers. We also need roads, schools and local jobs for people across the town, not just new houses. This estate on the Windrush Valley is the wrong place, because of the flooding impact, the damage to local countryside and wildlife, the impact on neighbours, and the traffic problems. DEnright
  • Score: 19

1:50pm Thu 3 Apr 14

thehistorian says...

picto68 wrote:
I agree Witney and West Oxfordshire need more houses, but more building on the Windrush flood planes is just a recipe for disaster. Has Witney not suffered enough flooding over the past five or so years?
This site has probably been chosen as it is hardly likely to cause flooding being so high above the Windrush and the Water Meadows. It seems an ideal site at the top of Tower Hill. Yet again the NIMBYs don't want the houses, why? It will spoil the view. Surely this cannot be a reason to turn down a reasonable housing proposal
[quote][p][bold]picto68[/bold] wrote: I agree Witney and West Oxfordshire need more houses, but more building on the Windrush flood planes is just a recipe for disaster. Has Witney not suffered enough flooding over the past five or so years?[/p][/quote]This site has probably been chosen as it is hardly likely to cause flooding being so high above the Windrush and the Water Meadows. It seems an ideal site at the top of Tower Hill. Yet again the NIMBYs don't want the houses, why? It will spoil the view. Surely this cannot be a reason to turn down a reasonable housing proposal thehistorian
  • Score: -16

8:59pm Thu 3 Apr 14

picto68 says...

thehistorian wrote:
picto68 wrote:
I agree Witney and West Oxfordshire need more houses, but more building on the Windrush flood planes is just a recipe for disaster. Has Witney not suffered enough flooding over the past five or so years?
This site has probably been chosen as it is hardly likely to cause flooding being so high above the Windrush and the Water Meadows. It seems an ideal site at the top of Tower Hill. Yet again the NIMBYs don't want the houses, why? It will spoil the view. Surely this cannot be a reason to turn down a reasonable housing proposal
I am hardly a NIMBY as I don't even live in Witney. But I do know that when Witney Town FC wanted to build a new ground on this site they were prevented from doing so because it is designated as a flood plane.
[quote][p][bold]thehistorian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]picto68[/bold] wrote: I agree Witney and West Oxfordshire need more houses, but more building on the Windrush flood planes is just a recipe for disaster. Has Witney not suffered enough flooding over the past five or so years?[/p][/quote]This site has probably been chosen as it is hardly likely to cause flooding being so high above the Windrush and the Water Meadows. It seems an ideal site at the top of Tower Hill. Yet again the NIMBYs don't want the houses, why? It will spoil the view. Surely this cannot be a reason to turn down a reasonable housing proposal[/p][/quote]I am hardly a NIMBY as I don't even live in Witney. But I do know that when Witney Town FC wanted to build a new ground on this site they were prevented from doing so because it is designated as a flood plane. picto68
  • Score: 3

10:25pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Sustainabledevelopment says...

The whole reason it is a flood risk is because of its 'high' position - you remove a natural soakaway in the form of greenfield that backs onto an already full to capacity river and floodplain - where does all the surface water run off go? Straight into the river without soaking through the land and then straight into the centre of Witney. Is a balancing pond really going to mitigate the threat of flooding in heavy rainfall? Especially when other flood mitigation measures in Witney have failed in the past? The area has been cited time and time again by WOC and third party experts as being unsuitable for development given its location - the windrush valley is an intrinsic part of Witney's heritage and chucking a load of naff housing on it will destroy the landscape aspect. And why here? Because the land developer Gladman only target greenfield and they will buy the land cheap and make a monumental profit out of it. They are actively exploiting planning loopholes (as reported in the Sunday Times) and are targeting villages in the south east, under the veil of 'sustainability' - building on Greenfield on a site like this is not sustainable (brownfield should be a priority).There are other more suitable greenfield sites that have been assessed for development in the Local Plan strategic site allocation reports and this site isnt even mentioned. Its actually been marked in a 'protection from urban sprawl' policy area. If they build here, when will it stop? Of course we need more housing - but build it where its suitable, where the landscape wont suffer, where there wont be indirect negative effects on biodiversity, where infrastructure wont be put under pressure, and where the rivers wont be subjected to further flooding risk.
The whole reason it is a flood risk is because of its 'high' position - you remove a natural soakaway in the form of greenfield that backs onto an already full to capacity river and floodplain - where does all the surface water run off go? Straight into the river without soaking through the land and then straight into the centre of Witney. Is a balancing pond really going to mitigate the threat of flooding in heavy rainfall? Especially when other flood mitigation measures in Witney have failed in the past? The area has been cited time and time again by WOC and third party experts as being unsuitable for development given its location - the windrush valley is an intrinsic part of Witney's heritage and chucking a load of naff housing on it will destroy the landscape aspect. And why here? Because the land developer Gladman only target greenfield and they will buy the land cheap and make a monumental profit out of it. They are actively exploiting planning loopholes (as reported in the Sunday Times) and are targeting villages in the south east, under the veil of 'sustainability' - building on Greenfield on a site like this is not sustainable (brownfield should be a priority).There are other more suitable greenfield sites that have been assessed for development in the Local Plan strategic site allocation reports and this site isnt even mentioned. Its actually been marked in a 'protection from urban sprawl' policy area. If they build here, when will it stop? Of course we need more housing - but build it where its suitable, where the landscape wont suffer, where there wont be indirect negative effects on biodiversity, where infrastructure wont be put under pressure, and where the rivers wont be subjected to further flooding risk. Sustainabledevelopment
  • Score: 13

10:59pm Fri 4 Apr 14

mfhxgram says...

This can only be described as speculative capitalist greenfield exploitation by rogue developer Gladman who have a track record of unstainable developments. A company whom target planning loopholes for huge financial gains where the local authorities have dragged their heals in implementing their local plans. Their mission statement is clear – being ’obsessed’ with gaining planning permissions at any cost. Witney authority have already identified this area for the prevention of urban sprawl. Gladman have a complete disregard for the environment, local residents, transportation infrastructure, sustainable development and the impact on the local community from inappropriate developments without due consideration of the impact on traffic and overland flow issues. This proposed development presents a significant risk to downstream properties and business from flooding in an area already in a precarious position in 2007 and 2013. By allowing such development it will set a very dangerous precedent placing the power firmly in the hands of developers to exploit the greenbelt in Witney for pure profit.
This can only be described as speculative capitalist greenfield exploitation by rogue developer Gladman who have a track record of unstainable developments. A company whom target planning loopholes for huge financial gains where the local authorities have dragged their heals in implementing their local plans. Their mission statement is clear – being ’obsessed’ with gaining planning permissions at any cost. Witney authority have already identified this area for the prevention of urban sprawl. Gladman have a complete disregard for the environment, local residents, transportation infrastructure, sustainable development and the impact on the local community from inappropriate developments without due consideration of the impact on traffic and overland flow issues. This proposed development presents a significant risk to downstream properties and business from flooding in an area already in a precarious position in 2007 and 2013. By allowing such development it will set a very dangerous precedent placing the power firmly in the hands of developers to exploit the greenbelt in Witney for pure profit. mfhxgram
  • Score: 13

1:29pm Tue 8 Apr 14

splashgreen says...

It's not just the developer who profits from housing ..... it is the landowner who profits as well. Whilst there is a great need for more housing, particularly affordable, there are already a number of development sites in the planning process eg Carterton which will provide a reasonable but perhaps not sufficient amount of housing. I would think that more than 30% will be required to be affordable should planning go ahead on the Windrush Valley. It does provide lovely views, it is a place for people to enjoy the countryside, riding, walking, bird watching, picnics, brambling, dog walking, even swimming I believe! Maybe warrants village green status!!!! If this is developed the accessible areas for enjoying such facilities will be reduced. We'll all have to drive to get to the countryside for fresh air! But nothing would surprise me about WODC planning. Having dealt with them myself they just don't care less and they are the most difficult people to talk to or get hold of. Either sick or gone home!!! There, I said it.
It's not just the developer who profits from housing ..... it is the landowner who profits as well. Whilst there is a great need for more housing, particularly affordable, there are already a number of development sites in the planning process eg Carterton which will provide a reasonable but perhaps not sufficient amount of housing. I would think that more than 30% will be required to be affordable should planning go ahead on the Windrush Valley. It does provide lovely views, it is a place for people to enjoy the countryside, riding, walking, bird watching, picnics, brambling, dog walking, even swimming I believe! Maybe warrants village green status!!!! If this is developed the accessible areas for enjoying such facilities will be reduced. We'll all have to drive to get to the countryside for fresh air! But nothing would surprise me about WODC planning. Having dealt with them myself they just don't care less and they are the most difficult people to talk to or get hold of. Either sick or gone home!!! There, I said it. splashgreen
  • Score: 7

6:02pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Star72 says...

People of Witney, if you are against this development, as I know many are, then make your opinion known. Do not take the view that objecting won't make any difference. If we all do our little bit to make our opposition known then we can stop this development going ahead. It worked for the Cogges Link Road,it can work for this. Don't make apathy the enemy. The real villain in this Gladman & their unscrupulous plans.You have an opportunity to object; use it!
People of Witney, if you are against this development, as I know many are, then make your opinion known. Do not take the view that objecting won't make any difference. If we all do our little bit to make our opposition known then we can stop this development going ahead. It worked for the Cogges Link Road,it can work for this. Don't make apathy the enemy. The real villain in this Gladman & their unscrupulous plans.You have an opportunity to object; use it! Star72
  • Score: 5

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