Objections to Rectory Development

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Haddenham-based builders, Rectory Homes, has submitted a further planning application to AVDC to extend its most recent development on Stanbridge Road (near the Garden Centre) to build a further 43 two and two-and-a-half storey flats and houses (Ref: 19/02145/APP).

The new houses will extend the current village envelope towards Aylesbury by building on a plot behind the existing strip of homes lining the road from the Woodways/Lower Road junction along Stanbridge Road (see image).

Haddenham Parish Council OPPOSES this development on the following grounds:

1) The wider site was assessed as HAD009 in the Jan 2017 HELAA (Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessment) for the VALP. Only one section of the site, fronting onto Stanbridge Road, was considered suitable for development of 43 houses. These houses have now been built. The HELAA concluded that the remainder of HAD009, including the proposed site, was unsuitable for development due to its poor relationship with the north and south of the village and the impact on views from the Chilterns.

2) A subsequent application for 14 houses on immediately adjacent land on Stanbridge Road to the south at Fairfields Farm by Rectory was approved as infill, and is currently under construction. A yet further application for 16 houses adjacent to Haddenham Garden Centre is still to be determined but would fill the gap as far as Haddenham Garden Centre. These 30 houses are together already in addition to the VALP allocation.

3) The VALP is now well advanced, the housing numbers (30,233) have been agreed between AVDC and the Inspector, and there is no requirement for a further allocation in Haddenham; indeed there has been a slight fall in the number for Haddenham in the "Modifications" now with the Inspector.

4) AVDC's most recent April 2019 5 Year Housing Land Supply position is positive at 5.9 years (as Rectory Homes acknowledge).

5) An application for 72 houses on a site further north on land east of Churchway, HAD002 in the HELAA, was rejected on appeal. This decision sets a more appropriate precedent than the two appeals quoted by Rectory in their application. The reason for rejection was: "the rest of the site is poorly related to existing development from the east and the south, including long distance views to the Chilterns". This decision mirrors the HELAA assessment in relation to both HAD002 and HAD009; essentially that eastwards expansion into open countryside
should be resisted.

6) If further development is required in a future plan period, this site is unlikely to be high in the ranking of possible suitable sites.

7) Housebuilders on two of the sites currently under construction in Haddenham are experiencing very slow sales, indicating over-supply, market saturation, and loss of buyer confidence.

8) Rectory are making much of their proposal for a higher proportion of smaller units. The PC would support this approach in principle, but only in the event of an additional housing requirement in Haddenham. It was of course open to Rectory to have built smaller homes on their two Stanbridge Road sites nearby.

9) Haddenham's selection as a 'strategic settlement' in the VALP is based principally on the assumption that the ease of access to Haddenham and Thame Parkway station makes development sustainable. This site is well beyond the distance that it is acknowledged commuters would be willing to walk rather than drive to a station. Therefore the site is not sustainable for Haddenham and will lead to increased vehicle movements and issues with parking close to the station.

10) The junction of Stanbridge Road and Lower Road is a local accident hot-spot in the village with cars failing to slow down on approach to the village via Lower Road, and vehicles traveling south or north along Stanbridge Road regularly overshooting the junction and ending up in the gardens of properties. The proximity of the proposed new access road close to this junction is likely to add to the hazards. If AVDC were minded to approve this application a feasibility study for traffic calming around the junction should be carried out and implementation conditioned as a S106 requirement.

11) There is a strong feeling in this community that it has exhausted its capacity to absorb the cumulative impact of 50% growth (1000 homes) in such a short time period in what is a village, not a town. Haddenham lacks some critical functions of a town, most particularly a retail high street or market square. No attention is being given to the growth impact on highways in particular. The cumulative impact of sequential development is causing
disintegration of the village roads, parking problems and endless road works. Most shopping trips and all secondary school trips are by road. We receive a huge daily influx of cars using the Parkway railway station (shared with the Thame) along what is a country lane, with some choosing to park on village roads to avoid station car park charges causing frustration and hostility. We have seen an increased number of HGVs on minor village roads, not suitable for such vehicles with property being damaged, valued heritage assets degraded, access restrictions and weight limits ignored. The outcome is an inherently unsatisfactory form of
development sprawling into open countryside and ever increasing traffic. Enough is enough.

12) In short, this is a hostile application and should be refused without further ado.

Members of the public may wish to submit their own personal comments to AVDC via the district council's planning portal. The views of Haddenham Parish Council might provide a helpful frame of reference.

To do so, simply click here, look for the 'Search for planning applications' option and enter this reference number in the 'Search' window: 19/02145/APP. The closing date for comments is 5th September 2019.