Draft Plan Policies

For several months, the Forum has been drafting the formal Policies that will take effect once the Neighbourhood Plan is approved. These policies have to comply with the existing statutory planning framework at national level. We cannot oppose the Government’s “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, and we must also comply with the Cherwell District Local Plan 2011-2031.

The drafting has therefore been influenced by expert advice from both Cherwell District Council and other specialist sources to ensure that the Independent Examiner does not reject any of our policies. However, we can only promote policies that are statutory planning matters. We have therefore put some of our policies that do not comply into another section of our Plan – the Community Action Plan, which will not form part of the development management process, but will be pursued over time by our Parish Councils and by the Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Forum.

The draft Policies are in five sections:

DEVELOPMENT POLICIES

HOUSING POLICIES

TRANSPORT POLICIES

COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE POLICIES

TECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURE POLICIES:

These policies have been further updated in March 2017 following local engagement meetings and the many helpful comments received.

Finally, below the Policies you can see the outline of our Community Action Plan, which is still work in progress:

COMMUNITY ACTION PLAN

DEVELOPMENT POLICIES:

POLICY PD01: DEVELOPMENT ON BROWNFIELD SITES
Applicants for development within the Neighbourhood Plan area are strongly encouraged to use previously developed land (brownfield sites), provided that it is in a sustainable location and not of high environmental value.

POLICY PD02: DEVELOPMENT AT CATEGORY A VILLAGES
Residential development proposed within the village settlement areas of Fritwell, Kirtlington and Steeple Aston in the form of infilling, conversions and minor development will in principle be supported provided it does not extend the settlement area. The settlement areas are established as an integral part of this Policy and defined in Appendix C figures AC2,3 and 4.

Any residential development proposed which is outside but immediately adjacent to the settlement areas of these three villages must have full regard to the criteria set out in Appendix AC3.6. Particular encouragement will be given to development on such sites that can be allocated as rural exception sites for affordable housing.

The number of additional dwellings permitted during the Plan period either within the settlement areas of these villages, or adjacent to them, shall be limited to approximately 25 for Fritwell, 17 for Kirtlington, and 20 for Steeple Aston. Supporting information is provided in Appendix C2.0.

POLICY PD03: DEVELOPMENT AT CATEGORY B VILLAGES
Residential development proposed within the village settlement areas of Middle Aston and Lower Heyford in the form of infilling, conversions and minor development will in principle be supported provided it does not extend the settlement area. Minor development is here defined as up to and including 9 dwellings. The settlement areas are established as an integral part of this Policy and defined in Appendix C figures AC5 and AC6.

Any residential development proposed which is outside but immediately adjacent to the settlement areas of these villages must have full regard to the criteria set out in Appendix AC3.6. Particular encouragement will be given to development on such sites that can be allocated as rural exception sites for affordable housing.

POLICY PD04: DEVELOPMENT IN CATEGORY C VILLAGES
In accordance with Local Plan Policy Villages 1, only residential development comprising infilling and conversions will be supported in Ardley with Fewcott, Duns Tew, Middleton Stoney, North Aston, Somerton and Upper Heyford.

POLICY PD05: DEVELOPMENT IN THE OPEN COUNTRYSIDE
Development proposals outside the designated settlement areas will not be supported unless they meet the following criteria:

a) development of a rural exception site for affordable housing, supported by the parish council/ meeting;
b) a single dwelling which is an essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside;
b) development which represents the optimum use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future use of a heritage asset;
c) development which would re-use redundant or disused buildings and would lead to an enhancement of the immediate setting;
or d) dwellings of exceptional quality or innovative design

AND in every case such development would maintain the rural character of the Plan area and would not result in the coalescence of settlements physically or visually.

POLICY PD06: DEVELOPMENT AT HEYFORD PARK
Any development which is proposed adjacent to the designated strategic area of Heyford Park must not give rise to coalescence with surrounding settlements.

POLICY PD07: IMPORTANT VIEWS
To be supported, the height, scale and mass of development proposals must demonstrate regard for sensitivity to relative visual prominence in the important views shown in Fig [ ] and accompanying photographs, and not significantly harm these important views. Development proposals must also be such that there is no adverse impact on the sensitive skylines identified in Fig [ ] and accompanying photos.

POLICY PD08: GREEN CORRIDORS AND BIODIVERSITY
Planning applications will be supported that protect the green corridors identified on Map….. and biodiversity within them.

POLICY PD09: TREE AND ANCIENT HEDGEROW CONSERVATION
Development proposals will not be supported where they directly or indirectly have an adverse impact on ancient species-rich hedgerows or ancient woodland (identified on Map ….and in Appendix…) or substantial/ancient/veteran trees.

POLICY PD10: BUILDING AND SITE DESIGN
New development should be designed to a high standard which responds to the distinctive character of the settlement and reflects the guidelines and principles set out within the Heritage and Character Assessment (see Appendix …).

Proposals for new development should wherever possible include appropriate landscape mitigation measures to reduce the impact of the built form and ensure that development is in keeping with the existing rural character of the village. Proposals must be submitted to replace any trees lost in development with an agreed equivalent planting scheme which makes a positive contribution to the locality (eg new hedgerows, community orchard).

POLICY PD11: CONSERVATION AREAS
A Heritage Impact Assessment will be required in all cases where proposed development in or immediately adjacent to a Conservation Area could do significant harm to the Conservation Area and its setting, or to other heritage assets, or to the historic street scene and longer distance views of the parish.

POLICY PD12: DARK SKIES POLICY
The design of lighting in all development must minimise the risk of light spillage beyond the development site boundary and incorporate appropriate dark corridors for bats and other light sensitive species.

The installation of external lighting and proposals for remote rural buildings will only be permitted where all of the following criteria are satisfied:
a) the means of lighting is appropriate, unobtrusively sited and would not result in excessive levels of light;
b) elevations of buildings, particularly roofs, are designed to limit light spill;
c) the proposal would not have a detrimental effect on the amenity of surrounding occupiers;
d) the proposal would not have a significant adverse impact on the character of a town or village and its setting or of the wider countryside;
e) the proposal will not be detrimental to an area of nature conservation interest.

POLICY PD13: DESIGNATION OF LOCAL GREEN SPACES
The Local Green Spaces listed in Appendix D are designated in accordance with the NPPF guidelines, as shown in Appendix …… Figures ………….and ………….

No development shall be permitted in the designated Local Green Spaces, except in exceptional circumstances where it might contribute to the purposes for which the land was designated.

POLICY PD14: RETENTION AND REPAIR OF TRADITIONAL STONE WALLS

Planning applications will be supported that retain existing traditional stone walls and/or repair them.

HOUSING POLICIES:

POLICY PH01: OPEN MARKET HOUSING SCHEMES
Where policies PD1-5 permit such development, any new market housing of 10 or more dwellings should favour smaller homes. The following mix of housing will be required for market housing unless evidence from an up to date housing needs assessment or evidence from local market conditions indicate otherwise: at least 25% should have 1 or 2 bedrooms, and at least 50% should have 3 bedrooms.

POLICY PHO2: HOMES FOR ENTRY TO THE MARKET
Open Market housing schemes will be supported where the inclusion of one- and two-bedroom dwellings is in accordance with policy PH01, and that at least half of these facilitate entry to the market, designed to be genuinely affordable for first-time buyers. Developers should use local knowledge to design such homes, affordable by people on regionally average salaries; supporting information of such affordability must be provided with the application.

POLICY PH03: AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Where policies PD1-5 permit such development, proposals for developments that result in a net gain of 10 or more dwellings will be expected to provide a minimum of 35% of Affordable housing on the site (meaning provision by Registered Social Landlords). These homes should be “tenure blind” (ie visually indistinguishable from other housing). In cases where the 35% calculation provides a part unit then either the number of affordable units must be rounded up to the next whole unit or a financial contribution will be sought equivalent to that part unit.

The use of Local Letting Plans will also be supported so that 100% of the Affordable homes that are provided can go to those living in the MCNP area in the first instance, and then to those with a local connection. The MCNP Forum will be involved in the drafting of these Local Letting Plans.

POLICY PH04: AFFORDABLE HOUSING ON RURAL EXCEPTION SITES
Support will be given to small-scale affordable housing schemes on Rural Exception Sites within or immediately adjacent to villages, to meet specific needs which cannot be met by other sites allocated for housing development. This type of housing is supported particularly where it will redevelop brownfield land. Rural Exception Site schemes must ensure that dwellings will continue to meet local needs in perpetuity. The use of Local Letting Plans will also be supported so that 100% of the Affordable homes that are provided can go to those living in the MCNP area in the first instance, and then to those with a local connection. The MCNP Forum will require to be involved in the drafting of these Local Letting Plans.

POLICY PH05: ADAPTABLE HOUSING
Housing development will be favoured that is designed with features that enable residents to live there throughout different phases of their lives, and be capable of internal and external adaptation to help achieve this aim. Such housing should be built amongst other homes to mitigate isolation and loneliness. Whilst we cannot insist on new houses being constructed to the Lifetime Homes Standard, we support that standard. In addition, we favour the inclusion of single-storey housing where possible, to meet the need for such accommodation in particular for older people.

POLICY PH06: PARKING AND GARAGING PROVISION
In the case of new residential development, there will be a requirement for a minimum of one parking space for dwellings with one or two bedrooms, and a minimum of two spaces for dwellings with three or more bedrooms, to be provided on the plot. In addition to this on-site provision, shared and visitor parking should be provided in a location convenient to the dwellings it serves. It is expected that this will usually be provided at a rate of at least 0.5 space per dwelling served.
Unless it is clearly impractical, garages, covered or open parking areas must be built in direct association with the houses whose inhabitants may be expected to use them. They must be spacious enough to accommodate modern cars and bicycles. Proposals for rear or separate parking courts will not be permitted, unless alternative provision is demonstrated to be impractical.

POLICY PH07: PARKING FACILITIES FOR EXISTING DWELLINGS
Insofar as planning permission is required, any proposal to alter or extend an existing dwelling that would reduce the existing level of off-street parking provision will be resisted unless it can be satisfactorily demonstrated that the amount of overall parking provision retained is satisfactory. Developments must not exacerbate existing difficulties with on-street parking in the locality.

Where policies PD1-5 permit such development, any new market housing of 10 or more dwellings should favour smaller homes. The following mix of housing will be required for market housing unless evidence from an up to date housing needs assessment or evidence from local market conditions indicate otherwise: at least 25% should have 1 or 2 bedrooms, and at least 50% should have 3 bedrooms.

TRANSPORT POLICIES:

POLICY PT01: TRAVEL PLANS
Development proposals which will give rise to an increase in traffic will be required to include detailed Travel Plans. Applicants must provide robust evidence that each and every proposal for mitigation set out in their Travel Plan is feasible and will minimize the volume of traffic arising from the development both in and beyond the Neighbourhood Plan area.

POLICY PT01 (ALTERNATIVE): TRAFFIC IMPACT
Developers of any residential development of 10 or more dwellings that is not infill, or any non-residential development, will be required to complete a Traffic Impact Assessment. Any works recommended by that assessment as necessary to avoid residual cumulative impacts that are severe will be funded by the proposed development subject to viability in accordance with paragraph 173 of the NPPF. The Traffic Impact Assessment should include the impact on pedestrians, cyclists and public transport in order to promote sustainable travel.

POLICY PT02: RURAL CHARACTER OF ROADS
Proposals involving alterations and additions to the existing highway network and associated infrastructure should have regard to the findings of the Heritage and Character Assessment (see Appendix N) and seek to limit damage to the rural character of the roads affected, preserving instead the identified characteristics of the area unless addressing acknowledged areas of highway

COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE POLICIES:

POLICY PC01: DEVELOPER CONTRIBUTIONS
Where developers are required to make contributions to secure improvements to local infrastructure (both on and off site) through a Section 106 agreement, the Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan Forum must be consulted on its priorities and detailed arrangements for delivery of these improvements. Reference shall be made to Appendix [ ] as updated from time to time.

POLICY PC02: CONNECTED DEVELOPMENT
Proposals for new housing will be required to promote and improve new or existing footpaths and cycle ways to ensure that new residents of all ages and mobility have safe access to village amenities such as the school, bus stops, shops and green spaces. Where new routes are proposed to meet this requirement, the development proposals shall contain full details of all associated materials and infrastructure.

POLICY PC03: LOCAL EMPLOYMENT
Any new business planning application within the Mid-Cherwell area must provide information on numbers and types of jobs proposed, and set out the opportunities for employment of people living within the neighbourhood area.

POLICY PC04: SCHOOLS
Decisions regarding the growth of Heyford Park Free School should be considered alongside the effect this may have on local schools.

POLICY PC05: HEALTH FACILITIES
A Health Centre at Heyford Park serving the residents of Heyford Park and those residents within the NP area most suitably served by such a new service, will be supported. The Centre should provide, as a minimum, full-time general practitioner services, nursing, paramedic, dispensing services and administrative support, with a full range of clinics appropriate to local need. The design of the proposed Centre shall be subject to specific consultation with the MCNP Forum.

POLICY PC06: NEW CEMETERY
Subject to site suitability, an application for the provision of a cemetery at or adjacent to Heyford Park will be supported.

TECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURE POLICIES:

POLICY PI01: ADEQUACY OF INFRASTRUCTURE
All applications for 10 or more dwellings shall be accompanied by evidence of responses from utility providers – water, drainage, electricity, gas – that their existing networks have adequate capacity to serve the proposed development without negative impact on existing users. In the event that providers are unable provide such confirmation, applicants must provide impact studies of the extent, cost and timescale for any required works of upgrading.

POLICY PI02: MOBILE COMMUNICATION
Any proposed improvements to mobile telephone coverage and planning applications for new or improved mobile telephone infrastructure will be supported providing that the proposals do not adversely affect the surrounding built and natural environment, including the setting of heritage assets and important views.

 

 

 

COMMUNITY ACTION PLAN

Some of the aspirations of the Neighbourhood Plan can not be enforced through planning law.
Instead, we aim to deliver them over time with our Community Action Plan, which will be the responsibility
of the parish councils and the Neighbourhood Plan Forum. We are still preparing the Action Plan, but it will include:

• Campaigning to stop unwanted development of greenfield sites

• Actively encouraging developers to build to the Lifetime Homes Standard

• Persuading Cherwell District Council to adopt a housing allocations policy
that gives priority to families of those already living in the village where
homes become available

• Establishing a Community Land Trust to develop our own affordable
housing schemes on rural exception sites. Approaching local landowners
with a view to identifying and purchasing such sites

• Negotiating with local businesses that make extensive use of heavy goods
vehicles to try to reduce flows on certain roads

• Developing an acceptable mitigation plan with Oxfordshire County
Council that will deal with the worst of our highways and traffic problems

• Prioritising the provision of secondary school places at Heyford Park Free
School for those within the Plan area

• Being proactive in procuring a health centre at Heyford Park through
ongoing consultation with the Health Authority and developers

• Requiring utilities providers (water, drainage, electricity, mobile phones,
etc) to improve their services to our community.