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19/00617/F - Part 2-storey, part 1-storey Special Education Needs (SEN) school with new access from Bloxham Grove Road, associated outdoor play areas, multi-use games area, staff parking, pupil drop-off and landscaping.

Posted 2 weeks ago (02/07) by Theresa Goss

Updated 1st July based on revised application

 

Bloxham Parish Council OBJECTS to the above application.

 

The primary reason for the objection is that the location selected on Bloxham Grove Road is completely unsuitable.

 

This position is not based on whether or not such a School is needed, or even whether or not it should be located elsewhere in Bloxham, where there would seem to be more suitable locations.  The proposed location would be a disaster for the village and its users. Detailed objections are listed below.

  • The proposal is not plan led and as such is contrary to the NPPF (2019)
    • Para 94 states that schools promoters, delivery partners and statutory bodies must identify and resolve key planning issues before applications are considered
    • Para 102 states that transport issues should be considered at the earliest stages of plan-making to ensure potential impacts can be addressed and opportunities to promote walking, cycling and public transport use are identified and pursued
    • The current proposal brings up serious issues around traffic and parking volumes to and from Bloxham Grove Road and the A361, while at the same time compromising a popular cycling and walking route
  • The proposal contravenes CDC Local Plan Part 1:
    • The proposal is to build the new school in open countryside which is contrary to B.144, and ESD 13.
    • The proposal is not plan led, having no mention in the relevant section Policy BSC 7 for meeting education needs
    • The proposal contravenes TR7 of Local Plan 1997 retained Policy because it will bring large numbers of cars onto what is clearly an unsuitable minor road often used for walking and cycling
    • The proposal is not plan led; there was no mention of this either in the making of the CDC Local Plan part 1 or the Bloxham Neighbourhood Development Plan (BNDP)
  • The proposal specifically contravenes the BNDP:
    • BL2 – The proposal is outside the built limit for the village
    • BL 5 – The proposal will reduce the existing parking on Bloxham Grove Road used in particular for the Warriner School
    • BL 9 (c) – The proposal will increase the traffic and air pollution on a junction already at capacity
    • BL 11 – The proposal does not contribute to the rural character of the village, it will be built on green open space, building over a ridge and furrow field leading to the loss of a non-designated historic asset
    • BL 12 – The proposal will result in the loss of open space and agricultural land
    • BL 14 – The proposal will severely affect the local road network and as such will materially harm the living conditions of Bloxham residents
  • The proposal does not cover the issue of Air Quality at all. In Cherwell DC’s Air Quality report (2017), p 16 states that Bloxham is treated as an area of concern
  • Traffic and parking around the junction of Bloxham Grove Road and A361 is already an issue for residents and parents/carers of children attending the Warriner School.

 

The proposal removes existing parking spaces while adding insufficient parking spaces to cover new staff needs.

 

The increased demands of the proposal are likely to result in increased frustration and probability of accidents, illegal and inconsiderate parking and a greatly increased likelihood of incidents of public disorder, such as road rage.  As such it would impact the safety and well-being of all users of the village.

 

There is also anecdotal evidence that residents who live near to the Warriner School have cars parked in their streets on a daily basis and are on occasions unable to access their own driveway.  This is due to the current insufficient parking arrangements which will only be exasperated with more vehicle movements and requirements for parking spaces.

 

  • In addition, this proposal appears:

 

  1. to have been approved by Oxfordshire County Council Councillors, without any consultation with Bloxham Parish Council; and
  2. considered favourably by Cherwell District Planning Officers despite it not forming part of the Cherwell District Council Local Part 1 adopted in July 2015, following a Hearing held in December 2014.

 

During that hearing, Oxfordshire County Council Education Officers put forward recommendations for additional school places, this was not amongst those.  Also, during the consultation period for Bloxham Neighbourhood Development Plan “made” in December 2016, following pre-consultation periods during which Oxfordshire County Council made several representatives, but did not put forward this proposal.

 

If the Planning Committee is minded to approve the application, the Parish Council would expect the necessary funds to be allocated, via a Section 106 agreement, to enable highway works to be completed on both the A361 and Bloxham Grove Road and at the junction where these two roads meet. 

 

In addition to the above, there should also be highways funds available that are not restrictive which enables them to be spent in other areas of the village, where there are unforeseen traffic impacts on the village and these need to be addressed at a later date.

 

ADDENDUM following the alteration to include right-turn-only lanes on the A361 for turning into Bloxham Park Road and Ells Lane.

 

  • The addition of the right-turn-only lanes does not address the major part of the traffic issues and does nothing to alleviate the parking issues.
  • The right-turn-only lane will make the junction more dangerous for cars turning right out of Bloxham Grove Road and Ells Lane because the right-turn-only line can conceal traffic that is going straight across the junction on the A361
  • This issue of concealing the through traffic is worse for pedestrians such as kids whose parents have parked in Ells Lane

 

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