Resubmission of Plans for 159 dwellings in a field South of Abingdon

field South of Abingdon
Plans for 159 dwellings in a field off the Drayton Road have been resubmitted by the new owners Taylor Wimpey. The target decision date put by the district council is 30th November 2014. Plans available here.
housing on the Drayton Road
The new developers have introduced a modified style of housing, and drainage, but draw on the same transport study done on 6th September 2012 by their predecessor.

A planning inspector, on appeal, allowed the original plans so long as a number of conditions were fulfilled. The most significant of these were traffic mitigation measures. The original developers traffic study saw queues of 70+ during the morning rush hour on Drayton Road at the double roundabout. Their solution was to remove one pedestrian crossing and add two pedestrian crossings at new locations.

That measure was then rejected by Oxfordshire County Council – the authority required to approve any highway changes.

The new planning application says “Taylor Wimpey in accordance with the appeal decision will provide the two pedestrian crossings and necessary highways alterations as specified in the appeal decision.

38 thoughts on “Resubmission of Plans for 159 dwellings in a field South of Abingdon

  1. newcomer

    If anyone thinks two pedestrian crossings would solve the traffic problem they’d make a thick plank look intelligent.

  2. Spike S

    I tend to accept the general Political Status Quo because the alternatives are Feudal. However, beyond pushing Monopoly money around, how much power do local Planners/Politicians really have ?

    Rather than accept more promises that will later be ignored, the best pre-condition to lay on any developer from now on might be to implement and prove the required traffic measures/local facilties before any bricklaying is allowed to start. See how many stay in the field then.

    Some robust penalty clause should also be imposed if the measures prove to be only partly effective.

  3. Boris Oris

    I agree. Traffic mitigation MUST be enforced and proved to work COMPLETELY, before any work and profit taking can begin. Surely local residents must have some human rights too?

  4. Guido

    According to their plans and ‘traffic plan’ they are going to rely on people walking, cycling and using public transport. Their survey is based on how people travelled according to the 2001 census! Slightly outdated I think? And how will they insist on people NOT using their own cars?! Why don’t this council do the same as Oxford City Council has, and say ‘we haven’t got space or infrastructure for all these extra homes, we ARE NOT having them!’

  5. James

    Re the traffic assumptions. You can see how biased they are. They assume some 10% of journeys by foot – and yet this site is a significant distance outside of the town. They have based the data on a survey from much closer to the town centre. Moreover the main Drayton road is hardly pedestrian friendly and there is no footpath from the estate cutting into Virginia way to shorten the distance that i can see.

    5% public transport also seems rather optimistic given the estate is not on a bus root. 80% car would be more likely. This would push up the morning peak car journeys from 113 to 150+

  6. Carl & Kate Fritz

    Seems to us that “Guido” has posed the most pertinent point when he asked:

    “…Why don’t this council do the same as Oxford City Council has, and say ‘we haven’t got space or infrastructure for all these extra homes, we ARE NOT having them!’”

    Is there really NO way for AoT kill this foolishness???

  7. Trevor

    Abingdon first see link
    Has agreed to having a Drayton Rd development page for interested parties. If there’s going to be a campaign to stop this development then the traffic situation is our only hope . Not forgetting that the 5 year plan is much further down the road now than when the first plans were submitted. Or does that not matter as Taylor Wimpey already have full planning permission ?

  8. Hester

    Trevor – Taylor Wimpey don’t have full planning permission: the planning appeal inspector only gave permission subject to the introduction of the supposed traffic control measures – those were turned down by the County Council, so Taylor Wimpey have to re-apply, with a slightly modified proposal, which is what they are now doing.

    Re other comments – there is a big difference between opposing a particular development on grounds of its location, lack of infrastructure etc and a blanket opposition to any development. Many of us happily now live in developments which may well have been bitterly opposed when they were first planned: how can we justify denying future generations the same opportunities for reasonably priced housing that we enjoyed?

  9. Trevor

    Thanks for the comments Hester, the facts are the Town, Vale & County councils appose this development along with 90 percent of anyone who has to endure the traffic in south Abingdon, what happened To local democracy?
    The traffic issue in south Abingdon can only be resolved by a second Thames crossing south of Abingdon. The full diamond interchange at lodge hill would also help perhaps Taylor Wimpey could contribute to both. As for reasonably affordable housing that’s an interesting one. Estimated price of a new 3 bed detached in 18 months on this site £300,000 ish.

  10. Hester

    Don’t get me wrong Trevor – I am as against this specific development as every one else – it was the more general comments I was concerned about.

  11. James

    I would agree Hester, it is to me about traffic and the daft ‘solutions’ which will clearly not work properly, not about building housing.

    The developers pay a third party for a “traffic survey” and as we all know, they will reach the conclusion the developer has paid for them to reach and try and paint the locals who actually drive around the town on a daily basis as either ignorant or NIMBY’s, despite in the main being the real experts in the situation being an active part of the “traffic brain” that actually creates the traffic flows we see. No-one sits in traffic if they think there is a better route! Every driver makes a choice, and its those choices that ultimately decide what traffic goes where and at what time. So by definition the locals are very much the experts and should actually be listened to on traffic. It was great to have the local council do just that last time around, and hopefully they will have the guts to pull apart the nonsense this time around and not just accept the third party report as correct.

    The town centre developments close to Waitrose seemed to be a sensible use of the land and location for which quite genuinely you can do without a car for a lot of journeys and encourages use of local services. This is in sharp contrast to development on the fringes of the town from which the only practical solution to doing more or less anything is “get in car”. I have lived in both types of locations.

  12. Janet

    Common sense would be apparent if a crossing was built on the other side of the roundabout it would hold up traffic turning right to go into town so it would not ease the traffic at all. The traffic was right back to Steventon the other day. We have had two traffic deaths recently in South Abingdon. Drivers race down Preston Road as a rat run to avoid the queue along the Drayton Road. Could I sue the developers if I have an accident caused by all the extra traffic? Got lost Taylor Wimpey. We have to live with the effects of all the extra traffic.

  13. daniel

    …there’s no rat run via Preston Road…

    You’ll either weave round teh back to pop out of Caldecott Rd – I say ‘pop’ – I mean queue on Caldecott Rd to turn right on to Drayton Rd…

    Or…You’ll be queuing to get out of Wilsham Rd to queue to get over the iron bridge…and queue all down West St Helens…

    Of course…we all know this…

    Personally, I am all for the Developer paying for their ‘Traffic Calming’…and if it works, and the roads are clear enough to THEN to be able to then take EVEN MORE from a new development…fair enough.

    If the traffic calming doesn’t work – they can either pay for it to be removed, or leave it. i care not.

    Of course, there’s still the issue of over subscribed schools in South Abingdon, no facilities, no infrastructure – doctors, shops, busses etc…

    Thankfully our Vale Councillors are no doubt on the case as we speak… Who are they again?

    Apologise…I know that we should only be talking about “sweetness and light” when it comes to Abingdon as anything else upsets people…The flower beds look lovely at the moment.

  14. Neil Fawcett

    Hi all,

    I’m sorry to see that this has come up again, although we thought either that or a legal challenge to the County’s decision on the crossing was likely.

    The way the planning process works is that this will be treated as a completely fresh application and we all need to do what we can to make the case against it again.

    If we persuade the Vale Planning Committee to turn it down the developer is again allowed to appeal and we may end up with another Planning Inquiry where we will once again have to make our case to an Inspector.

  15. daniel

    Neil…if it is ‘a completely fresh application’ does this area now fit within the Vales Development Plan – or not…and so for the very reason we were up in arms that it got through before – that no Development plan was in place…is the very reason it WON’t now ie, we should now have a plan in place….and this field is NOT within the plan for development?

    What IS going on?

    And, regardless of the ins and outs and he said she saids regarding the whys and wherefores of whether or not this plot is, should, could, will, get developed on….when they DO get their permission – for they surely will (far be it for the residents of Abingdon to get what they need, let alone what they want when there’s a tidy profit to be made), when it does get the go ahead; how do we get the marvellous suggestion made earlier enacted – traffic calming measures implemented and demonstrated to work (by well publicised measurable parameters) implemented FIRST, before a brick is laid?

  16. steve King

    The obvious question to ask is that during the time the first application was refused, and then went to appeal, and was subsequently declined, the Vale created their new draft plan for the Vale, given that in that time planning approval had not been given then why wasn’t this parcel included in the new draft plan?
    As for stopping it, try this?, you don’t have to own a piece of land to apply for planning on it, So residents of South Abingdon find a generous architect to draw up a rough plan for a new relief road through this piece of land which would include a river crossing to the Culham rd, it will cost you £350 to lodge the plan with the vale and should create a good ground for refusal of the housing on the grounds of a much needed second river crossing and relief road is more vital to Abingdon !

  17. daniel

    Sounds like we need to start fund raising then Steve. Are there any friendly architects reading this?

    Of course…the Vale will already have thought of this though…won’t they? I like to console myself that some of the best town planning minds that the Vale/CC has to offer are constantly working on ways to help Abingdon, to sort its traffic woes etc…I’m sure they would have a plan for relief roads and second river crossings drawn up already!

    *Bear in mind that the monumentally miss-implemented AbITs scheme has been such a failure because the second river crossing that was supposed to happen as part of it – the part to help make it work and therefore make the millions of pounds spent on the scheme worthwhile (rather than futile), was to have a second crossing…so, one would think, in a dusty cupboard, the plans for a second bridge already exist!

  18. Kelly Simpson

    Agree re Abits. At 4pm today it took me 25 minutes to get from South Abingdon to town centre, and then 40 minutes back at around 4.45pm. And yes, I did need to go by car.

  19. daniel

    You know Kelly…there was even an opportunity, in the early days…to reverse it…but no one followed that option up. Shame on them…look what they left us with. Shame on them all.

  20. Guido

    Why couldn’t it be rescinded now? Surely enough time has elapsed and it has been proven time and again (On an almost daily basis!) that this “system” does not work! Why doesn’t someone have the guts to stand up and say “fair enough, we got it wrong”!
    Would a petition do any good? (Probably not), but there must be something that could be done?

  21. steve King

    Guido, we/I tried all of this, the bottom line was it was the then Majority Lib/Dem Vale council along with the then unanimously run Lib/Dem town council who asked/told the then Tory run OCC (keeper of our roads) to come up with a traffic scheme to reduce town centre traffic, there was plenty of consultation etc at which everyone, including OCC said the scheme would not work, but the Lib/Dems insisted on it. It was introduced and everyone including OCC said, we told you so, At one point I actually got Ian Hudspeth, the then portfolio holder for traffic at OCC (now leader) to agree to reverse the thing, but it was providing the two councils actually asked for it to be done, they wouldn’t, so the rest is history !

  22. Janet

    I am up for making the case against the scheme to the inspector. two traffic deaths in South Abingdon is two too many.

  23. Neil Fawcett

    Daniel – the fact that this site is not included in the proposals that have been put forward by the Vale is one argument in favour of refusing the planning permission. The fact that the new plan has not yet been adopted is a weakness.

    As to when it will actually happen, that is almost impossible to tell at this stage. It will firstly depend on how long the planning process takes, and then, even if it does get permission, the developers could start immediately or could wait years.

  24. Neil Fawcett

    Steve – do you really still believe that the Tories running the County Council really implemented a scheme they believed wouldn’t work because the Lib Dem district and town councillors told them to? I’m not aware of many issues on which the feeble Conservative County Council gave in to the overwhelming weight of the local Lib Dem councillors!

    The serious point about ABITS was that it included short term measures (the town centre) AND long term measures which included Lodge Hill and a second river crossing. That’s why most people supported it at the time. The County implemented the short term measures, badly, and then promptly dropped the long term ones, as I regularly remind them at County Council meetings.

  25. steve King

    And what you have just said dear Neil is exactly why Abits and all the other cross party “stuff” that effects this town so much, is so diabolical ! While all you petty politicians are arguing the toss and trying to trip one another up, out town, the one you’re all supposed to be acting in the best interests of, suffers ! Here’s a classic for you to answer, why did you and all the other out going Lib/Dems keep quiet/shtum about the fact the draft plan you had in place was about to expire?
    You could have easily brought this into the public domain and in doing so have prevented the 159 houses from being built along the Drayton Rd, but no, in true opposition form you hung the people of Abingdon out to dry while you stood back and thought you were claiming some brownie points !

  26. Kelly Simpson

    No Neil, it was exactly as Steve has said re Abits. I remember standing on the market place at an exhibition of the plans and saying it would never work anyway, and definitely without the long term measures. I was assured, quite arrogantly (by Lib Dems), that it would work without those measures. It gave me no pleasure to be proved right! And OCC always said they were acting on the research and advice of the town and Vale Councils. It’s still not too late to reverse it, but no-one will ever admit they were wrong.

  27. Neil Fawcett

    Steve – I was responding to your points. The idea that the Conservative County Councillors would do something because District and Town councillors told them too is ludicrous, actually regardless of which party those district and town councillors belong to.

    The decision to go ahead with ABITS was made by the County Council, on the basis of a report produced by County Council officers (the Vale and Town councils don’t employ transport officers).

    The work on the scheme had been done by Halcrow Fox who had been commissioned by the three councils working together, primarily funded by the County Council. I’ve still got a copy of the report which includes the longer term measures. It was quite clear at the time that although the majority of people supported the plans it was firmly on the basis that the longer term measures were included.

    Kelly – I obviously don’t know who said what to you on the Market Place fourteen years ago, but my position at the time, and stated publicly, was that ABITS would only work if the long term measures were implemented.

    You are quite right that various Conservative County Councillors have said since that they acted on the advice of the town and district councils. I’m not disputing that that is what they have said. I’m disputing whether it is true!

    The ABITS scheme was led by the County Council working in conjunction with the Vale and Town Councils. It was similar to similar schemes in other towns in the County such as Wantage, Banbury and Bicester. The research the scheme was based on was commissioned jointly by the three councils, the recommendations that the decision was based on were written by County Council Officers, the various meetings were organised by the County Council and the decisions were ultimately the responsibility of the County Council as the transport authority.

    (I’ve still got all the paperwork that came to me as one of the town’s County Councillors at the time, although I was not a member of the Steering Group myself.)

    In answer to Steve’s question about the new Local Plan – the answer is that nothing was hidden, the process was very public.

    The previous Vale Local Plan ran until 2011 and the vale started consulting on a new one in early 2009 including a consultation event at the Guildhall.

    This had included a leaflet to every household and a round of public meetings including one at the Guildhall in Abingdon.

    I remember helping to organise an extra public meeting at the Preston Road CC in late February so that concerns about the possibility of housing south of Abingdon could be addressed. Following the consultation any development south of Abingdon was ruled out.

    By May 2011 the final draft was in place and was ready to go into the final stages of being implemented.

    One of the policies the Conservatives ran on during the 2011 elections was that they would reject the plans and re-consult because they were unhappy at the number of houses planned for the Wantage & Grove area.

    Once they were elected they did this (which is fair enough) but that did lead to the new Plan being delayed. It has subsequently been hit by further delays.

  28. Kelly Simpson

    Selective memory I think.
    Nevertheless, regardless of whose fault it was, why cannot Abits be reversed? It clearly hasn’t worked. Yesterday at around 3.1 I had to travel from north to south Abingdon – took 35 minutes. Should have gone around the peripheral road. Ock Street was backed up right back into Marcham Road and people were turning around in the road. The whole centre was gridlocked. Before, it may have been a bit slow at times but it worked like a giant roundabout.
    Don’t even get m started on the Drayton Road traffic.

  29. Neil Fawcett

    Kelly – I’m not relying on my memory, selective or otherwise, as I said I’ve still got the paperwork from the time.

    The key problem with ABITS, as I see it, is that it wasn’t implemented. The County Council did the first phase, but implemented it badly, but then dropped the second phase.

  30. Steven Green

    ABITS has helped pedestrians on the High Street… Beforehand, when all through traffic was forced down High Street, there was a constant stream of moving traffic making it difficult or impossible to cross the road from Market Place… There were several serious accidents and at least one dead pedestrian each year.

    That was also the main reason that several shops on the other side of the road (where throwing buns, Simons news, are now) because nobody could cross the road to get to them.

    Now apart from rush hour where there is constant stream of cars coming from Bridge Street, you can generally easily cross the road.

  31. Iain

    Kelly – my understanding is that much of the abits scheme is not permitted to be reversed (specifically stert st and part of high st i think). The lanes previously did not meet the minimum width requirements and although the law allows streets predating the rule to continue, the law doesnt permit new schemes to have those widths. I also think there’s some issues around vehicle emissions which are now lower in the town centre as there is less standing traffic.

  32. Guido

    Iain, it wouldn’t be a “NEW” plan…it should just be reverted back to the original scheme, seeing as how from the very instigation this has been an unmitigated disaster!As for the emissions, i seem to recall reading a while ago that because of traffic congestion now, that the emissions were more harmful now and way above the permitted levels in Stert St?

  33. Neil Fawcett

    I agree with Steven and I think Iain’s comments are correct.

    The other big factor is that traffic levels generally have increased substantially since phase 1 of ABITS was implemented as development has taken place in and near Abingdon. So the traffic situation has got steadily worse, but it would have done whatever the traffic arrangements in the town centre.

    The steadily growing queues on Drayton Road demonstrate that – it is difficult to see how they could be caused by the changes to the town centre, but they’ve been getting steadily worse too.

  34. daniel

    Having not let ‘anything go’ since about 1997, I am as happy as the next person to keep banging on about the massive failure of AbITs, what it has done to our town, the “he said, she saids” and the “yellow team didn’t do what the blue team told them not to say what they did they done”… but…trying to look forwards…and if anyone were interested….it may just win some votes (as power for powers sake seems to be what is most important) if someone had any foresight and delivered some hope…but why is there seemingly STILL no plan!?

    It is a given that there are traffic issues that affect the town – from the north and Lodge Hill, to the South and Drayton Rd. Why though are we, as residents, still sitting in this traffic…and when we look to our elected ‘leaders’….we don’t seem to have from them ANY coherent idea of what is being done about it!

    I would (naïvely) think that this is all being worked on by the unelected Council Officers who actually make the decisions about our town…but I genuinely feel that, actually, no one is looking into it at all.

    Is anyone able to confirm, or clarify: Exactly WHO is looking at the traffic issues that affect Abingdon. What ideas have they had. What ideas are they mulling over. When are they going to engage the public over what they think, or might want?


    Is nothing, at all, being done or considered, by anyone, anywhere?

    It feels to me, that there is a huge amount of apathy and lack of urgency on this (by those elected) which seems at odds to the massive urgency that the residents of this town consider the issues to be.

    The sentiment of, “well….the houses on Drayton road may get built…but they may not…it’s a long process”….or…”well…we can’t really undo AbiTS …” I’m afraid doesn’t really wash. Surely the situation demands that the “bus shelter repainting project” needs to be placed on hold. The “Blue Sky Thinking working group” needs to be temporarily disbanded and the “flower bed design and procurement party” needs to redirect their efforts – and all hands to the pumps to stop profiteering developers…and also grasp the real issues that WE want wrestled with as residents.

    We’re going to get bombarded soon on all sorts of recyclable documentation from all the political parties; telling us about how bad the traffic is, or the shops being empty… What is going to have changed from the last time they sent us that same documentation and flyers? Do I really want Nicola Blackwood telling me that she has ‘been lobbying to get Lodge Hill open’. And do I really want Layla Moran telling me that if she gets in…she’ll lobby to get Lodge Hill Open…? Holly Shmollie – I’m bored already!

    “Success comes in cans”

    So tell us:

    What is being done, RIGHT NOW to get Lodge Hill open.
    What is being done RIGHT NOW to get the Drayton Rd slip open
    What is being done RIGHT NOW to get the consultants to pay back millions of pounds wasted on ABITS
    What is being done RIGHT NOW to stop Taylor Wimpy building on Drayton Rd
    What is being done RIGHT NOW to alleviate the South Abingdon traffic
    What is being done RIGHT NOW to get the ring road completed
    What is being done RIGHT NOW to get a second bridge
    What is being done RIGHT NOW to get English Heritage to pay for the County Hall refurb – that they were obliged to do, rather than US
    What is being done RIGHT now to get Scottish Widows (or whoever) to take responsibility for the dire state of the precinct
    And when is someone going to engage the RESIDENTS in any of these aspirations?

    And, most importantly, tell us how all of these issues have moved FORWARDS in the last 18 months…not the state of play years ago…

    Could you imagine…..just imagine…what might be achieved if the people in a position “to deliver” found out what the people actually wanted delivered…and then worked towards delivering it – and then we could see, and measure, how well they are doing – and judge them on their successes – rather than on their failures?

    Just a thought…on a quiet and rather boring Friday at work…

  35. Boris Oris

    Well said. We need an approach very much in the spirit of kennedys “we choose to go to the moon” speech. Google and re watch for inspiration.

    Daniel , I hope your Friday has improved!

  36. Chris L

    Well said. Your right about all you say. But your missing one important point. Politicians say one thing when looking for office, then do exactly what they want After they get elected.

    Then they don’t want to talk to the people who elected them, till the next time around. Selective hearing is a requirement for the job.

  37. Spike S

    I know what French citizens would do when faced with that situation ! As good supporters of the European dream (???), perhaps Abingdonians should follow suit.

    On a commercially busy day, the only alternative route across town would be exercised; North Abingdon residents would all drive (slowly) to South Abingdon from Lodge Hill via Hinksey Hill interchange to Steventon and then to Tescos. Those from South Abingdon would travel to Lodge Hill via Steventon interchage and Oxford. The resulting gridlock of the A34 would stretch from beyond Oxford to Newbury and make someone notice there is a problem to be solved. Key local politicians (if anyone will stand up to take responsibilityfor the current mess) should be strapped to the leading tractors.

    Rant over (for now)


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