Apart from the small section between the M40 and A361, no land East of M40 is currently earmarked for any kind of development in the currently adopted Local Plan. In fact, suggestions to include Huscote Farm were specifically rejected by the Planning Inspectorate at examination stage due to the detrimental impact this would have on the landscape of this area
Despite the Local Plan Review 2040 not yet completed, and publication of new sites being considered not expected until mid December, developers have aggressively pushed ahead and in May they submitted an outline planning application for Huscote Farm, proposing the area be industrialised and around 10 large warehouses built across the historical farmland
The application was met with a deluge of objections and concerns raised by the public, authorities and NGO’s. Concerns have been expressed about a range of negative impacts this proposal would have on the local infrastructure, traffic, countryside, heritage and biodiversity as well as the fact that the proposal doesn’t even meet Cherwell District Council Local Policies or National Planning Policies.
Supplementary Information has been submitted this week by the developer, who attempts to suggest that plans to industrialise this farmland off J11 will not negatively impact traffic, wildlife or the landscape – you can read their reports yourself and on Cherwell District Council’s planning portal
The comment due date has since closed, however due to the new information provided by the developer, Cherwell District Council have re-consulted on the application, giving until 1st December for new comments to be made. People are urged to review the information and contact Cherwell District Council with any comments that they have on the application, this can be done on their online portal, or in writing to Bodicote House, quoting the planning application number – 22/01488/OUT
People of Banbury, and bordering Northamptonshire villages were for many years, of the opinion that M40 would be the edge of the urban sprawl of Banbury. There is still a lot of confusion amongst the public that the nearby Frontier Park, two warehouses off A361 were allowed and there are suggestions that there were mistakes in the planning process, that must not be replicated
There is a further application for a hotel complex next to J11 of M40, completing the area of B15. The application and consultation responses can be accessed on the planning portal
On 21st September 2022, the consultation response to 21/02467/F from Oxfordshire County Council Planning Archaeologist, refers to this area being one of considerable archaeological interest and the consultation response goes on to explain, when considering application 19/00128/HYBRID (the two warehouses already built) that the advice given by OCC Archaeology was not followed because “the applicant did not wish to undertake the require archaeological mitigation and felt that the (trenched) evaluation was sufficient on its own to have fully mitigated the site. As such Cherwell chose not to require the applicant to undertake the work in line with the NPPF.” The consultation response explains how “the actual evaluation report itself highlights that many of the features identified could not even be initially assessed due to the ingress of ground water”
This response would suggest that the two warehouses at Frontier Park have been built on land known to be of considerable archaeological interest and that this may have been done without any proper evaluation to ensure that the significance of any heritage assets to be lost is understood. This is in contract of the requirements of both Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan as well as National Planning Policies. Given these short comings, it is imperative that these short comings are not able to set precedent for surrounding areas, rather that these mistakes and lack of thorough evaluation are not repeated.