Historic Cotswold Village

Sustainable Stonesfield

'An incongruous and unnatural urbanisation of the Stonesfield countryside'

Sustainable Stonesfield has received the Landscape Assessment for the Pye Homes Phase 2 site, from its consultants WHLandscapes. Below is a summary of what they say. The full report can be accessed via this link Landscape Assessment or found under Reference documents.

We have submitted a copy of the full report to West Oxfordshire District Council, alongside the many comments and objections that they have received. In due course these will be considered by the Planning Committee but we understand that a date for this application to be heard has not yet been set.

SUMMARY of Landscape Assessment September 2017

WHLandscapes say that:

The development proposals submitted represent an incongruous and unnatural urbanisation of the countryside to the south of Stonesfield within the rural setting of the village.  The development creates further intrusion into the open countryside and does not reflect the development form of the village.

The proposals rely on on a significant landscape buffer to make them acceptable, which in itself will be out of keeping and is likely to have a detrimental effect on the adjacent Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The Landscape Assessment submitted by the developer (as part of their planning application) has underestimated the visual effect of the development proposals, particularly as seen by users of the Oxfordshire Way/Wychwood Way.

The proposals do not comply with national or local guidance and policy and will detrimentally impact the character and appearance of the Cotswolds AONB.

Incredibly WHLandscapes have found that, West Oxfordshire District Council said in its own 2016 Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment, that the site, is not suitable for housing because ‘The site is in an exposed location and development would form a harmful intrusion into the open countryside. It lies within the limestone wolds of the Lower Evenlode Valley where landscapes are very visually exposed and particularly sensitive to development… (it) is prominent on the approach to the village along Woodstock Road and generally quite conspicuous. The southern half of the site falls within the Scheduled Ancient Monument… associated with the Roman Villa…there is potential for archaeological remains within the Nature Improvement Area. Part of the site is also within the Biodiversity Action Plan Habitat area… and it is within the AONB.’ (see SHELAA 2016 Ref 362)

Unsurprisingly WHLandscapes conclude that the proposals are unacceptable and the application should be refused.