Official: Parish Council Breached Planning Conditions

Adderbury Parish Council has officially breached at least two of the planning conditions set by Cherwell District Council on the Milton Road development in West Adderbury.

A letter dated 19 June 2020 from Sean Tilbury, Development Monitoring Officer at Cherwell District Council (CDC) confirms that CDC have been investigating allegations that contractors operating on behalf of Adderbury Parish Council have been breaching planning conditions associated with the development. 

On the day the contractors arrived at the Milton Road field, Adderbury Parish Councillor Ann Lyons was met at the gate by a West Adderbury resident who showed her a copy of the official planning conditions.  However, the contractors went on to carry out work that appeared to breach these conditions.  Residents then contacted CDC with their concerns about the stripping of vegetation from the site during the bird nesting season, the altering of site levels and the drainage scheme being implemented.

Removal of Vegetation and Harm to Wildlife

CDC have now confirmed that the vegetation clearance undertaken on the Milton Road field was in breach of Condition 18 of 18/00220/F.  In consultation with the Council’s Ecology Officer, CDC’s Planning Enforcement Team has concluded that the potential harm does not warrant formal enforcement action, however the owners (Adderbury Parish Council) have been warned against breaching this condition again and to seek the Council’s advice before further vegetation removal.

Alteration of Site Levels

Condition 8 of 18/00220/F requires site levels to be approved prior to any works to change the site levels. An Officer from CDC has visited the site and concluded some site levelling has already occurred.  Detailed plans have been provided at the Council’s request which show the exact extent of this redistribution. The redistribution amounts to a technical breach of Condition 8. Given the limited extent of the changes CDC does not consider it expedient to take enforcement action. However, Officers will continue to monitor the groundworks being undertaken.

Drainage Scheme and Flood Risk

The surface water drainage scheme for the sports pitches stipulates that the pitches must drain towards a grassed infiltration basin located in the north east of the site. As of the time of the site visit by CDC no drainage work had commenced, only preparatory clearance work. A Drainage Engineer visited the site on 11 June and confirmed that there was no greater risk of flooding beyond the former state of the land.

Condition 3 of the planning permission requires the approved drainage scheme to be implemented prior to the completion of the development. Until the development reaches substantial completion without the approved drainage system being in place, or until an unauthorised drainage system is installed, then there is no breach of this planning condition. CDC intends to work with Adderbury Parish Council to ensure that the approved drainage scheme is understood and is constructed as approved.

CDC also states in its letter that

“The landowner has responsibilities outside of the planning process to ensure that their land does not drain in an uncontrolled manner onto neighbouring land. The Council has recommended that the infiltration basin is established prior to the pitch drainage system to ensure that run-off is managed and not concentrated towards a single location, however this recommendation is made outside of the planning enforcement process”.

Milton Road Field Before
Milton Road Field After Stripping

In conclusion, CDC states that it has assessed all allegations to date and has found breaches of:

  • Condition 8 for altering site levels, and
  • Condition 18 for vegetation removal during bird nesting season

CDC has decided that it would not be proportionate to take further action. The enforcement case against Adderbury Parish Council ref. 20/00169/ENF has been closed, but CDC will continue to monitor the development and will make clear its expectations for the remaining conditions to be discharged prior to their respective timescales.

CDC also says that should any new breaches of planning controls become evident they can be reported in the usual manner on the Council’s website for investigation.

CDC’s letter can be read in full by clicking here.

West Adderbury is a relatively small community that is essentially rural in nature, and its peaceful and special character is highly valued by those who live here.

It is therefore extremely disappointing to discover that the Parish Council responsible for protecting our community has in fact ignored official planning conditions, set by the local planning authority to protect the site and its environment, in its haste to start work on its Milton Road project.  If a developer was found to be in such flagrant breach of conditions designed we believe that CDC would be taking action to punish the breach and ensure that no further breaches took place.  When it is the local parish council that is the offender, it is difficult to see how CDC can carry out enforcement without harming parishioners in the process.  Perhaps Adderbury Parish Council realise this, and that is why they have paid so little attention to the planning conditions in this case.

If Adderbury parish councillors take a moment to reflect on this situation, they will perhaps begin to understand the anger and frustration of the West Adderbury community.  We did not want this development imposed upon us, and many of us say we will not use it.  Our community will be irreparably damaged by the noise and light pollution and the increase in traffic through the village.  But the Milton Road development is just one small example of the way in which the present Parish Council is failing West Adderbury.  We have many, many other concerns which are either dismissed as the opinions of a small minority, or are ignored entirely.

Adderbury Parish Council has instructed its contractors to carry out work in West Adderbury in the full knowledge that this work is in breach of official planning conditions. Despite numerous complaints raised by local residents as far back as the start of May, this work has continued with no thought or concern for our community.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that the people of West Adderbury have lost faith in the Parish Council.  It is no longer capable of representing us or carrying out our needs and wishes.

Time for a change.  Time for a parish council for West Adderbury.

If you are concerned about protecting West Adderbury, then why not join West Adderbury Residents’ Association (WARA).

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