The Parish Council recently submitted a new planning application (21/00104/F) for a revised layout to the Milton Road Community Facilities.
The revised layout includes a “significantly smaller” building, reduced parking spaces and a new location for the access road into the field (see below).
This application is due to be considered for approval on 13 April 2021.
However, it seems from recent comments at Parish Council meetings that the Parish Council does not intend to wait for the new application to be approved (or not) in April.
At the Parish Council meeting on 12 January 2021, approval was given for the payment from Section 106 funds for the Highways entrance work to the County Council to Tony Hopper for tree removal.
WARA has also been advised by Parish Clerk Theresa Goss that work on the Milton Road field is due to start “in the near future”. Similar comments were made at the Environment Committee Meeting on 26 January 2021.
The reason behind this rush to get the entrance to the community facilities built appears to be to save money.
“OCC Highways have included the new access from Milton Rd as part of the traffic calming project at a much reduced cost. This will require the removal of trees and hedging. The costs for this work will be discussed later in the meeting during the confidential section.”
“There is considerable financial benefit of OCC doing the access as estimates from the QS report were at least double this amount. Also this will facilitate a Section 278 agreement with OCC on the entrance…If the entrance is not progressed at this stage it will be considerably more expensive.”
We are all for saving money on this already hugely expensive project, but there are a number of problems here.
While the original layout and entrance was approved back in June 2020, consultation on the new layout and revised position of the entrance to the field has not taken place. West Adderbury residents have not yet had an opportunity to comment on whether the new position is appropriate, or whether it is (for example) too close to the Henge Close entrance.
How will the new entrance interact with the proposed chicanes? Work on these is supposed to start in March, leaving very little time for this to be discussed.
What if the application for the revised layout is refused, or has to be modified? This is arguably unlikely, but nevertheless, once trees have been removed from the existing hedge they will take years to grow back.
As previously reported, Adderbury Parish Council has breached planning conditions before. Last year, vegetation was stripped from the Milton Road field in breach of Condition 18. Site levels were changed in breach of Condition 8. The approved drainage scheme required under Condition 3 has not been constructed, and instead a sub-standard and much smaller basin has been installed which has already flooded adjacent land more than once. Work was also carried out on an “exclusion zone” around an important archaeological site.
The Parish Councillors leading the Milton Road project have already spent thousands of pounds of public money (in the form of S106 funds) on an unapproved pitch drainage system, which will ultimately have to be changed to meet the approved scheme. Did the Councillors actually plan to pay twice for elements of the pitch drainage? Or was this a very expensive mistake?
Before the Parish Council considers spending yet more of our public money on constructing a potentially unapproved entrance to the Milton Road field, perhaps questions should be asked about how this project is being managed. At the very least, we hope not to see any further breaches of planning conditions by the Parish Council. This work is ostensibly being carried out on behalf of the Adderbury community, therefore any corner-cutting or rule-breaking reflects on the community.
WARA has contacted Cherwell DC to query the situation and we will post an update as soon as possible.