The following letter has been sent to Runnymede Planning by BRAG. If you haven't yet sent off your objection letter, you can still do so. Click here
The density proposed for the site assumed that the whole of the area west of the footpath FP10 marked by the hatched lines, would be available. However, the field nursery has not been offered by the owners.
The applicant states in their Design and Access statement that the area available for housing development is 6.67ha. This is incorrect. The capacity was set by the Site Capacity Analysis addendum 2018. This clearly states that the area available is 6.54ha. BUT, the Field Nursery (0.92ha) which was part of the SCA calculation did not come forward, thereby reducing the available land. Since this was not known at the time of the publication of the Local Plan, this must now be taken into account to produce an updated capacity analysis.
Revised area available taking out the field nursery is 6.54 – 0.92 = 5.62ha
Therefore, the developable area is only 5.62ha not 6.67ha as stated in the applicants DAS. The number of dwellings should therefore be reduced proportionally from 200 which is now outdated, to a maximum of 170dph to reflect the current facts.
The scheme proposed by the applicant is clearly too dense. Once the GP surgery and pitches (0.2ha) and the play areas (0.32ha) are considered, then the area for housing reduces to 5.1ha. The applicant proposes 186 houses giving a dph of 36.5. This is well over the minimum of 30 dph recommended in the Local Plan which stated that this kind of density is only acceptable with a high-quality design. The criteria for “high quality” design must be that it meets all the minimum standards within the local policy and Runnymede design guide. This scheme fails to do this on multiple points.
1) Poor contextual relationships (terraced housing blocks backing onto detached housing)
2) Does not align with the village character and more in line with urban edge.
3) Multiple examples where parking courts back onto the rear of existing dwellings contrary to policy requiring back-to-back arrangements
4) Minimum garden distances leading to tight build tolerances so the actual finished gardens risk being undersized because there is no room for manoeuvre
5) No soft green edge around the north and south-eastern borders
6) No integrated green social space within the centre of the development. No placemaking.
7) Bulky high-volume housing very close to existing dwellings leading to intrusion due to bulk and mass, overlooking, overshadowing
8) Insufficient visitor parking.
9) And many more problems as highlighted in the multiple letters of representation from residents,
The SCA which determined the numbers for Ottershaw East states categorically
“Given the higher densities proposed than within the immediate area, any development will need to ensure high quality design” (SCA p25)
If the scheme fails to satisfy all the Runnymede design policies and guidelines, at a minimum, then it cannot be deemed high quality by definition and fails to satisfy the Local Plan requirements. It is not for planning officers or the planning committee to enable the applicant by compromising on policies and guidelines. It is entirely the applicant’s responsibility to create a scheme that complies with Runnymede design policies and guidance as set out within the Local plan, policy EE1 and the Runnymede Design SPD. If the applicant cannot manage this at a dph of 36.5 then they must reduce the number of dwellings down to the minimum acceptable within the local plan of 30dph (170 dwellings).
Ottershaw East is on the village margins backing onto greenbelt and so dwelling numbers should be at the lower end of the minimum dph required to align with village context. There are several upcoming SLAA sites within Ottershaw which would have been better areas to develop. The land surrounding Great Grove Farm is much closer to the village centre and will likely come on stream. This site can better accept higher densities appropriate to a village centre, is better able to enhance the village and would be more acceptable to residents. High densities at the village edge does not
Since the government paper “Build Back Better” the standards required of developers has increased substantially and residents will be looking to the council to uphold their own policies and stick to guidelines or faith will be lost in the process chipping away good will towards the 2040 Local Plan