Massive development of warehouses on ancient farmland at Banbury is set for refusal by councillors this week

An impression of what the Huscote Farm might look like from above as submitted in plansAn impression of what the Huscote Farm might look like from above as submitted in plans
An impression of what the Huscote Farm might look like from above as submitted in plans
A massive development of warehouses on ancient farmland at Banbury is set to be refused by councillors this week.

The plan for outline consent for 140,000 square metres of warehousing over Huscote Farm was submitted in December. An original plan was withdrawn before a public inquiry could he held into its rejection by Cherwell District Council.

The new plan has attracted hundreds of objections from people living miles around, from Banbury Town Council and parish councils surrounding the site which lies on the east side of the M40 motorway.

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A dedicated opposition group, Keep Nethercote Rural, said: “Developing the area of Nethercote for commercial use would have a hugely negative impact on our countryside, increase traffic and place further pressure on the M40 roundabout (already insufficient for the volume), increase noise from alarms and machinery, remove the natural habitat for wildlife and birds and increase flooding risks by removing permeable surfaces.”

Farthinghoe Parish Council said the A422, feeding into a notorious pinch point in its tiny community, is a Major Road Network route which had been wrongly designated as a dual carriageway linking J11 with the A43 at Brackley and HGVs from any such development would have serious implications for the already dangerous traffic situation in the village.

In its report to the Planning Committee at Cherwell District Council this Thursday, planning expert Chris Wentworth said the site was not allocated in CDC’s Local Plan and it would likely increase traffic congestion.

"The proposal fails to adequately assess or mitigate against air quality matters as a result of increased vehicle movements. It fails to adequately assess the economic impacts upon Banbury, specifically the attractiveness, vitality and viability of the town centre and the edge of town retail and employment centres, as a result of additional traffic,” he said.

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He said the developers had not produced evidence that the landscape would not be substantially harmed. A number of protected trees would be lost.

The ancient pastures of Huscote Farm as it is now, untouchedThe ancient pastures of Huscote Farm as it is now, untouched
The ancient pastures of Huscote Farm as it is now, untouched

"(It) would represent an urbanising form of development which by reason of its location and proposed land use would result in a cluster of large warehouse buildings poorly related to Banbury that would result in a harmful visual intrusion of development into the landscape and open countryside and would therefore result in harm to the rural character, appearance and quality of the area.

"This identified harm would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal.

"The proposed development would be sited in a geographically unsustainable location with poor access to services and facilities and therefore future employees would be highly reliant on the private car to access their workplace, which would not reduce the need to travel and would result in increased car journeys and hence carbon emissions. (It is ) in an unsustainable location for cycling and walking.”

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"The proximity of the access roundabout to M40 Junction 11 is likely to lead to severe congestion and potential safety issues from queuing on the M40 off-slip.

A bird's eye view of the Huscote Farm planning application siteA bird's eye view of the Huscote Farm planning application site
A bird's eye view of the Huscote Farm planning application site

“Any further development around Junction 11 of the M40 would add to the severe congestion and air quality problems on the A422, particularly along Hennef Way."

Mr Wentworth said the application failed to demonstrate the impacts on ‘potentially best and most versatile agricultural land’ or that it would not harm existing flora and fauna.

A decision will be made at the Bodicote House meeting on Thursday.