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TNP (2) Update - Jan 22 Newsletter

 

What you need to know about TNP2

  • It threatens colossal 15 hectare (37.5 acres) industrial estate off the bypass (Howland Rd)
  • The plan proposes additional industrial development beyond that required under the District Council’s local plan
  • Additional industrial development space has been included following the first consultation solely in response to a request by the developers ‘Stoford’
  • Following representations from ETRA, the Rycote Lane site has been included for potential industrial development.  Therefore two sites are being considered for industrial development; off Rycote Lane or Howland Road
  • Although the plan states the Rycote Lane site has limited foot and cycle access, it actually directly borders a traffic cycle lane
  • The proposals threaten further additional house building in East Thame off the bypass

What you can do to stop this threat of excessive development in East Thame

  • Express your concerns and anger via the online survey on the Thame Town Council (TTC) website and at any consultation events before the consultation closes on 31st January 2022. Contact ETRA (see below) for suggested survey input.
  • Spread the word to neighbours and family, get them to take similar action and sign up to the ETRA distribution list (via: eastthameresidents@gmail.com).  To increase our voice, members within the same family should respond to the TTC survey separately.
  • Write to Town Councillors with your objections. Contact details are on the TTC website.
  • Check our website and Facebook page for new information.
  • Ultimately TNP2 must be ratified by residents via a referendum.  For it to be approved at least 50% of voters must support it. As things stand, ETRA wouldn’t support it.

ETRA suggest the following points are included in your response to the consultation

  • Given Thame has full employment, the excess office space caused by the pandemic and lack of adequate evidence from the Town Council that additional employment space is required, the plan should only include the 3.5-hectare space as mandated by the SODC local plan.
  • As Howland Rd is adjacent to residential homes any further employment development North of Windles is unacceptable as it will have a detrimental impact on local residents through increased noise and traffic.
  • Residents are already impacted by noise from day/night operations from the Windles site.
  • The proposed site at Rycote Lane is more suitable for employment development as it is not adjacent residential housing therefore will not impact local residents.
  • The Rycote Lane site is closer to the motorway network and directly borders a traffic free cycle lane that’s part of Route 57 of the National Cycle Network, therefore this site can also be accessed by foot and bicycle. Support Rycote Lane as the substantially least bad option.
  • Given TTC has proposed the possibility of housing development east of the bypass between Towersey and Kingsey roads, the land north of Windles (next to the road) should also be considered for residential development in the future as originally proposed by Stoford and the SODC landscape character assessment. Industrial development for the length of, and in the vicinity of, the bypass, if ever considered, should be restricted to the land behind Groves & Windles to minimize impact on existing residents.
  • Given the scale of development in Thame over recent years, ETRA believe that any additional house building above the true requirement of circa 118 homes (not 339) should be for the sole benefit of local Thame people.
  • East Thame has a deficit of green public space, TNP2 should address this.

Additional details on the threat of additional industrial development

Unfortunately, TNP2 threatens a colossal 15-hectare employment site on fields that lie adjacent and behind Windles/Groves and up to Towersey Road.  The District Council only require Thame to provide 3.5 hectares of new employment space and so it seems the proposers of this plan are intent on industrialising the East Thame area. To put the size of the proposal into context, 15 hectares is: over 4 times the size of the Windles/Groves site or equivalent to about 30 football pitches.  Warehouses of a comparable size would typically provide over 150 HGV bays and operate day/night.  Despite residents voicing concerns about the proximity of the site to residential homes and the impact such development would have on residents, this has not been reflected in the Council’s plan. The lack of empathy being shown by TTC to its residents is shocking.

Construction on a new 5.35- hectare employment site west of ASM has already begun.  This site is in excess of the 3.5 hectares, Thame is mandated to provide and therefore it’s not clear why the Town Council wish to force further employment development on a Town with full employment.  Stoford built the Windles/Groves units and hold the development options for a further 15 hectares adjacent to these units.  As stated in the original TTC site assessment report, Stoford initially put forward their land next to Howland Road for residential development in line with an assessment by the District Council.  However, it appears after being led by TTC representatives, they expressed willingness that the land could be put forward for industrial development.

ETRA would prefer that no further sites are allocated to industrial development given work has already begun on the 5.35-hectare site west of ASM.  However, the site at Rycote Lane would be more suitable for this use purely because local residents will be less impacted as the site is not adjacent existing housing.  In addition, the Rycote Lane site is closer to the motorway network and although the TTC materials state in error the Rycote Lane site has limited access by foot or bicycle, it actually borders a traffic free cycle lane that’s part of Route 57 of the National Cycle Network.

Additional details on the threat of additional house building

Unfortunately, the consultation further adds to the development offensive on East Thame by putting forward the possibility of a 250-house site east of the bypass- next to the proposed new Health Hub.  This is despite the Town Council Planning Officer previously stating that SODC would not consider the similarly placed Howland Rd employment site suitable for residential development as it lies east of the bypass. It has been confirmed that the TNP (2) housing requirement of 339 houses includes existing allocations at the DAF site (129), CLT (31), Elms (31), CPM (30) and potentially other sites.  This results in a true allocation of 118 houses.  ETRA believe that TNP2 should only propose the true allocation of approximately 118 houses and any additional house building above this should be for the sole benefit of existing Thame residents.

The ETRA Committee