Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Development Plans For Sensitive Oakwell Park Site At Thorn

How the site could look if developed.

Site now: Oakwell Park and paddocks to the left, woodland to the right.



PLANNING MATTERS

A new application could pose a threat to a site thought to be an ancient woodland, off the Thorn Road in Houghton Regis parish. Conflicting documents in the application suggest that between 80 and 200 homes could be built at Oakwell Park, Thorn*

The plan would demolish and remove existing buildings, trees and associated landscaping to create a residential development, together with environmental improvements, green infrastructure and heritage enhancement. About half the site containing an ancient woodland would be saved. The application is number CB/16/05701/OUT and plans are available online

Comments can be sent to planning@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk quoting CB/16/05701

The site has several water features including a large pond adjacent to the main house set outside the woodland, a moated feature that forms part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) and also a series of ditches that run along the edge of the woodland conveying surface water from the northern edge of the site towards the southern end of the site.

Trees cover approximately half of the site and contribute towards its character and overall sense of enclosure from the adjoining land. Part of the site is a County Wildlife Site (CWS) incorporating ancient woodland dating back to before 1796. A 15m buffer zone is required to be left around a CWS.

Thorn Spring moated site is a scheduled monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. There are about 6,000 such moated sites in England. In the main, these moats were built between 1250 and 1350. The island at Thorn is reportedly largely undisturbed. Further information about the ancient monument can be found here.



The moat At Thorn Spring

Woodland area near the moat.

Oakwell Park
In the context of HRN2 it could look like this: Bigger HRN2 Map from Outline Planning permission documents

* - The main application document has a figure of 200 dwellings, Section 17 of Planning Application has 95 mentioned, plus 100 in one bit and 200 in another - both figs are circled suggesting that someone is aware the numbers are inaccurate.  However, Section  5.7 of the Planning Statement talks of between 80 and 100 dwellings and Section 6 of the Design & Access Statement  (part 2) has a fig of  90 equating to a density of 30 dwellings per hectare.