Although Taylor Wimpey have withdrawn their latest proposal for the drainage at Thames Farm, they have now submitted a discharge of condition 5 (Construction Management Plan).
Peter Boros from the Thames Farm Action Group (TFAG) said, “Residents and the Councils should be aware, that with this application Taylor Wimpey is continuing to pursue a proposal that sees the grouting works to stablise the site as already permitted by their base Planning Permission. They are effectively trying to secure acknowledgement of permission for these works by stealth!!! This is entirely contrary to the advice provided by SODC Planning, that the groundworks/remediation proposals that Taylor Wimpey propose are not permitted under the terms of that base Planning Approval and would require a fresh Planning Approval as a new and major engineering operation on land. If SODC were to approve this application then it would find it very difficult to later argue that it requires a separate Planning Application for the ground remediation works.”
Taylor Wimpey originally planned to drain the surface water through soakaways in the site but in early 2019 they discovered the chalk bedrock was prone to developing sink holes and suffered from major underground dissolution features and so this wasn’t feasible. They now are proposing to fill the ground with grouting to stabilise it which could cause problems to the nearby drinking water supply as the aquifers serving the bore hole runs immediately beneath the site.
Peter continues, “TFAG will therefore be objecting to this proposal, and we fully expect and hope that SODC will also stand their ground and reject it as a proposal that covers far more work than was permitted by the original consent. It seems quite ludicrous that Taylor Wimpey continues to pursue this approach which is yet a further and unnecessary drain on resources of the LPA and also others who are spending so much time energy and money on taking advice and ensuring that they are not permitted to proceed unless their ground proposals are first approved with a separate planning permission.”
The costs of defending the applications and getting to this point have been met by a combination of expenditure – primarily on legal advice by TFAG and a series of technical reports financed by Shiplake Parish Council, Harpsden Parish Council and Henley Town Council.
The latest report from JBA dealing primarily with the grouting proposals was received just at the point it became clear that the drainage application was being opposed by OCC and SODC Drainage and Planning and so has not been issued to anyone apart from the funding members that procured the report. Peter comments, “We are hoping to keep that report in reserve for any further steps by Taylor Wimpey.”
In the interim, TFAG will still write to the Main Board of Taylor Wimpey PLC and also its main shareholders and politicians (and send copies to the media) requesting them to influence their subsidiary to change its approach to this site and review the nature and density of development proposed.
Peter is encouraging residents to object to this discharge of condition and to write to their councils. He has written templates for residents to use. These can be found at https://www.change.org/p/cllr-david-bretherton-stop-this-undemocratic-process-now/