Taylor Wimpey Applies for Lawful Development for Underpinning Work

Taylor Wimpey have now applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness from South Oxfordshire District Council to confirm that their proposed grouting and vibro-compaction works to stabilise the Thames Farm site on the Reading Road can legally proceed under their original outline planning permission.

On 8 November Taylor Wimpey submitted a discharge of condition 5 (Construction Management Plan) outlining the piling and ground improvement work and then 10 days later on 18 November submitted the application for the Certificate of Lawfulness (CoL).  SODC will review the (CoL) application first and depending on the outcome will then review the Construction Management Plan.

Henley Town Council have recommended refusal of the (CoL) stating “this would constitute major works and would materially change the lawful development therefore requiring planning permission. The Committee feel that this should also be considered by the Planning Committee at SODC. Furthermore, the Committee have concerns over the extent of works that would be required to get rid of the water and stabilise the ground (6000 HGV lorries of cement) and the impact this would have on the contamination of drinking water.”

The site which was given planning approval for 95 homes in 2016 after many appeals has been beset with problems since Taylor Wimpey discovered the ground was not stable in October 2020.  The underpinning work will mean the site will be impermeable to surface water. Two applications have been submitted for drainage proposals to drain the surface water from the site, the last one being withdrawn by Taylor Wimpey in October 2021 which was to pipe the water along the Reading Road down to Jubilee Park (next to Tesco).  The application was withdrawn after Taylor Wimpey were informed by SODC of its intention to reject this application.

Peter Boros from Thames Farm Action Group (TFAG) is calling for residents to write and object to the CoL.  He said, “TFAG has taken legal advice on this point, and in addition engineering advice on the revised method statement provided in the Construction Management Plan.  As a result, we believe that these additional works are not works permitted by the extant Outline Planning Permission nor the Certificate of Lawfulness to build the 95 houses.  TFAG have therefore objected to these applications on the basis that SODC has previously advised residents (on 7 May 2021) that they also believe that those works are NOT included in the base Planning Permission and should be the subject of a fresh and separate planning application.”

“TFAG has no reason to believe that SODC is going to change its position of 7 May 2021. However, following the unexpected decisions in 2020 to approve the substantial (in our opinion) amendment to that original consent and also the then inevitable issuing of a certificate of lawfulness, somewhat illogically and contrasting with the views of the responsible planning officers, we have to be sure that SODC will continue to maintain its stance in the matter.”

“We know that this process is lengthy and tiresome but unfortunately we have no control over the submissions that Taylor Wimpey choose to make, which have been a relentless effort to avoid having to make a completely new and fresh application on the site for these new/additional works.”

Peter has created a template for residents to join with us and object here.

The decision date for the CoL application is 13 January. Full details can be found here https://data.southoxon.gov.uk/ccm/support/Main.jsp?MODULE=ApplicationDetails&REF=P21/S4749/