South Oxfordshire District Council have yesterday refused the Certificate of Lawful Use or Development by Taylor Wimpey to carry out ground stabilisation work at Thames Farm and this will now need a separate planning application.
The underpinning work is needed after Taylor Wimpey discovered in October 2020 that the chalk bedrock could not drain away the surface water through soakaways as originally planned as it was prone to developing sink holes. Taylor Wimpey have also still not resolved a drainage solution for the surface water after the ground stabilisation work as it will be impermeable to surface water. The latest proposal to pipe the water down a system along the Reading Road and out onto a watercourse on Jubilee Park (next to Tesco) was withdrawn in October 2021.
In the refusal, the Council stated, “The proposed ground stabilisation works are not authorised by the existing planning permission; they are not part of the foundation works nor ancillary to the development granted by the outline permission for 95 homes. The proposed groundworks are of a nature, scale and extent that they represent a separate activity of substance and are an engineering operation beyond the construction of foundations. The proposed ground stabilisation works therefore require planning permission from the Local Planning Authority.”
Peter Boros from Thames Farm Action Group on hearing the news today said, “This is fantastic news, and we are delighted that SODC has rejected this application – which sought to avoid the full and proper scrutiny that this type of work must be subjected to.
Anything else would have been a complete travesty and created an enormous gap in the system which any developer could wrongfully take advantage of. This would have circumvented a system that rightfully exists to ensure applications are carefully and fully vetted before they are approved.
The original planning application details were incorrectly submitted, which may well be why the Environment Agency has not been able to involve itself in considering the proposed works and any impact on the drinking water aquifers.”