Taylor Wimpey Submits Environmental Impact Application for Thames Farm

Taylor Wimpey has recently submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Opinion Application to SODC for Thames Farm following the loss of their appeal against the Inspectors decision that Taylor Wimpey’s proposed groundworks for the site requires a new 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.  They had previously submitted two drainage proposals for the surface water to be piped away from the site, which were also rejected.

Thames Farm Action Group believes that this latest application is a cynical move which has been taken in order to de-link the very real and concerning environmental issues which would result from Taylor Wimpey’s proposed grouting and vibro-compaction activities on the site. They are concerned that once again Taylor Wimpey is seeking to present just part of the environmental issues whilst leaving others not addressed so that just a part is subjected to environmental scrutiny, whilst other equally important and significant environmental issues are held back and dealt with separately.

Peter Boros from TFAG said, “An EIA screening application is an attempt to get the Authorities to agree that the proposed works are not really going to have a major environmental impact and thus avoid preparing a comprehensive evidence based Impact Assessment with full site investigation. Taylor Wimpey has not given up on the development of the Thames Farm site or their desire to vibro-compact and grout the site in order to overcome their problems with subsidence and dissolution features. Their complete lack of due diligence when purchasing the site and then moving forwards with the outline Planning permission when not really understanding the nature of the ground that they purchased, has caused them numerous difficulties which continue to this day.”

In their response to the application TFAG have stated that there are a number of incorrect statements and omissions in the screening assessment report by Stantec accompanying the application which include the way the river flows, the site is not located within or near a drinking water Source Protection Zone, which it is, and the belief that it is ‘low impact and non invasive’ when drilling 16m down across a significant proportion of the site.

Henley Town Council reviewed the application at the Planning Meeting last week.  They have objected stating, “It was felt that the proposal would have the potential for significant effects on the environment and therefore an Environmental Impact Assessment should be required. It is our opinion that the works would be formal EIA development as set out in the EIA Regulations.”

“An EIA is essential to fully understand the potential impacts of the ground stabilisation works on the Groundwater/aquifer. Additionally, the Council is concerned about potential contaminative material being carried towards the water supply boreholes and issues around surface water runoff. These issues must be thoroughly assessed through the EIA, and the cumulative effects of this proposal should be considered. The EIA should particularly consider impacts on:

* Natural Resources
* Pollution and Nuisance
* Population and Human Health
* Water Resources
* Land Stability
* Climate

“The Council support the comments submitted by the Thames Farm Action Group and are concerned that multiple errors and omissions have been identified within the Stantec report.”

“It is felt that there is insufficient information submitted by Stantec to justify that there will be no significant effects on the environment. It is crucial that the potential impacts are fully considered in an EIA and that the Local Planning Authority (LPA) takes necessary steps to protect the environment.”

If you would like to register your objection, please go to https://data.southoxon.gov.uk/ccm/support/ before 20 June.

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