Outline letter to adapt

Date and your address
Mr Stuart Walker
Vale of White Horse District Council
Abbey House, Abbey Close
Abingdon Oxon
OX14 3JE
Dear Mr Walker,
Proposed Redevelopment, The West Way Centre, Botley
Application Reference: P13/V2733/FUL
Start with a formal objection:
I am writing to formally object to the current planning application at The West Way Centre,
Botley that covers the proposed ‘demolition of a mix of existing buildings and the erection of
mixed use development’.
My concerns are based on the fact that (add something like):
 I live in the area (have lived in the areas for xx years etc.)
 I live very nearby the proposed development
 I use the shops in the area
 I visit the area and believe it to be attractive / an important part of the city and its
 Add your own....
Having studied the plans it seems clear to me that the proposed development will cause
significant additional residential, transport, leisure and retail activity.
There will be a significant impact on the area, in terms of visual impact, traffic generation, and
Then choose your issues:
Planning and Development
Short version
The development will result in loss of an important local facility, including shops, dentist,
hairdresser, etc, and the hub of our community. Local independent businesses will close.
There will be noise, heavy traffic, dust and other disruption during the construction, and noise
and light disruption thereafter.
Long version
I note that Policy GS5 of the Vale Of White Horse Local Plan (VOWHLP) seeks to make efficient
use of the land and buildings within existing settlements. It confirms that new developments will
be permitted provided ‘that it would not result in the loss of an important local facility, a poor
quality of environment or harm to the site or its surroundings’.
Similarly, Policy CF1 seeks to resist development proposals ‘involving the loss of existing
services or facilities unless appropriate and sufficient provision is provided as an alternative’.
The proposed retail and leisure facilities will cause significant harm and disruption both during
construction and thereafter. Local independent businesses will be lost: the lesson from similar
developments elsewhere is that these will not survive loss of business and a place to trade for
perhaps two years. It is likely that they will be replaced with large chains, leading to fewer local
entrepreneurs and to a loss of diversity in local businesses.
Elms Parade
Short version
Elms Parade has significant heritage value and is part of the local character of the area. I object
to the plans to demolish it.
Long version
I am particularly / also concerned about the fact that Elms Parade will be demolished. Elms
Parade has significant heritage value. This would be detrimental to the long established and
cherished local character of the area and the quality of the environment, contrary to planning
Policies GS5 and CF1. It is one of very few remaining 1930s commercial developments in the
I note the recent report on Elms Parade by heritage expert Dr. K. Davies which concludes that
‘the building is of considerable architectural and historic interest’ and that it should ‘be
considered as a non-designated heritage asset’.
Botley as a local centre
Short version
This proposal will change the scale and function of the West Way Shopping Centre from a local
centre to a significantly larger centre. There will be no adequate shops during the building of the
new centre.
Long version
The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework states that “Local Planning Authorities
should define a network and hierarchy of centres that is resilient to anticipated future economic
Botley is a designated service centre as defined in VOWHLP policy GS1 and the existing West
Way shopping area comfortably meets the needs of the local community. This proposal is for a
significant change in scale and function of the site.
I am of the opinion that the proposed development will result in significant additional activity,
inappropriate and harmful to the vitality of the existing centre as well as to the character of the
surrounding area. There would be a loss of existing local services and replacement facilities will
be inappropriate and entirely disproportionate at this location.
Scale and Character
Short version
The locality around Botley is low key, suburban and pleasant. The new development is not in
keeping with the scale and character of the area. It is too large. The layout, visual design and
the materials used do not take into account the local character.
Long version
The application site is bound to the north by the busy and often congested West Way highway
serving Oxford City Centre. Well-kept residential dwellings line West Way and bound the
application site to the south along Arthray Road and Conifer Close to the west.
The overall ambience of the locality is generally low key, suburban and pleasant. This character
of the locality is very important to the existing residents and if this is eroded it will have a serious
impact on our quality of life.
Your Local Plan Policy DC1 is concerned with design and seeks to ensure that ‘development
does not adversely affect the character of the locality in terms of the layout, scale, mass, height,
detailing, materials used or its relationship to adjoining buildings and open space’. It also states
that development must take into account local distinctiveness and character either in a modern
or a traditional interpretation.
Policy S1 of the VOWHLP further sets out that proposals for new retail development must be in
keeping with the scale and character of the centre or area concerned.
While there are three office buildings in the area, the vast majority of the development area is
low rise and small / medium density. Replacing the main area with a building that is over 100
metres long and between four and eight stories high is self-evidently a massive change in scale
and character. This will be made worse by the destruction of Field House and its replacement
by the four story cinema / leisure development.
5. Transport issues
Short version
The development will increase traffic into the area, with additional noise and impact on air
quality, both during construction and afterwards, especially at night.
The development does not improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.
Long version
Policy S1 of the VOWHLP sets out that proposals for new retail development must be in
keeping with the scale and character of the centre or area concerned and would not create
unacceptable traffic or environmental problems. Moreover, supporting paragraph 12.3 states
that ‘the Council will seek to safeguard the local centres at Botley and Grove and to reduce
traffic congestion and improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians’.
It is self-evident from the submitted proposals that the redevelopment scheme is of significantly
greater scale than the existing development. We can expect there to be increased traffic during
both the construction phase and its subsequent operation.
The proposed redevelopment cannot be sustained by the current population of Botley and will
need to appeal to people from a wider catchment. This will ultimately increase traffic generation,
particularly on the above mentioned West Way road. Linked HGV movements for the increased
servicing of the shops, particularly the national chains, noise, vibration, car parking and reduced
air quality are further highways concerns harmful to the character of the area and quality of the
Notwithstanding the increased number of vehicle movements, the increase in general activity
associated with the new retail and leisure development will, in itself, cause additional noise and
therefore further disturbance to existing residents. Clearly this would be particularly
objectionable at times of the day when residents can reasonably expect a more peaceful
Short Version
I don’t believe the car parking arrangements are adequate to serve the purposes, and that onstreet parking will result.
Long version
The parking arrangements do not appear to be adequate. The analysis suggests that the car
park would be 80% full at many times. It is not clear what assumptions have been made with
respect to parking for the hotel and employees on the site. It is unlikely that any attempt to
impose a ‘no car’ rule on student residents would be successful.
Currently, the centre serves a lot of short visits, for which the frontage parking is ideal. It is
unlikely that people will negotiate a large car park for a short stay, and will endeavour to park on
neighbouring residential streets, especially Arthray Road.
A Controlled Parking Zone would likely result.
Add a conclusion:
Short version
I think the proposed development is unacceptable, and should be refused.
Long version
I accept that the existing West Way Centre has been identified in the Local Plan for
redevelopment. But the enormous and disproportionate scale of what is entirely inappropriate to
that expected or required from a local service centre. Furthermore the proposal will generate
significant additional commercial activity and intensification of use of the site across a range of
fronts, which is inappropriate in this suburban location.
The application proposes an unacceptable form of development that would adversely affect the
vitality of the local service centre and cause significant detriment to the amenities of
neighbouring properties. It would be in direct conflict with policies GS1, GS5, GS10, CF1, DC1,
DC6, DC9, S1, S12, H10 and T1 of the Vale of White Horse Local Plan 2011.
As submitted this application should therefore be refused.