After a recent public meeting held in Dunsden Village Hall, Oxfordshire County Council’s Highways Department has released a series of drawings showing in detail the plans for raising the Playhatch Road. They include details of over 50 3m wide conduits, which would be placed beneath the raised road from just before the Sonning Eye mini-roundabout to the roads junction with the A4155 Henley Road.
The road would be raised by up to 90cm and the plans have been developed in conjunction with the Environment Agency. If £7m funding is secured from the Government, work could start next summer.
Sonning Eye Action Group members have recently expressed their concerns about road raising between the Sonning Eye mini-roundabout and the French Horn hotel. Their concerns include the potential for impact on properties bordering the B478 and the lack of a more holistic solution addressing the capacity of the floodplain as a whole.
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The population of Eye and Dunsden could triple if developers are given the green light to build along its border with Emmer Green. Gladman Developments have applied to SODC for outline planning permission for a minimum of 245 houses on land in the parish adjoining Emmer Green.
The village of Dunsden, together with Playhatch and Sonning Eye, between them consist of just 140 houses. There is a church and village hall but no shop, school or health centre in the parish, making the application unsustainable, according to a group of representatives of all the adjoining parishes and residents’ groups that met this week.
There are concerns about the impact on narrow and already overcrowded local roads and about the added pressure the development would place on Sonning bridge.
The housing is proposed for an attractive green field site directly adjoining Emmer Green, with the main access on to the rural part of Peppard Road. At a meeting of local parishes and residents’ associations, strong objections were expressed to breaking into unprotected ancient countryside. Attendees were concerned that the application might eventually lead to piecemeal development linking Emmer Green to Sonning Common which if unchecked could possibly connect as far as Binfield Heath and Shiplake.
The development company Gladman has a turnover of £200m nationwide with a record of active promotion of speculative green field development. The company is working with the Phillimore Estate, which owns over 1,400 hectares of land in the area with potential for tens of thousands more houses.
“We fear this is could be the thin end of an unstoppable development wedge,” said David Woodward, Chairman of Eye & Dunsden Parish. “This beautiful countryside offers Emmer Green a green window on to the Chilterns. Its development would cast a blight on Eye & Dunsden that would overwhelm a much valued landscape for ever.
“This threat should not just be allowed to slip through because of the current weakness of SODC housing supply. It would not meet South Oxfordshire’s housing needs. We urge anyone who cares about this lovely landscape to go on to the SODC website and register their views as quickly as possible.”
SODC planners will consider the application on February 1. Register your comments on the SODC website now.
On 15th November around 36 members of the public Oxfordshire’s Highways & Transport Asset Manager Mr David Bullock give a presentation about raising the level of the Playhatch road to prevent it flooding.
Oxfordshire is preparing a business case for around £7m funding from the Department for Transport. The return on the investment is high, with the probability of flooding of the road reducing from a one in three year event to one in 20 years. Around 54 3m wide box culverts are expected to be installed under the new road, which will be raised by around 40cm on average, with up to 80cm in the lowest sections. A fundamental principle of the design is that it will not make the flooding of local houses worse.
Some locals were concerned that the scheme does not sufficiently address the flooding of the Playhatch road between the French Horn hotel and the Sonning Eye mini-roundabout. OCC says that the culverts installed elsewhere will provide flooding relief to this stretch.
You can see a copy of the slides he used here: playhatch-presentation-nov-2016
Next Tuesday’s parish council meeting will begin at 7.45 with a public meeting at which we will hear from David Bullock, CEng MICE who is Oxfordshire County Council’s Highways & Transport Asset Manager. He will be providing an update on the preparation of a business case for raising the B481 Playhatch Road by up to 80cm in order to raise it above the level of recent floods.
The work does not include raising the level of the road by the French Horn and Frizers Farm in Sonning Eye. Although culverts are included, the Sonning Eye Action Group has raised concerns the the proposed work may act as a dam, worsening local flooding.
David Bullock’s September presentation
David Bullock’s July presentation