Site ID: 773
Site Assessment Pro Formas
Representation ID: 7449
Respondent: Phillip C Bath Ltd
Agent: DLP Planning Limited
The site was previously submitted to the Council for consideration as part of the Council’s ‘call for sites’ exercise in August 2020. The land area being promoted is shown below.
(map in attachment)
The site, known as High Barns Farm, is situated on the western peripheries of Roxton, a small village and civil parish
The site has historically been used for pig and arable farming. Pig farming ceased on the site in April 2007 and only a limited number of buildings remain in agricultural use, associated with the remaining arable farming business.
In order to diversify the farm business and make use of the vacant buildings on the farm, a number of buildings throughout the site have been used for commercial and storage purposes.
There are a diverse range of buildings throughout the site which operate for agricultural, storage, and commercial purposes.
The site is considered suitable for a high calibre employment site (across the B1/B2/B8 Use Classes at a scale appropriate to the local area). The brownfield site offers an opportunity for the consolidation of the existing employment development on the site, which offers arrange of ‘mid-size’ units for a variety of ‘B’ type uses. The site has the capacity to accommodate approximately 6.1ha of employment development and also offers an opportunity for innovative design and job creation.
Access to the site is via Woodend Lane which is accessed off Bedford Road. Woodend Lane provides access to High Barns Farm via a bridge over the A421.
The site is located within Flood Zone 1 and is not within a Conservation Area or subject to any other landscape designation. Also, there are no heritage assets on the site or within the vicinity of the site.
The site, although in open countryside, is previously developed land and offers a unique opportunity, via the re-use of land and buildings and such new development as may be appropriate, to create a contained, sustainable, mixed business resource in close proximity to an important highway route, with which it has good connectivity.
The site is suitable for development and the landowner is committed to bringing it forward, such that it is available now.
We have reviewed the Council’s assessment of the site and wish to make a number of comments below.
Within or adjoining the urban area or a defined settlement policy area boundary
Whilst the site is not within or adjoining the urban area or a settlement policy area (SPA), it should not be automatically excluded from consideration. The site exists as a commercial site, is well connected to the main road network and in particular the A421, which is a main growth corridor for development. Furthermore, its location also makes the site suitable for a range of commercial and employment uses.
Impact on designated or non-designated heritage assets or their setting
The Council’s assessment proforma found that the proposal has the potential to cause harm to heritage assets, however this is unlikely given its location. There are no designated heritage assets within or adjacent the site. The contribution that the site may make to the setting of any affects assets is unlikely to be substantially affected by its development, noting the extensive existing built uses already present and the ability to provide commercial floorspace that reflects its existing built form and character within the rural area. There will be options to avoid, reduce or mitigate this harm and where sites have not been ruled out altogether for other reasons, further assessment will be undertaken to more fully explore impacts on significance and options for harm reduction and mitigation.
Connect to Highway without Constraint
The Council’s site assessment proforma records no in-principle constraint in terms of access or any significant local issues in terms of congestion, indicating that arrangements are likely to be appropriate for the proposed commercial uses that are well-related to the wider A421 corridor. The limited requirement for improvements identified in the Council’s assessment are considered to be achievable and proportionate to the proposed uses. Any subsequent application for development at the site will be supported by preparation of a relevant Transport Assessment and preparation of an appropriate Travel Plan to maximise opportunities for travel by non-car modes commensurate with the site’s location.
For cycle connectivity there is a shared path on Bedford Road 1km away and Woodend Lane will likely be fine to cycle along as it only serves this development.
Protected Species and Ecological Value
The Council’s assessment records a potential uncertain impact but recognises that the land is not within or adjacent areas of nature conservation importance. The proforma does not reflect that the majority of the site area comprises previously developed land.
As part of future development of the site it would be appropriate to seek preparation of an Ecological Impact Assessment comprising a Phase 1 Habitat Survey and assessment of potential site features supporting the presence of protected species.