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"Deeply Damaging"

How English Heritage described the development of The Elms in 2012.


"Important Open Space"

How South Oxfordshire District Coucil classify The Elms


Here we go again - 4th Application for 69 Care Homes

Originally thought to be an elaborate April Fool's joke, it's now become clear that Rectory Homes and Simon Vickers have again applied for an extra care home for a total of 69 units, all despite the previous application for a very similar scheme being dismissed by the Secretary of State (although interestingly, the docs in this new application state that they are challenging this decision - Planning Statement, Section 1.6).

As per the previous 3 applications, the design is similar to the original application for 37 houses which was approved in July 2015 but has never been built out beyond creating the entrance. So what makes Rectory Homes think that this application will pass this time around? 

To understand this we should probably look at why the Secretary of State dismissed the previous application, all taken from the full decision notice:

  1. Proposed design for 78 units exceeds the number of units designated in the Thame Neighbourhood Plan ("no more than 45 dwellings"); (point 29)
  2. The proposed design "would not preserve and enhance the Thame Conservation Area and the setting of [The Elms House]"; (point 46)
  3. Fails to provide a proper contribution to affordable housing and doesn't "robustly justify a financial contribution instead of on-site provision"; (point 59)

Let's take each one individually. 

Item 1, number of units exceeds that provided for in the Thame Neighbourhood Plan - the latest number of units is 69.  This still clearly exceeds 45.

Item 2, proposed design damages the Thame Conservation Area and the listed house, The Elms - The new design is largely the same.

Item 3, no mix of housing and no affordable housing whatsoever - they've tried to overcome this with an increased financial contribution but this method still does not provide affordable housing in Thame.

All in all, this application doesn't seem to satisfy any of the reasons for dismissing the previous appeal whatsoever.

Also, in the decision notice (point 64) Rectory told the inspector for the Secretary of State that "in the event of this appeal being dismissed, it [is Rectory's] intention to build out [the scheme for 37 houses for which they already have planning permission]" - this new application is, yet again, Rectory and Simon Vickers going back on their word.  We'll let you decide why they keep doing this.

How can you object Before 24th April Deadline?

  1. Log on to the SODC website and write your objection there
  2. Use our Quick Objector here
  3. Contact your local Thame Town Councillor, SODC Councillor and, of course, MP John Howell.