Agenda item

Agenda item

Hinksey culvert - Network Rail proposed works: 15/03703/FUL

This application was called in for determination by the committee by Councillors Brandt, Simmons, Benjamin and Thomas under the rules in the Council’s constitution.


Application Number: 15/03703/FUL       Decision Due by: 13 May 2016

Proposal: Construction of a culvert under the railway between Hinskey Drain and Hinskey Stream. (Amended Information)

Site Address: Railway, Didcot to Chester Line (Dcl) 61M 55Ch off Abingdon Road

Officer recommendation: to approve the application subject to conditions

1          Development begun within time limit.

2          Development in accordance with plans and documents

3          Landscape plan required.

4          Tree Protection Plan (TPP) 1.

5          Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) 1.

6          Verification report.

7          Watching brief.

8          Archaeological WSI and MS.

9          CTMP.

10        Culvert maintenance plan.

11        Ecology Management Plan.

12        Vole survey.

13        Otter survey.

14        Invasive species.

15        Fish.


Reasons for Approval

1.    It is acknowledged that the scheme fails part two of the NPPF exception test and for that reason is also contrary to the Core Strategy and Oxford Local Plan but on balance, it is considered that the wider sustainability benefits of this scheme outweigh the impacts of the modelled increased flood risk, and that any remaining adverse impacts can be mitigated by the conditions imposed. There are no other material reasons why planning permission should be withheld for this proposal.

2.    Officers have considered carefully all objections to these proposals.  Officers have come to the view, for the detailed reasons set out in the officers report, that the objections do not amount, individually or cumulatively, to a reason for refusal and that all the issues that have been raised have been adequately addressed and the relevant bodies consulted.


The Committee considered an application for the construction of a culvert under the railway between Hinskey Drain and Hinskey Stream. (Amended Information) at the Railway, Didcot to Chester Line (Dcl) 61M 55Ch off Abingdon Road, Oxford.

The Planning Officer reported that in paragraph 33 (i) she had received confirmation that the available temporary barriers were not sufficient to protect against a 1 in 100 flood event.

Brian Durham, representing South Oxford Flood Action Group, and Judy Chipchase, local resident, spoke against the proposal.

Representing Network Rail, Joanna Grew (Senior Sponsor) and Simon Maple (Route Programme & Project Sponsor, Network Operations) spoke in support of the application. David Bedlington, from the Environment Agency, outlined the Agency’s role, assessment, and the reason for their position.

Representatives from Network Rail (Paul Armitage, Shaun Merrifield, Design Engineer, Scott Pillinger, and Lisa Bullock) came to the table to answer questions from the Committee.

The Committee asked questions of the officers and speakers including: clarifying the fall-back position under permitted development rights; the impact of this and the current scheme; the general location of affected properties; safety measures to prevent drowning or accidents; on and off-site watercourse maintenance to ensure the culvert operated effectively; and whether there were any practicable additional mitigation measures. The Planning Officer advised that Network Rail could only be asked to mitigate against the additional impact of their work.

As a result the Committee agreed to add one further condition and two informatives to the permission, as set out below.


The Committee resolved to approve application15/03703/FUL subject to the following conditions and with the following informatives:

1.     Development begun within time limit.

2.     Development in accordance with plans and documents

3.     Landscape plan required.

4.     Tree Protection Plan (TPP) 1.

5.     Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) 1.

6.     Verification report.

7.     Watching brief.

8.     Archaeological WSI and MS.

9.     CTMP.

10.  Culvert maintenance plan.

11.  Ecology Management Plan.

12.  Vole survey.

13.  Otter survey.

14.  Invasive species.

15.  Fish.

16.  Warning signs - scheme to be agreed and implemented and thereafter maintained.




1.    Network Rail be requested to all within their power to keep surrounding waterways clear of obstructions preventing the free flow of water.


2.    The City Council and Network Rail to have arrangements in place to ensure there is quick access in the event of flooding risk to a suitable pump on the Abingdon Road to pump flood water away from New Hinksey.


Supporting documents: