Land to the West of Wootton Road, Abingdon-on-Thames






The erection of a Class E discount foodstore with associated access, parking and servicing areas, landscaping, and associated works. Amended plans including revised landscaping, parking and retail information received 9 June 2021 and amended highways details received 5 August 2021 and 10 September 2021 and 29 September 2021. Additional retail information received 15 October 2021



Margaret Crick

Andy Foulsham

Eric de la Harpe

Robert Maddison

Catherine Webber



Aldi Stores Limited



Penny Silverwood






It is recommended that authority to grant planning permission is delegated to the head of planning subject to:


1.    Completion of a S106 agreement with Oxfordshire County Council to secure a contribution towards travel plan monitoring and public transport services and infrastructure and the provision of a TOUCAN crossing along Wootton Road;


2.    Conditions as summarised below:

1.             Time limit for commencement

2.             Approved plans


Pre-commencement Conditions

3.             Slab levels to be submitted

4.             Biodiversity offsetting scheme

5.             Surface water drainage scheme to be submitted

6.             Foul drainage scheme to be submitted

7.             Landscaping scheme to be submitted


8.             Landscape maintenance and long term management plan to

           be submitted

9.             Cycle parking details to be submitted

10.          Construction Traffic Management Plan to be submitted

11.          Community Employment Plan to be submitted


Details to be submitted prior to occupation

12.          Public Art strategy to be submitted

13.          SUDS compliance report to be submitted

14.          Travel plan to be submitted

15.          Delivery and Servicing Management Plan to be submitted

16.          External lighting details to be submitted



17.          Implementation of ecological mitigation and enhancement


18.          Implementation of Arboricultural assessment and tree

           protection plan

19.          Provision of rapid electric vehicle charging points

20.          Noise levels

21.          Implementation and management of landscaping scheme

22.          Visibility splays to be provided

23.          TOUCAN crossing to be provided

24.          Building to be used for Class E retail foodstore only

25.          Total Class E floorspace shall not exceed 1842sq.m and net

           sales area shall not exceed 1315sq. m

26.          Class E floorspace shall be used for a maximum of 1052sq.m

           convenience goods and a maximum of 263sq. m comparison  


27.          No mezzanine or first floor level to be constructed

28.          No subdivision to two or more units



1.    S106 agreement attached

2.    Amount of biodiversity units required to offset

3.    Land Drainage Consent

4.    Consent required from OCC for works in the public highway

5.    Groundwater Risk management permit may be required








The application is presented to Planning Committee at the request of the Chair of Committee.




This application relates to a parcel of land located to the north west of Abingdon-on-Thames. The application site is the northern section of a field located to the west of Wootton Road and north of Copenhagen Drive. The A34 runs along the northern boundary in an elevated position. There is an existing field access to the site from Wootton Road in the north-east corner. On land to the east of the site and east of Wootton Road planning permission has been granted for 200 dwellings and construction is underway (application ref. P17/V1336/O and P19/V0169/RM). A site location plan is below:





The Proposal

The application seeks full planning permission for the erection of a Class E retail food store with associated access, parking and servicing areas, landscaping, and associated works. Vehicular access is to be taken from Wootton Road with a new access being created in the south eastern corner of the site and the existing field access being stopped up. The proposed building is to be located on the south west corner of the site facing east with car parking to the front and north.




Officers are aware that the end user is intended to be the discount retailer Aldi. The authority cannot however control the end user of the proposed development and therefore the application must be considered based on the use class applied for with no weight to be given to any intended end users.




The proposal has been amended following technical officer comments relating to highways, landscape, trees, and design. The latest plans are attached as Appendix 1.






A summary of the responses received to the current proposal is below. A full copy of all the comments made can be seen online at


Abingdon Town Council

First response – Objection

·         Not confident that the transport assessment reflects the reality of conditions on site.

·         When the supermarket and adjacent development are completed there will be two entrances very close to each other on opposite sides of the road, representing a hazard and in contravention of CP33 given the likely negative impact on the safety of road users.

·         The new development and supermarket will result in a significant increase in traffic in the area which will need to be safely managed

·         Cycle provision does not appear to have been taken into account in the design of the entrance and surrounding road including the Wootton Road and Dunmore Road roundabout.

·         The transport assessment states that OCC advises in pre-application advice that improvement works at the roundabout should be considered.

·         The proposed entrance does not seek to address the safety of road users in its design, it is also in contravention of the Oxfordshire Cycling standards in accommodating the needs of cycle users

·         Supports the principle of the development but would like to see the many issues around safe transport addressed.


Response to June 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Welcomes the amendments made

·         The proposed supermarket would provide benefits to the local area, reducing vehicle journeys from North Abingdon to other supermarkets in the town

·         Welcomes plan to reduce the risk of flooding, particularly at Farm Road.


Response to August 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Welcomes the application in principle and amendments

·         Site access is not clear how customers exiting will safely turn right as will need to cross a right-hand turn lane. This may result in cars queuing causing a hazard for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. Clarification would be welcomed.


St Helen Without Parish Council

First response – Objection

·         In principle support the application but have major concerns over the layout of the site, traffic flow data, the impact on the parish, transport and road safety and flood risk

·         Support the change of use for a supermarket but no further residential development should be allowed on this site. This would allow the proposed store to be moved from the top northern corner to a more central location so that access could be taken directly off Dunmore Road

·         There is room for other commercial development to complement Aldi

·         The traffic data ignores the other route for traffic coming through Shippon and down Long Tow to join the B4017. Traffic flow through Shippon will continue to increase as new developments to the west are built and access to Aldi will further increase traffic on our narrow rural roads

·         A much safer junction at Long Tow/ Wootton Road is required

·         The severe and frequent flooding of Long Tow needs to be factored in

·         Once the 200 houses opposite and the foodstore are built the congestion and danger to road users, cyclists and pedestrians on Wootton Road will be far greater than portrayed

·         The drainage/ flood risk data needs to be closely scrutinised


Response to June 2021 amendments – Objection

·         Previous concerns not addressed


Economic Development

First response – Support

·         Satisfied that the planning and retail statement provided does show evidence that there are no suitable alternative sites in and around Abingdon

·         Impact assessment shows that impact on Abingdon Town Centre will be very low and will not have a significantly adverse effect on trade.

·         Proposal will help to support the Economic Recovery Plan from Covid-19 and boost the local economy through creation of up to 50 jobs including part-time opportunities and local employment opportunities for construction including apprenticeships and placements.

·         A Community employment plan is required to maximise opportunities for employment and apprenticeships, sourcing local supplies and services


Countryside Officer

First response – Objection

·         Habitats on site are not considered to be a constraint to development and impacts on protected species are unlikely

·         Involves the loss of a section of hedgerow but an existing site entrance will be replanted

·         Concerns with metric assessment; size of site area incorrect, loss of blackthorn scrub in north not accounted for, no phase 1 habitat plan provided, urban shrub not properly accounted for, condition of grass as part of landscape plan incorrect

·         Southern boundary should be planted with native hedgerow to compensate for the losses caused by the larger southern access

·         A phase 1 habitat plan and revised metric assessment need to be submitted


Response to June 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Updated information and amendments have addressed previous comments

·         Ecological mitigation and enhancement measures are proposed in the updated report

·         Development will lead to an overall net loss of biodiversity but satisfied that the loss can be compensated for through biodiversity offsetting to comply with CP46

Response to September 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Amendments to access layout have resulted in the loss of 50 square metres of soft landscaping

·         This results in a minor change in the offsetting requirement which can be covered by condition


Highways England

First response – No objection


Response to August 2021 amendments – No objection



First response – Objection

·         Site is at a low risk of flooding from all sources and is in a suitable zone for development in terms of fluvial floor planning policy

·         Applicant should confirm that they have permission to discharge into the watercourse that is to be diverted running through a neighbouring development

·         Proposed drainage scheme does not incorporate sustainable drainage measures for water quality improvement. It has not been demonstrated that surface features for water quality improvement such as swales or porous paving are unviable for the site


Response to June 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Objection removed and conditions required in relation to surface water drainage, foul drainage and SUDS compliance


Response to August 2021 amendments - No objection


Forestry Officer

First response – Objection

·         No objection to the removal of 2 sections of hedge for vehicular and pedestrian accesses

·         Drainage layout contradicts with hedge to be retained and protected on tree protection plan. Outfall pipe goes through retained hedge and within the root protection area of a mature horse chestnut east of Wootton Road.

·         Drainage should be amendment to avoid further loss of hedge by making use of space for proposed accesses and avoid the RPA of trees


Response to June 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Condition required to secure implementation of tree and hedge protection measures


Response to August 2021 amendments – No objection


Air Quality

First response – Objection

·         Air quality assessment needs to be provided

·         Rapid electric vehicle charging points need to be provided


Response to June 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Dust has been identified as a particular problem that can be effectively mitigated through proper management of the development site

·         Operational impacts are not considered in this area and the additional impacts from traffic can be offset with the installation of EV charging on site

·         Condition required securing dust mitigation and EV rapid charging points.


Response to August 2021 amendments – No objection


Contaminated Land

First response – No objection


Response to August 2021 amendments – No objection

·         No significant contamination has been identified

·         No further contaminated land assessments are necessary


Environmental Protection Team

First response – Objection

·         Welcome recommended 1.8m and 2.5 acoustic fence to protect future residential development from customer vehicle noise and delivery noise

·         Target levels for mechanical plant are not sufficiently protective and risks significant adverse impact on future residential development. Target levels should be reduced


Response to June 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Welcome the revised proposed mechanical plant noise rating limits and recommend condition to control noise levels

·         Mechanical plant does not need to be acoustically screened, only visually. 2.5 metre acoustic fence is required to screen delivery area and is provided

·         Noise from vehicle movements associated with the car park would not exceed WHO guidelines and would be significantly below existing ambient noise levels, therefore no objection to the reduced height fence form 1.8m to 1.2 m on southern boundary.


Response to August 2021 amendments – No objection




Landscape Architect

First response – Objection

·         No objection to the principle of development on this site

·         Not enough space to provide the required landscape infrastructure to soften the street scene and integrate the site into its setting and create a northern edge to Abingdon

·         Plans do not meet site development template requirements

·         Development extends up to the ditch line on the northern boundary with retaining wall which does not allow additional planting to improve tree cover along the A34 and the building in this location may impact the ditch and existing vegetation on the A34 embankment

·         No proposals for how the scheme would link to the remaining section of the strategic site to the south. Treatment of the southern boundary with 1.8m close boarded fencing is not acceptable especially with regards to the character and visual impact

·         Planting beds on southern boundary are too narrow

·         Proposed lighting will clash with proposed tree planting positions

·         Larger growing trees should be chosen for the car park to reflect the character of trees along Wootton Road and to break up the mass of the proposed building and parking area

·         Height of shrubs at road entrance is too high

·         Signage should be relocated


Response to June 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Comments have been addressed

·         Condition required to cover implementation and management of landscaping


Response to August 2021 amendments - No objection

·         Staff cycle parking is not practical due to location up a flight of stairs, the angle of entrance into the building and being located within the warehouse.


Oxfordshire County Council

Strategic comments

First response

·         Particularly interested to ensure the area is planned comprehensively such that all land uses on the allocated sites are designed having regard to each other



First response - objection

·         Trip rates used within the Transport Assessment (TA) are accepted as are the trip types, proportions and trade draw. Local data sets are required to be used to provide a more accurate assessment

·         TA needs to take account of the adjacent residential site in 2028 when it will be fully occupied

·         Assessment of flows at the roundabout need to be undertaken with and without improvements proposed as part of the adjacent development

·         Issues with Saturday peak data needs to be addressed

·         A clear and detailed plan showing the proposed access arrangements are required and redesigned to accommodate appropriate visibility spays and turning of service vehicles

·         Pedestrian footways along Wootton Road should be extended into the site and the access designed to take account of the adjacent combined pedestrian/ cycle path

·         Details of relocated field access and use required

·         120 parking spaces is considered to be acceptable

·         Additional cycle parking is required, cycle parking should be located to the front of the store to ensure maximum security.

·         A TOUCAN crossing is required across Wootton Road

·         Bus stops to be provided along both sides of Wootton Road adjacent to the site


Response to June 2021 amendments – Objection

·         Parameters of TA accepted

·         The assessment of the roundabout and the development’s impact is accepted

·         It is accepted that the development would not have a severe impact at the roundabout during the Saturday peak period

·         Visibility splays as shown are acceptable

·         Pedestrian footways need to be extended into the site and the access needs to be designed to take account of the existing pedestrian/cycle path along Wootton Road. This path also needs to clearly connect with the proposed TOUCAN crossing

·         Outline/ conceptual design of TOUCAN crossing required

·         Further details of relocated field access required

·         Servicing management plan required to mitigate impact of service vehicles using most of the access when entering or existing the site

·         Provision of 118 spaces is considered acceptable

·         Parking for an addition 8 cycles (16 in total) for customers required and 4 for staff are required to be shown by condition


Response to August amendments – Objection

·         Shared cycle/ footway along frontage should be 3m wide

·         Pedestrian footways along Wootton road are still required to be extended into the site

·         Concerns regarding raised table for cycling priority

·         Field access needs to be relocated

·         Details of cycle parking unacceptable, can be secured by condition


Response to 10th September 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Cycle/ footway along frontage retained at 2.7m wide. Whilst an increase to 3m is desirable it is not essential to serve the development, an objection could not be sustained in this regard

·         Access now acceptable

·         Relocated field access acceptable


Response to 29th September 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Amendments to proposed cycle crossing facilities at access are acceptable


Further response received 28th October 2021 – No objection

·         Contribution towards public transport to improve bus stop facilities along part of Wootton Road to the south of the adjacent roundabout and/ or Dunmore Road in the vicinity of the site is required. This is in lieu of the direct delivery of bus stops on Wootton Road as the bus service along Wootton Road is no longer in operation due to the current Covid pandemic.


Lead Local Flood Authority

First response – objection

·         Insufficient justification provided for the pumped discharge rate, it should be the lowest feasible discharge rate

·         Maintenance and management schedule should provide details of SUDs features

·         Exceedance flow path layouts should be provided to demonstrate the direction of flows for the existing pre-development unmitigated flood paths and post-development flood paths

·         It should be demonstrated that any risk of flooding to the site from neighbouring sites and or low points within the site have been mitigated in the proposed SUDS design

·         Exceedance flows from the entire site should be indicated and shown that all levels fall away from buildings


Response to June 2021 amendments – No objection



First response – No objection

·         Archaeological evaluation has recorded only a small number of archaeological features in the form of two prehistoric ditches

·         No further archaeological investigation will be required


Community Infrastructure Officer

First response – No objection

·         Supermarkets are CIL liable


SGN Plant Protection

First response – No objection

·         Advising of infrastructure within vicinity of development site


Thames Water

First response – No objection

·         No objections with regards to surface, foul and ground water or with regards to the water network


Urban Design Officer

First response – Objection

·         Design of building is supported but material pallet needs to be amended to be suitable for the site’s setting and context

·         Southern boundary treatment should not be close boarded fencing, replace with 1.2 post and rail with hedging

·         Plant area should be appropriately screened

·         Pole signage should be relocated


Response to June 2021 amendments – No objection

·         Amended materials acceptable

·         Amendments to southern boundary acceptable


Response to August 2021 amendments – No objection


Waste Management Officer

First response – No objection


Response to August 2021 amendments – No objection


106 Infrastructure and Development

First response – No objection

The Friends of Abingdon Civic Society

First response – Objection

·         Concern regarding impact of proposed development on service centre secured in development north of Dunmore Road and east of Tilsley Park

·         Concern regarding pedestrian safety crossing Wootton Road and Copenhagen Drive

·         Southern half of field should not be used housing, original requirement of strategic site has been met


GR Planning Consultancy on behalf of Mays Properties Ltd (Fairacres Retail Park)

First response – Objection

·         Application submitted at Fairacres retail park to sell food from Unit B which is relevant and material to the application.

·         Fairacres is sequentially preferable to this site

·         Concerns regarding cumulative retail impact


Carney Sweeney Planning consultants

First response – Objection

·         Site located within strategic housing allocation and the principle of a foodstore should be resisted

·         Application fails to consider the strategic allocation as a whole through masterplan

·         Application fails to meet the requirements of significant landscaping infrastructure

·         The application does not consider the alternative provision of self and custom build housing

·         There is sufficient existing and planned convenience provision to meet Abingdon’s medium-term needs

·         Sequential test fails to consider the search parameters

·         The infrastructure requirements set out in the site development template are required in their totality to ensure effective delivery of the whole allocation


Martin Robeson Planning Practice on behalf of Tesco Stores Limited


First response – Objection

·         Proposal would result in the misplaced utilisation of land allocated for housing

·         Housing policy targets are not a maxima

·         The provision of a foodstore separate from current town and out-of-town centre provision will not encourage the use of existing facilities as set out in CP4 of LPP1

·         Detailed masterplanning as set out in CP4 of LPP1 has not been provided

·         The external delivery bay area is in a location that is likely to have adverse effects on the residential amenity of housing on the remainder of the allocated land without any reasonable buffer

·         It has not been determined that The Charter area will not come forward within a reasonable period as set out in the NPPF as a requirement of the sequential test

·         The development needs to be assessed against other out of centre opportunities and preference should be given to accessible sits which are well connected to the town centre

·         Fairacres is readily accessible to the town centre via Marcham Road and is served by four regular bus routes including to the town centre. The application site is poorly served in terms of accessibility

·         The loss of part of a strategic housing allocation together with related retail effects makes the opportunity proposed far less ‘suitable’ than the marginal net change to retailing effects arising from the development or re-use of existing retail floorspace at Fairacres

·         The health check of Abingdon is informed by a 2017 Town Centre study which is a too historic source

·         Now retailing is out of lockdown following the pandemic there is an opportunity for a more appropriate and useful assessment of the health of the relevant centres to be undertaken

·         The health check carried out by Nexus, retail consultant on behalf of the local authority in March concedes that pedestrian flows have been distorted by the effects of Covid-19 and therefore now lockdown restrictions have ended the applicant should be required to review the health of the town centre.



Comments from 290 residents in support of the application have been received which are summarised as:

·         Much needed to add greater retail provision to the town, surrounding villages and new developments

·         It will improve traffic that currently travels to Tesco

·         The land has no value for farming or recreation

·         Potential for new jobs in the area

·         Will be more local, stopping car travel to Didcot, Botley and Faringdon and allowing for smaller trips on foot or cycle

·         Pensioners would benefit from being able to walk to the shop

·         Abingdon town centre has no space to accommodate large shopping retail

·         A small coffee shop should be added to the store

·         There should be significant investment in tree planting and landscaping including sufficient rooting area under the car park and funds for successful establishment.

·         Other existing retail stores are in very congested areas

·         Good to see charging points for electric vehicles

·         The proposed new store should not have an impact on the trade of the Co-op on Northcourt Road

·         Great benefit to elderly people as there is no public transport to other supermarkets in this area

·         Need to ensure there is safe access for pedestrians from both sides of Wootton Road

·         It is essential to support all the new housing in the area

·         Better bus services to West Abingdon, Northcourt, Wootton Road required.


Comments from 13 residents objecting to the application have been received as well as 7 residents raising concerns which raise the following:

·         Located in the wrong place and will encourage travel just to visit the supermarket

·         Does not fit with the Council’s declared Climate Emergency to reduce car use

·         Will exacerbate the existing volumes of traffic

·         Concern regarding access and egress from the site and the proximity to the roundabout

·         The roundabout should be returned to two lanes

·         Lodge hill interchange has still not been sorted

·         The remaining mature trees along Wootton Road should not be removed

·         It may affect flooding. Drainage should be addressed

·         The site has been allocated for housing and taken out of the Green Belt solely for that purpose

·         The town centre viability should be supported and this would draw more people away from the centre

·         There is no regular, everyday bus service close to the store and so the majority of people would arrive by car adding to congestion and pollution in the area

·         The vehicular access is not acceptable; it will create an additional impediment to pedestrians and cyclists along Wootton Road

·         The site access should be moved to Copenhagen Drive and the shared footway/cycleway on the west side of Wootton Road should be widened to 4 metres

·         There should be contributions towards the provision of a continuous and coherent cycle track between Dunmore Road and White Cross/ Wootton and towards a 7-day regular bus service for the Wootton Road corridor

·         A 30mph speed limit should be introduced on all four approaches to the Wootton Road/ Dunmore Road roundabout

·         The proposed access arrangement will impact on the existing cycle provision and is not in line with LTN1/20 and OCC cycle standards. Pedestrian/ cycle priority should be provided across the access and cycle enhancement should be provided at the roundabout to the south so that the scheme is genuinely accessible. The roundabout forms a barrier to cycling locally

·         Increasing the pedestrian demand on the existing shared use path will make it unusable for cyclists with greater conflicts and alternatives should be considered

·         Better cycle parking should be provided including for users of larger bikes/ trailers. It should be relocated to a covered area close to the building. Easily accessible staff cycle parking should be shown on the plans

·         Additional staff cycle parking required

·         Additional disabled parking spaces required

·         The development proposed in isolation or in tandem with residential would represent a significantly higher level of development here than allocated in the local plan

·         It does not appear that the application demonstrates that it will not prejudice the delivery of development on the surrounding land.

·         Concerns regarding the visual impact on view southwards along Wootton Road and from Copenhagen Drive.

·         A contribution towards local infrastructure and facilities should be provided

·         The site should be landscaped with bee friendly plants to lessen the impact of the stark building.

·         More buses from the town centre are required

·         There is no need for this proposal given the other existing stores

·         Existing buildings could be refurbed instead of building a new one

·         No need to build on green space for another supermarket


In addition, a document containing submissions from 35 individuals in response to an online feedback form on Aldi’s website in support of the application has been received.


In addition, 5 responses relating to a Southampton proposal have been erroneously submitted.







P18/V2180/FUL - Withdrawn (29/01/2020)

Development of 61 residential dwellings and associated works including design, access, landscaping and open space. As amended on 1 November 2019.



Pre-application History

P20/V1923/PEJ - Advice provided (27/11/2020)

Proposed new Aldi discount foodstore.

Advice provided that whole site should be masterplanned with retail and housing together, retail sequential and impact assessment, highways, amendments to design, layout and landscaping.


P18/V0524/PEJ - Advice provided (07/09/2018)

Proposed development of 104 dwellings on land west of Wootton Road.  New access from Copenhagen Drive and public open space.

Advice provided on appropriate housing mix, landscape requirements and discussions of constraints including noise and provision of suitable open space.



Screening Opinion requests






The development is less than 1 hectare of urban development that is not dwelling house development. The proposal is not EIA development.





The main issues are:

1.    Principle of development

2.    Retail Sequential Test

3.    Retail Impact Test

4.    Design, Landscape and Visual Impact

5.    Flood risk and drainage

6.    Traffic, parking and highway safety

7.    Archaeology

8.    Biodiversity

9.    Impact on residential amenity

10.  Developer Contributions



The Principle of Development

Section 38 (6) of the Planning Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires applications for planning permission to be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Section 7 (2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provides that the local planning authority shall have regard to the provisions of the development plan, so far as material to the application, and to any other material considerations. The development plan for this proposal currently comprises the adopted Local Plan 2031 Part 1 and the Local Plan 2031 Part 2. There is no neighbourhood plan for Abingdon on Thames.



Other material planning considerations include the National Planning Policy Framework, guidance within the National Planning Practice Guidance and the council’s adopted Design Guide and Developer Contributions supplementary planning documents



Strategic Site Allocation

The proposed site forms part of the North West of Abingdon strategic site that is allocated in the Local Plan 2031 Part 1 (LPP1) for residential use. The North West of Abingdon strategic site is allocated for ‘around 200 dwelling subject to masterplanning’ (Site Development Template, Appendix A of LPP1). Outline permission and reserved matters consent has been granted for 200 dwellings on the area of the allocation to the east of Wootton Road and construction is underway. This application site forms the part of the allocation to the west of Wootton Road.



In accordance with CP4 of LPP1 and the Site Development Template, development on this site should predominantly provide residential uses and therefore this proposal is contrary to this policy.



An application for residential development on the wider part of the allocated site to the west of Wootton Road, encompassing the entire field to the west of Wootton Road was submitted in 2018 (application ref. P18/V2180/FUL). Whilst the application was later withdrawn, during the assessment of the application it was demonstrated that the immediate north-east corner of the site could not accommodate residential development due to excessively high noise levels. As a result, during pre-application discussions for this retail proposal, officers advised that on balance a development of this section of the site for alternative uses, such as retail, could be supported so long as it would not prevent or be detrimental to the deliverability of residential development on the remainder of the allocation. Officers further advised that an application for retail development on this site should come forward as part of a full or hybrid application for a mixed-use scheme to provide certainty that residential development could be provided on the remainder of the allocated site.



This application seeks full planning permission for a retail store only. The applicant states in the Planning Statement that they are not in control of, nor do they have a commercial position on, the remainder of the allocated site west of Wootton Road beyond the application site boundary. Whilst officers wished to see the whole site masterplanned and developed together, the commercial reality means that this is not possible and officers do not consider that the application for the retail store alone could be refused on such a basis.   However it is critical that this application for a retail store does not preclude or is detrimental to the future delivery of residential development of the remainder of the allocation site. Officers consider this matter in further detail below with regards to access, connectivity, and noise levels.



Retail Policy

The settlement hierarchy set out in CP3 of LPP1 identifies Abingdon as a market town within the Abingdon-on-Thames and Oxford Fringe sub-area. Market towns have a range of services and facilities. CP4 states that there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development within the existing built area of market towns.



CP10 identifies a large opportunity site in Abingdon town centre, the Abbey Shopping Centre and Charter Area as being suitable for retail-led development. The first part; improvements to the Abbey Shopping Centre, has been completed. The policy states that any proposals for redevelopment should ensure that the retail element of The Charter is maximised to ensure the vitality and viability of the town centre is maintained and enhanced over the plan period.



CP32 of LPP1 has a town centre first approach and will only support retail development that is on the edge or outside a town centre location if it is demonstrated that the proposal satisfies a sequential test to site selection and, where the proposal is greater than 1000sqm (in this location) an impact assessment confirms that there are no likely significant adverse impacts on the vitality and viability of nearby centres.



The application site is outside a town centre location and therefore both a retail sequential test and impact test is required to be satisfied.



Retail Sequential Test

Paragraphs 87-89 of the NPPF sets out the sequential approach for main town centre uses. Paragraph 87 states ‘Main town centres uses should be located in town centres, then in edge of centre locations; and only if suitable sites are not available (or expected to become available within a reasonable period) should out of centre sites be considered. When considering what a reasonable period is for this purpose, the scale and complexity of the proposed scheme and of potentially suitable town or edge of centre sites should be taken into account’.



The Planning Practice Guidance at paragraph 011 states that the applicant must demonstrate compliance with the sequential test, the requirements of which must be proportionate and appropriate for the given proposal. Applicants must demonstrate a certain degree of flexibility in terms of location and scale of proposal. Applicants must show that the suitability of more central sites to accommodate the proposal has been considered and demonstrate where there is scope for flexibility in the form of the proposal. The sequential test is passed whereby no suitable sequentially preferable sites are identified to host the proposed development.



A sequential test has been submitted in support of the application and this has been assessed by an independent retail consultant on behalf of the local planning authority.



The retail consultant agrees that concentrating the search for alternative sites on those in Abingdon is appropriate. The applicant has considered the following locations in their assessment of sequentially suitable alternative sites:



-       The Charter Area and Abbey Shopping Centre

-       Cattle Market Car Park, Burgess Close

-       Abbey House, Abbey Close

-       Old Abbey House, Abbey Close

-       BT Telephone Exchange, Stratton Way

-       Upper Reaches Hotel, Thames Street

-       Former Bellingers Site, Ock Street

-       Royal Mail Sorting Office, Ock Street

-       J Sydenhams Builders Merchant, Ock Street

-       Fairacres Retail Park

-       North of Abingdon-on-Thames strategic allocation

-       Dalton Barracks strategic allocation

-       Peachcroft Local Shopping Centre



The consideration of the above sites confirms that they are either unavailable and still in current use, of the wrong size and scale or not situated in a sequentially preferable location.



With regards to Fairacres retail park which is also an out-of-town location, phase 2 of the redevelopment of the retail park is now fully let with no available units. Even if there were available units, whilst the retail park is approximately 500 metres closer to the town centre compared to the application site, it is not considered to be a sequentially superior site. It is not considered that locating the proposed store at the retail park would benefit the town centre through encouragement of linked trips anymore than the application site given that shoppers are unlikely to travel on foot between the two given both are more than a five-minute walk time from the town centre. It is not considered that the retail park is better connected to the town centre in terms of opportunities for linked trips and therefore there would be no benefit of locating the proposed store at the retail park (if a unit were available) over locating it at the application site and there would be no added benefit to the town centre in doing so.



With regards to the Charter Area allocated for retail-led redevelopment, the library, health centre and day care centre are all currently occupied and in current use. There are currently no plans or intentions to bring the site forward for redevelopment and it remains in active use. It is therefore not considered to be available within a reasonable timeframe.



The retail consultant also considered the site of the former Peacocks unit, 22 Bury Street in Abbey Shopping Centre but concluded that this site would be too small to accommodate the proposed development.



Officers accept that there are no sequentially preferable sites that are both available and suitable to accommodate the application proposal and the sequential test is therefore passed.



Retail Impact Test

Policy CP32 of LPP1 sets a local floorspace threshold whereby proposals for retail or other main town centre uses greater than 1000 square metres (in this location) must provide an impact assessment to confirm that there are no likely significant adverse impacts on the vitality and viability of nearby centres as a result of the proposed development.



Paragraph 90 of the NPPF states that an impact assessment should include an assessment of:


a)    The impact of the proposal on any existing, committed and planned public and private investment in a centre or centres in the catchment area of the proposal, and

b)    The impact of the proposal on town centre vitality and viability, including local consumer choice and trade in the town centre and the wider retail catchment (as applicable to the scale and nature of the scheme).



The applicant’s retail impact assessment has also been reviewed by the independent retail consultant on behalf of the council. As a result of the consultant advice received, the applicant has submitted amended retail information in June 2021.



The retail consultant has advised that with regards to the first part of the impact assessment as set out in Paragraph 90 of the NPPF, the proposed development is not likely to have a significant adverse impact upon existing, committed and planned public or private investment in any centre in the catchment area of the proposed site. With regards to the Charter Area there have been no current plans in the public domain and no clear intention to bring the site forward for redevelopment. There is no other known investment in Abingdon town centre.



Turning to the impact on town centre vitality and viability, including local consumer choice and trade in town centre and wider retail catchments, the retail consultant firstly has acknowledged that the comparison goods floorspace associated with the proposed development goods is limited and is satisfied that any impacts arising from the diversion from comparison goods floorspace in defined centres would be very limited.



On the impact on convenience goods, the retail consultant is broadly in agreement with the figures presented by the applicant with regards to trade diversion from the existing Waitrose, Tesco and Lidl stores in Abingdon. As such the retail consultant is satisfied that in-centre impacts arising from the proposed store alone are limited and not of a magnitude that could reasonably be deemed significantly adverse, and it is not considered that the proposal alone would have a significantly adverse impact on the overall vitality and viability of the town centre.



At the time at which the retail consultant was assessing this application another application for a proposed foodstore at Fairacres Retail Park was being considered by the Council (application ref. P21/V0453/FUL). Planning permission has now been granted. If both developments were to be permitted the schemes may have cumulative impact implications in respect of trade diversion from existing convenience facilities within Abingdon. As such the retail consultant recommends that both schemes undertake a cumulative impact assessment considering both proposed schemes on the assumption that both schemes come forward.



The applicant has submitted an amended scenario test to address the above concern regarding cumulative impact. This indicates that when considering the trading of Lidl at Fairacres Retail Park, Unit B at Fairacres Retail Park (recently approved) and this proposal the cumulative impact on Waitrose is expected to be -15% and on other Abingdon shops the cumulative impact is expected to be -2.4%. The total impact on the convenience turnover of Abingdon town centre is expected to be -9.7%. The retail consultant accepts these findings.



The retail consultant advises that the impact on the Waitrose is relatively high and at a level which could be a cause for concern, but the necessary assessment is that of the potential implication of such an impact on the overall vitality and viability of the town centre. Despite this high level of trade diversion, it is not considered likely that the Waitrose store would close due to this proposal. Whilst there may be an element of reduced linked trips between the Waitrose and the wider town centre it is not considered at a level which could result in a significant adverse impact, particularly given the store is performing well against its expected benchmark average and the acknowledgement that overall convenience operators fared well through the pandemic.



Considering the wider trade diversion impact on the total turnover of Abingdon town centre, the retail consultant has provided comments on the nature of Abingdon in that the potential for a shopper to visit the proposed foodstore and still visit the town centre is likely because of the provision of facilities such as a pharmacy, hardware store, opticians, bank, café and restaurants and the Post Office within the town centre. Based upon a health check carried out in October 2021 the town centre appears to be performing well despite the wider implications of the pandemic and is considered a relatively vital and viable centre. Therefore, the proposed development would not have a significant adverse impact on the performance of other existing operators within the town centre and the centre would continue to perform its localised role in meeting day-to-day convenience, comparison, and service needs.



Overall, the proposed development is not considered by your officers to have an impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre to a level that would result in a significant adverse impact to warrant refusal of the application



Design, Landscape and Visual Impact

The NPPF considers the creation of high-quality buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve. Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development, creates better places in which to live and work and helps make development acceptable to communities. CP37 of LPP1 states that proposals for new development will be required to be of a high-quality design that responds positively to the site and surroundings. Proposals are also required to be visually attractive, and the scale, height, density, grain, massing, type, details and materials should be appropriate for the site and surrounding area.



CP44 of LPP1 states that measures should be sought to integrate development into the landscape character of the area and that developments should preserve and promote local distinctiveness and diversity.



Landscape and visual impact

The site comprises part of an agricultural field and has no specific landscape designations. Through the allocation of the site for residential development in the local plan it is considered acceptable for the development of built form in this location. The application site will be viewed in the context of the residential development to the east under construction, and existing residential development to the south. With the A34 in an elevated position to the north the site is viewed as a distinct edge to Abingdon. Of particular importance is retaining the character of Wootton Road as it leaves Abingdon and forming a transition from Abingdon to the more rural, green belt land beyond the A34.



The Site Development template includes the following requirements for development on this site which are of particular relevance to this proposal:


-       Provide appropriate setbacks from all physical barriers along the boundaries of the site

-       Plant a woodland belt and copse along Wootton Road to prevent visual intrusion on views through the A34 bridge in the approach from Wootton

-       Improve tree cover along the A34 boundary to screen the road and mitigate noise

-       Protect and enhance existing boundary features

-       Include appropriate landscape mitigation measures within the design to minimise the visual impact of the development on the green belt.



The building is set back into the site along the western boundary. Clarification has been provided regarding the retaining wall running along the boundary with the A34 embankment to confirm that it will not impact upon the root protection areas of existing trees along this embankment which are important in maintaining visual separation between the A34 and this site. Whilst additional tree cover has not been proposed along the A34 boundary as required by the site template, officers consider that this is acceptable. There is already good tree coverage in the location behind the store. this area will not be publicly accessible and public views will be limited therefore the requirement to screen the road is less important than for residential development as are the requirements for noise mitigation as discussed in detail below.



The existing hedge running along the eastern side of Wootton Road is to be retained except for allowing a new vehicular and pedestrian access. Further planting along this eastern boundary and in the north eastern corner is restricted due to an existing water main and a 10m easement running along the eastern site boundary in which there can be no planting. Additional trees have been incorporated into the north eastern corner and tree planting is incorporated into the car parking area to break up the mass of the area and soften the proposal overall. The retention of the hedge along the eastern boundary is particularly important to retain the character of Wootton Road as one leaves the built-up area of Abingdon and transitions into the more rural green belt land to the north.



Amendments have been made to the landscaping and boundary treatments along the southern boundary following comments from the landscape architect, urban design officer and case officer. The interface of the southern boundary is important to ensure there is integration, connectivity and visual attractiveness between this site and future residential development to the south. A native hedgerow is proposed along the whole length of the southern boundary except allowing for a vehicular access to serve the retained farmland and a pedestrian link which is important for the future connectivity between the retail and future residential development. Post and rail fencing will also be sited along the southern perimeter except in the south western corner in which 1.8 metre close boarded fencing is proposed to secure the back of the store and also provide visual screening from the plant area and a 2.5 metre acoustic fence to screen the delivery area to contain noise in anticipation of future residential development to the south. This fencing will be screened by the native hedging. 




The building is sited along the western boundary, set well within the site. This location, coupled with the landscape measures to break up the car parking to the front of the store as discussed above, assists with retaining the character along Wootton Road.



The building is largely rectangular in shape and is of an ordinary, functional design. It is to be single-storey with a mono-pitch roof sloping to the west. The north-eastern elevation will be predominantly glazed facing the car park. Following discussions with the urban design officer and case officer, amendments to the elevational treatment of the building have been submitted. It is now proposed for the elevations to be built using timber cladding and red brick to match brick types used in the residential development to the east of Wootton Road. These materials are more appropriate to the site’s setting at the edge of the settlement and with the surrounding area being predominantly residential.



In addition, the pole sign has been relocated to just within the vehicular access rather than in the north eastern corner where it served little purpose.



Overall officers are satisfied that the proposed development is appropriate to its setting and local character, it is set back from the important Wootton Road character, the amended elevational treatment helps to integrate the functional building into its setting, assisted with landscaping proposals to soften the scheme, enhance existing boundaries where possible and provide suitable integration with the future residential development to the south.



Flood Risk and drainage

A Drainage Assessment has been submitted in support of the application and indicates that the site is at a low risk of flooding from all sources.



The drainage strategy proposes an attenuation type arrangement with discharge to a watercourse that is to be diverted running through the neighbouring development. At this time permission for this development to discharge into this watercourse has not been confirmed, the drainage engineer is content however that details of such an agreement, along with further details of the surface water drainage strategy can be provided by condition. In addition, the drainage engineer has recommended that a condition be attached requiring further details of how sustainable drainage measures for water quality improvement have been incorporated into the strategy.



In addition, the drainage layout has been amended to avoid the need to remove a Chestnut tree on the eastern side of Wootton Road and part of the retained hedge on the eastern boundary of the application site. As a result the forestry officer has no objections to the proposed development.



Thames Water have not raised any objections with regards to surface, foul and ground water or with regards to the water network.



Traffic, parking and highway safety

The application is supported by a Transport Assessment (TA). The highway authority has reviewed all of the information submitted and following receipt of amended plans raise no objections on highway grounds, subject to conditions.



Traffic impact

Having reviewed the traffic data submitted the highway authority is satisfied that the traffic generated from this proposed retail development will not have a severe impact on the capacity of the surrounding roads and the Wootton Road roundabout.




The proposed main access is located in the south eastern corner of the application site formed with a right turn lane on Wootton Road. Pedestrian access is also provided into the site in this location, as well as an additional pedestrian access into the site further north along Wootton Road.



Following receipt of amended plans the access has been designed to give priority to users of the existing cycle path along Wootton Road with give way markings to be installed for vehicles at the access. The priority to cyclists will help to encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport as supported by CP35 of LPP1.



The existing shared cycle/footway along Wootton Road measures 2.7 metres in width which is marginally below the 3.0 metre width normally required by Oxfordshire Cycle Design Standards. To achieve the additional 0.3 metres width on the cycle path would result in the loss of the existing hedgerow. A Thames Water easement prevents any planting in the area running behind the existing hedgerow meaning that it would not be possible to replace the hedgerow further back within the site. As discussed above officers consider the retention of the existing hedgerow is very important to the visual amenity of the proposed development and the character of Wootton Road in providing a transition from the built form of Abingdon to the more rural, green belt land to the north. Whilst officers acknowledge the importance of providing adequate infrastructure to encourage a modal shift to sustainable modes of transport, on balance the retention of the existing hedgerow is of such importance to negate securing an additional 0.3 metres width on the existing cycle path. The highway authority has advised that an objection on this matter could not be sustained and would not be defended at an appeal.



A Toucan crossing is proposed to be installed across Wootton Road, this will be secured by a S106 agreement. In addition OCC have requested contributions towards travel plan monitoring and towards public transport, namely to be used towards improved bus stop facilities along part of Wootton Road to the south of the adjacent roundabout and/or Dunmore Road in the vicinity of the site and/ or to contribute towards the operation of associated bus services.  



Relocated field access

Following receipt of amended plans, a field access to serve the remaining farmland to the south of the site is proposed to be installed within the site along the southern boundary. The highway authority raises no objections to the location of this access.



Access to future residential development to the south

As residential development to the south does not form part of this application, access requirements for it cannot be fully assessed however the highway authority have indicated that an access to serve such a development from Copenhagen Drive would be acceptable in principle, subject to a formal assessment in relation to location, design, layout and capacity. This means that such a development could be served from an alternative access and the arrangement of the existing access to serve the retail store does not preclude such a development coming forward.



Car parking

118 car parking spaces are proposed to be provided including 7 parent and child spaces and 5 disabled spaces to DDA standards. The highway authority has confirmed this is a suitable level of provision.



Cycle parking

Whilst some details of cycle parking for both staff and customers have been provided this is not acceptable to the highway authority. The highway authority wishes to see 16 cycle parking spaces for customers to be provided at the front of the store for maximum security and 4 cycle parking spaces for staff. The submission of details for this can be required by condition.



The proposed site plan indicates that four electric vehicle charging units will be provided. This will be secured by condition.




The County Archaeologist has advised that the archaeological evaluation undertaken has recorded only a small number of archaeological features in the form of two prehistoric ditches. As such no further archaeological investigation is required.




The application is supported by an ecological appraisal and a biodiversity net gain assessment. The countryside officer notes that the habitats on site are not considered to be a constraint to development and impacts on protected species are unlikely.



Following concerns raised by the countryside officer an amended biodiversity metric assessment has been submitted along with a phase 1 habitat plan of the site. In addition, a hedgerow along the southern boundary has been included in the landscaping plans. As such the countryside officer has concluded that while development of the site will lead to an overall net loss of biodiversity, this can be compensated for through biodiversity offsetting by condition to comply with CP46 of LPP1.



Impact on residential amenity

The nearest residential properties to the application site will be those currently under construction to the east of Wootton Road. It is also of importance to consider the impact of the proposed development on future residential development on the remainder of the application site to ensure that any noise generated by the proposed development will not increase noise levels on an already constrained site due to the proximity of the A34, Wootton Road and Copenhagen Drive.



The proposed building will of course be visible to adjacent residential properties but officers do not consider that there will be a detrimental impact upon residential amenity in terms of loss of privacy, daylight or sunlight or from visual intrusion.



Light pollution

Whilst some lighting information has been provided in support of the application, there are conflicts between the proposed lighting and the proposed tree planting and the lighting plan has not been updated to reflect the most recent amendments to the layout and landscaping. As such a condition should be secured requiring details of external lighting to be provided to ensure it is appropriate in both design and light levels to the site’s setting and adjacent users to accord with DP21 of LPP2.



Noise pollution

A noise assessment has been submitted in support of the application and this has been updated following comments raised by the environmental health officer with regards to the appropriate target levels for mechanical plant in considering the future residential development south of the application site. The environmental health officer raises no objections and officers consider that with the noise levels appropriately restricted by condition and the acoustic fencing proposed to contain noise form the delivery area, the noise levels emitted from the plant will not be of a level that would exacerbate noise levels for future residential development to the south and the future design of this site to mitigate existing noise constraints.



The noise assessment concludes that noise from vehicle movements associated with the use of the car park would not exceed existing ambient noise levels, therefore acoustic screening along the southern boundary is not required as mitigation for future residential development to the south. The environmental health officer is satisfied with the proposed 1.2 metre boundary treatment in this location which provides the most appropriate boundary treatment from a visual amenity perspective.



Officers are satisfied that the proposed development will not have a significant adverse impact on residential amenity in terms of noise for existing dwellings and it will not exacerbate existing noise constraints for future residential development that would preclude such development coming forward.



Developer Contributions


The NPPF advises that planning obligations should only be sought where they meet all of the following tests in paragraph 204:

                     I.        Necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;

                    II.        Directly related to the development; and

                   III.        Fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.



Policy CP7 of LPP1 provides that development will only be permitted where the necessary physical infrastructure and service requirements to support the development can be secured.



The following developer contributions are considered fair and proportionate and should be secured though a S106 agreement with Oxfordshire County Council:


Oxfordshire County Council

Amount (£)

Travel plan monitoring

£1,426.00 (index linked)

Provision of pedestrian and cycle crossing (TOUCAN)

Direct delivery

Towards improvements to public transport services and/or facilities

£30,000 (index linked)


DP20 of LPP2 requires all major development sites to provide public art that makes a significant contribution towards the appearance of the scheme or the character of the area or which benefits the local community. The applicant has had initial discussions with the Council’s Arts Officer who is supportive of public art being delivered on site either being incorporated into the elevations of the buildings or within the grounds of the site to have the highest public impact. As such officers consider it appropriate for the provision of on-site public art to be secured by way of a condition requiring a detailed public art statement to be submitted rather than being secured in a S106.



Community Infrastructure Levy

A new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule has been adopted and implemented from 1 November 2021.



CIL is a levy charged on new development in the district; the money raised will be used to fund infrastructure and support growth. In general, off-site mitigation would be sought via CIL and on-site elements and direct mitigation elements would still be sought via a S106 agreement and as such are listed in the table above.



The CIL charging schedule identifies that supermarket development will be charged at a rate of £117 per square metre of floorspace (index linked as of November 2021). CIL will be charged for the 1,842 square metres gross internal floorspace proposed with a total of £215,514 (index linked as of November 2021).






Section 38 (6) of the Planning Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.



The site forms part of a site allocated for residential development in LPP1, however it has been demonstrated in a previously withdrawn scheme that the north eastern corner of the allocation, i.e. this application site is unsuitable for residential development due to excessively high noise levels. Due to landowner and commercial interest issues, a mixed-use scheme across the remainder of the allocated site west of Wootton Road has not been submitted and officers do not consider that this application for a retail store alone could be refused because it has not been submitted as part of a mixed-use scheme.



A pedestrian connection point is proposed on the southern boundary to provide connectivity between this site and the adjacent site to ensure connectivity should residential development come forward to the south. In addition, an appropriate boundary of a mixed-use hedge with post and rail fencing is proposed along the majority of the southern boundary which is appropriate to the agricultural nature of the remaining land as existing but would also be appropriate should residential development come forward. Visual screening to the plant area of the building and acoustic screening to the delivery area is proposed to ensure this development will not detrimentally affect future residential development. OCC have also confirmed that a residential development could be served from a separate vehicular access point off Copenhagen Drive. Officers are satisfied that the proposed development will not preclude and is not detrimental to the delivery of residential development on the remainder of the allocated site.



Officers consider that the proposed development will not have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Abingdon town centre and there are no sequentially preferable alternative sites. The development will not impact upon highway safety and the development encourages a modal shift towards sustainable modes of transport. Overall, the development complies with the development plan and the provisions of the NPPF.




The following planning policies have been taken into account:


CP01  -  Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development

CP03  -  Settlement Hierarchy

CP06  -  Meeting Business and Employment Needs

CP07  -  Providing Supporting Infrastructure and Services

CP08  -  Spatial Strategy for Abingdon-on-Thames and Oxford Fringe Sub-Area

CP10  -  Abbey Shopping Centre and the Charter, Abingdon-on-Thames

CP32  -  Retail Development and other Main Town Centre Uses

CP33  -  Promoting Sustainable Transport and Accessibility

CP34  -  A34 Strategy

CP35  -  Promoting Public Transport, Cycling and Walking

CP37  -  Design and Local Distinctiveness

CP38  -  Design Strategies for Strategic and Major Development Sites

CP40  -  Sustainable Design and Construction

CP42  -  Flood Risk

CP44  -  Landscape

CP46  -  Conservation and Improvement of Biodiversity


DP11  -  Community Employment Plans

DP16  -  Access

DP17  -  Transport Assessments and Travel Plans

DP20  -  Public Art

DP21  -  External Lighting

DP23  -  Impact of Development on Amenity

DP24  -  Effect of Neighbouring or Previous Uses on New Developments

DP25  -  Noise Pollution

DP26  -  Air Quality

DP27  -  Land Affected by Contamination

DP28  -  Waste Collection and Recycling




Abingdon does not currently have a Neighbourhood Plan






















Author: Penny Silverwood


Tel: 01235 422600