North Hinksey Parish Council and the Planning System

Visit the Vale's site for a current list of Planning applications in the Parish.  

Links to related pages:

Latest news:

West Way redevelopment update

March 2018 update - Mace's latest newsletter can be found on their consultation website and you can also download  a copy here

Mace held a Community Liaison Group meeting on 18th December. PC members attended. The draft minutes can be found on Mace's consultation website. They include the latest timeline as follows:

1) Phase 1 could be completed by November 2020.

2) Part of the retail section could be finished at the end of 2019 / 2020.

3) The student accommodation could be completed in September 2020.

4) The hotel could be completed in November 2020.

5) Phase 2 would be finished towards the end of 2021 according to those timeframes

Mace's online leaflet outlining the phasing of the redevelopment including the temporary relocation of Seacourt Hall, Coop, Tesco, Lloyds chemist and the Baptist Church and the subsequent phases of the redevelopment. Copies of this leaflet are in the Library, displayed on Parish noticeboards and in Seacourt Hall. You can also download a copy from Mace's consultation website. The application for temporary change of use for the Elms Court and Grant Thornton buildings was approved by the Vale Planning Committee on 4th October with conditions and you can view the decision notice here. We expect the sale of the site from the Vale to Mace to complete early in the New Year. 

Consultation on moving the mobile network radio station from West Way House to Macdonalds ahead of demolition of West Way House. See details and drawings. Submit comments to  

West Way Shopping Centre redevelopment  

April 2017 update - now superceded - see Mace's consultation website for the latest information. Currently demolition will start no earlier than 1st October 2017.

West Way Planning Application 2016 - this was approved in June 2016 

Previous application: 

West Way Planning Application (2014 Doric Proposals) 

West Way Redevelopment (2014 Doric proposals)


Role of the Parish Council 
NHPC Planning Procedures 
Does NHPC make a difference on planning issues? 
What Issues Can NHPC Take Into Account When Considering An Application? 
Sources of Further Information

Planning Material and Non-Material Considerations

Role of the Parish Council
NHPC has a statutory right to be consulted on planning applications made for land and property within the parish boundary. By convention the Council is also asked to comment on minor applications occurring in other local authority areas near the boundary, or major ones which would affect the Parish because of the size of the possible consequences; perhaps due to the amount of traffic they might create or if they might affect an important view.


In addition to Planning Applications, there are also Applications for Advertisement Consent and for Listed Building or Conservation Consent. The Parish Council is also consulted on the proposed lopping or felling trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order or in a Conservation Area.

NHPC does not have the power to grant or refuse permission. This is the role and responsibility of the Planning Authority – in the case of North Hinksey, for most planning applications this is the Vale of White Horse District Council. NHPC can though, like individuals, businesses, or institutions, register an objection to an application, which the Planning Authority must then consider – along with any other objections - when determining whether to grant or refuse permission. In many cases the Parish Council raises no objections.           Back to top

NHPC Planning Procedures
The Council considers planning applications through its Planning Committee, which generally meets every three weeks through the year, although special arrangements apply in August. The Vale normally allows up to 21 days for comments to arise, but on occasion the response needs to be returned very quickly in order to be included.Seven of the 14 Parish Councillors currently serve on the Planning Committee, which is chaired by Councillor Andrew Pritchard.

Upon receipt of notification from the Vale of planning applications in the parish, the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Councillor A. Pritchard normally visits the site and seeks to contact near-neighbours to identify whether they have any concerns about the proposals ahead of the NHPC Planning Committee considering the application.

The dates of Planning Committee meetings are available on the website under ‘Council/Events Diary’ and business is reported under ‘Agendas/Minutes’. The public is normally welcome to attend these meetings. Applicants or concerned neighbours can request in advance of the meeting to make a short statement to the Committee to inform its deliberations.

In order for the Council to reach a balanced and objective view, members of the planning committee are required to ‘declare a personal interest’, for example if they, or their immediate families would be particularly advantaged or disadvantaged by a proposal (or might be thought by a member of the public to be affected). Similarly, if a councillor would not be personally affected, but in some way could be seen as favouring or not favouring a proposal for reasons other than proper planning considerations then he or she will declare a ‘prejudicial interest’. Typically councillors declare an interest if an application affects a property which is very close to properties they own, or if they belong to an organisation which would be affected by an application. Once a councillor has declared an interest he or she will not speak or vote in respect of the application and may leave the room for the period of the discussion.         Back to top 

Does NHPC make a difference on planning issues?
Although NHPC does not ‘determine’ planning applications there are a number of ways in which the Council influences planning issues:-
1. Most councillors on the planning committee have received training on the planning system and have built up a number of years of experienceand local knowledge. This means they are able to develop arguments for or against proposals which are likely to be acceptable within the planning process and so have greater impact.

2. As the Council has records about past planning decisions and councillors are aware of what is happening ‘on the ground’ either from their own observations or following reports from members of the public they are often able to advise the Vale when developments have not been constructed in accordance with the planning permission granted, or are not being used in accordance with conditions made at the time of permission being granted.

3.Some planning applications - typically those which are not judged to be controversial - are determined by the Vale’s Planning Officers. Those which are more controversial are considered by those elected district councillors who sit on the Vale’s Planning Committee. If the Parish Council makes a valid objection to an application, it will normally be sufficient justification for the application to be sent to the Planning Committee.

Whether or not the Parish Council decides to object to or comment on an application, then members of the public may of course choose to register their own objections with the Vale. If the objection or comment concerns an application in North Hinksey or Botley it would be useful if a copy is sent to NHPC.           Back to top 

What Issues Can NHPC Take Into Account When Considering An Application?
NHPC’s objections to or comments on an application will only be considered by the planning authority if they refer to material planning considerations. For example, overbearing or overshadowing effects on a neighbouring property would be valid considerations, but concerns about which kinds of people might live in a property in the future would not be.

Generally, for an argument to be a material consideration it will need to be supported by supported by national guidance and policies laid down in the Vale of White Horse District Council’s statutory planning documents. The most important of these is the Local Plan (which is in the process of being replaced by the Local Development Framework). This can be found here

The Local Plan sets out a strategic plan for the district, for example indicating which areas are most appropriate for new residential development.

More specific issues are covered by Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG), including:
How much parking is normally expected and allowed in new developments,
Acceptable approaches to the design of residential extensions.
Flooding risk in the Vale.

SPGs also cover the approach to the development or redevelopment of specific areas which raise significant overall planning issues. In the case of North Hinksey an SPG currently covers the Curtis Industrial Estate and Hinksey Business Centre and a further Supplementarey Planning Document covering Botley Centre (the shopping precinct surrounding Elms Parade) was adopted in 2016. In Cumnor Parish two SPGs cover the redevelopment of the Timbmet site and adjacent land.

Where applications are in line with the policies in these planning documents they are more likely to be approved. Where they contradict those policies they should normally be refused.

National planning policies are also of relevance for judging local planning applications. The Vale-specific documents should normally reflect national policy but on occasion it may be relevant to refer to them. Planning Policy Statements (and the older Planning Policy Guidance notes) cover issues such as the preferred density of housing developments (PPS3 Housing) and how to design communities to reduce reliance on the car (PPG13 Transport).  This can be found on here

Another PPG of particular relevance to North Hinksey is No 2, which covers Green Belts, as the parish is flanked by green belt to the south and north.

Lastly, North Hinksey Parish Council supported the development of a ‘Parish Plan’ for North Hinksey in 2009, and subsequently the development of a Neighbourhood Plan which is still currently in production. Ultimately the Neighbourhood Plan, when adopted, will form part of the planning legislation for this Parish and the Vale and developers will need to take it into consideration when planning applications are submitted for this area.       Back to top

Sources of Further Information
Whether you are considering making a planning application, are concerned about a planning proposal, or would simply like to understand more about how the planning or ‘development control’ system works, the following links will hopefully prove useful sources of information and advice.

The Vale provides a range of advice on how to apply for planning permission and how to find out about applications that others have made. A full database of applications is available online here.

The government department responsible for national planning and development control policy is ‘Communities and Local Government’ (CLG). click here to see

In addition, CLG provides the ‘Planning Portal’ which is the Government's online resource for planning and building regulations. This site provides information about planning and building regulations and how to apply for planning permission. It also considers how to find out about proposed developments and appeal against planning decisions which you believe have been incorrectly determined. click here to view 

A number of independent organisations also offer advice on planning issues, including Planning Aid, which provides independent advice and support to communities and individuals who cannot afford to pay consultants. For Planning Aid click here.

Planning Aid’s ‘Planning Pack’ offers a range of summary information sheets on planning issues to assist people with limited experience of the system. click here to view.

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