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Old Sarum Airfield

15/04004/OUT – OUTLINE PLANNING APPLICATION FOR 480 HOUSES AT OLD SARUM AIRFIELD

The Salisbury Civic Society wishes to register a strong objection to the current proposal.

1. Impact on Conservation Area & setting of Old Sarum

The historic airfield would be squeezed to an unacceptable extent by this proposal & it would lose both its unique character & identity. Furthermore, it would lose the important role of forming part of the strategic gap & green buffer zone between the northern edges of Salisbury & the new satellite settlement of Old Sarum. This is particularly important in this open landscape which forms the approach or gateway to the city of Salisbury from the north & east, & makes a very important contribution to the impressive setting of the ancient monument of Old Sarum from these directions.  Furthermore, the scale of development would have an adverse visual impact on views from Old Sarum, & into & out of the Conservation Area. In addition, there would be an adverse impact on the rural character of Green Lane to the north of Manor Farm Road & on the area to the west of the property known as ‘Green Acres’ on the Ford road.

The scale of development would need to be significantly modified in order to redress the balance of development with important open space whilst maintaining significant views. In Area A the current building line fronting onto the airfield is considered to be the acceptable limit of development. In Area C the northern limit of development along Green Lane should be the Manor Farm buildings complex; & the western limit of development along the Ford road should be the western boundary of ‘Green Acres’.

 

2. Layout & Design

The development master plan identified as necessary in the Core Strategy is required to deliver a high quality development that enhances the historic environment & protects the amenity of existing residents. However, the layout of majority of the development is very banal any-place suburban & is hardly appropriate here in this special historic environment. Residential hangars are shown along the existing development frontage. This approach would hide/screen the existing buildings & the distinctive ‘clutter’ of a working airfield & is not considered enhancement & would encroach onto the airfield itself & detract from the qualities of this historic site.

Whilst the sketch elevations in this outline proposal includes some potentially interesting sketch designs for the living hangars where residents could park their own plane, the majority of the development proposals are again very banal suburban in style when there are clearly opportunities for a much more innovative approach that would complement the surrounding historic environment, & in line with the NPPF, help raise the standard of design more generally in the area.   Old Sarum airfield site plan

3. Landscape & Planting

The Core Strategy requires a ‘high quality strategic landscape improvement to mitigate the visual impact on the Conservation Area & Old Sarum’.  It is difficult to see what is ‘high quality’ or ‘strategic’ about the planting proposals as they stand since they are not dissimilar to schemes in nearby existing housing areas at Old Sarum. The proposed planting would offer some screening effect in due course & assist with integration; there is also an acknowledgement of the Roman road in the layout, but there appears to be nothing that marks it out as a special or imaginative landscape solution that picks up on the open & spacious qualities of this unique landscape & the important views both out of & into the Conservation Area.

Furthermore, there is no indication that any consideration has been given to identifying off site planting opportunities in order to overcome the issues of visual impact, impact on local amenities including noise, & impact on the historic character of the airfield itself in a way that is appropriate & will make a positive contribution to the character & quality of this area.

4. Impact on Local Amenities

The Civic Society also has concerns about the impact of this very substantial proposal on the new satellite settlement of Old Sarum in terms of the way it functions. Old Sarum has evolved into a significant settlement which is still expanding with outstanding planning permissions for housing at Longhedge, but without an overall plan. Rather than enhancing the historic environment & protecting the amenity of existing residents as required by the Core Strategy, spreading out the development in the way proposed means that future residents will be very dependent on their cars because it is harder to connect with existing service provision such as shops, schools & the Park & Ride facility. This is not achieving sustainable development in line with NPPF & would generally have a negative impact on local people’s quality of life & on amenities in the local community.

The scale of development would also have an unacceptable impact on the local road infrastructure in the area & on traffic & air quality particularly in Castle Road.  There is a danger that the increase in housing close to the airfield could lead to an increase in noise & safety considerations which could lead to pressures for more restrictions on its use & ultimately the closure of the airfield.

5. Other Points

It is important to find ways to ensure the windfall gain from any housing development is guaranteed to secure the future of the airfield, its historic hangers & appropriate enhancement of the Conservation Area.

Nicola Lipscombe CMLI & Les Lipscombe CMLI on behalf of Salisbury Civic Society

7 September 2015