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Threats to the Lye Valley

Storm water

The surface water from at least 46 roads drains into the Thames Water diameter outfall pipes entering the Lye Brook at the head of the valley.

How you can help the Lye Valley rare wetland if you live in Headington::

Churchill Hospital: new Clinical Biomanufacturing facility

In September 2023 the University of Oxford submitted a planning application for “Erection of a modular manufacturing building (Use Class E). Extension to service road. Installation of generator with palisade fencing, electrical transformer, vehicle barriers, bollards and lampposts. Provision of car and cycle parking, loading area, fencing and landscaping”

This development is only 82m from the Lye Valley SSSI's fen’s high level west side springs, and the Friends of Lye Valley have objected mainly on the grounds of the lack of detailed information on important points:

1. Full details are needed of the type and locations (and maintenance) of the infiltration SUDS system to be used to re-assure us that there will be no damaging future effects on the hydrology and water chemistry of the springs supplying the nearby western slopes of Lye Valley SSSI alkaline fen, only 82m away.

2. Additionally we would like full details of any foundations to reassure us that there will be no intrusion into the complicated natural geology of sands and hard limestone layers, and thus no damage to the special perched aquifer that exists on the western side of the valley and feeds high level spring/seepage zones in the fen.

3. Details of the heat pump types to be used in the development are needed. Ground-source or water-source heat pumps are not acceptable due to potential damage to the complicated natural geology of perched aquifer in the Beckley Sands which supplies spring water to the west side SSSI fen.

4. Details of sewerage system changes are needed to assure us there will be no increase in volume of sewage directed to sewers that run through the SSSI North fen and South fen units of the SSSI.

5. Details of paving and access road surfacing are needed to re-assure us these will be fully permeable with annual maintenance schedules to ensure rainfall penetration to the aquifer.

6. We would like to know if reptiles have already been translocated away from the proposed development site before this application is agreed and if so how many lizards?

7. We would like to know what measures are to be taken to reduce light pollution to the dark zone of Lye Valley for glow-worms, moths and bats.

8. The only parking we would be happy to see on site would be that for delivery and emergency vehicles.

Land west of 75 Town Furze: planning application pending

A third planning application has been submitted for this land, which is directly above the Lye Valley South Fen. It has been “awaiting decision” since October 2022:

Dynham Place development: approved

This planning application for the “erection of 2 x three-bed semi-detached dwellinghouses (Use Class C3). Provision of bin and cycle storage and alterations to landscaping” was approved on 20 July 2021

Warren Meadow development: approved

This application to build ten three-bedroomed houses on the land to the east of Warren Crescent directly above the Lye Valley was approved on 30 March 2016, and building work started on Monday 24 September 2019 (the day the last planning application relating to conditions imposed by that permission was approved).

Local Transport Plan for Headington

The consultation by Oxfordshire County Council on its “Connecting Oxfordshire: Local Transport Plan 2015–2031” closed on 2 April 2015.

This plan included new hospital routes for the “eastern arc” (from Cowley to Headington), and this more detailed drawing showed a road running along Lye Valley road in a northwards direction and then across the Lye Brook. Judy Webb believes that this would be a disaster for wildlife in the Lye Valley.


Friends of Lye Valley, 2013–2022