Monday, 11 December 2017

Third consultation on district's housing plan

A THIRD consultation on proposals to increase the Henley area’s housebuilding targets is under way.

A THIRD consultation on proposals to increase the Henley area’s housebuilding targets is under way.

South Oxfordshire District Council is seeking residents’ views on its new draft local plan, which will decide how many new homes are required to meet Government targets by 2032.

Its “preferred option” is to raise the allocation at Thame, Wallingford and 12 “larger villages” including Goring, Sonning Common, Benson, Watlington, Woodcote and Nettlebed while leaving Henley untouched.

The planning authority says the town, which must take at least 400 dwellings by 2027 under the existing local plan, has no more room because it falls between the River Thames and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has limited space on its medieval roads. Its neighbourhood plan has named 11 sites for about 500 homes and the council says this is enough.

Instead, it says the larger villages should increase by about 10 per cent of the number of households they had in 2011. This could see Goring’s total rise from 105 to 265, Sonning Common’s from 138 to 348, Benson’s from 125 to 315, Watlington’s from 79 to 199, Woodcote’s from 73 to 184 and Nettlebed’s from 20 to 50. 



However, this could be reduced if there are valid planning reasons why these cannot be accommodated. Instead of imposing quotas, the district council will encourage villages to write neighbourhood plans and only step in if these fail. Other measures include concentrating development in the so-called “science vale” near Didcot. The council has been forced to write a new local plan after a Government-backed report, published in 2014, said its quota of 11,487 houses by 2027 was too low. It said up to 16,500 homes were needed in the next 15 years.

A drop-in exhibition will be held at the d:two centre in Market Place, Henley, between 11am and 3pm next Saturday.

A similar event will take place at Woodcote village hall between 3pm and 7pm two days before that.

A detailed booklet outlining the proposal in full may be viewed at any of the district’s libraries, at the council’s offices in Milton or on its website.

For more information, visit www.southoxon.gov.uk



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