Wednesday, 18 July 2018

£500,000 from sale of council land to be reinvested in village

SONNING Common Parish Council has made almost £500,000 from the sale of a piece of land

SONNING Common Parish Council has made almost £500,000 from the sale of a piece of land for housing.

The 0.18-hectare plot on the corner of Brinds Close and Wood Lane was sold to a property developer.

The money will be put towards capital projects in the parish — £300,000 to the creation of a recreation space at a field at Bishopswood Farm, £100,000 to the village centre and the remaining £100,000 to other projects.

The recreation ground fund is subject to the council reaching an agreement with Bishopswood Farm owner Patricia Pelly, who has made a joint application with Linden Homes to build 50 homes on a neighbouring field.

The housing development would be in line with the Sonning Common neighbourhood plan, which names sites for 193 homes to be built by 2027 in order to meet government targets. The plan, which was the subject of a referendum yesterday (Thursday) also sets out details of the recreation space.

It says there should be sports pitches, a community hall and at least 60 parking spaces with access at the south-west corner of the site, via Reades Lane.

Diana Pearman, a member of the neighbourhood plan working party who chairs a group working on the project, said: “At this stage we have only had one meeting and it was looking into operating it as a community trust that would be a charity.

“We need to decide how the recreation ground is going to be used. The cost of the project will depend on what we decide to do.”

The neighbourhood plan also proposes that 37 homes are built on land currently used by Chiltern Edge School as a playing field with some of the money made from the sale of the land being reinvested in sports facilities at the school.

The council, the school and the trustees of Kidmore End Memorial Hall are all represented on the working party and Mrs Pearman said they would work together to make sure the facilities at the Bishopswood recreation space did not duplicate the new sports facilities at the school.

She said: “It will give the school the opportunity to improve its infrastructure and one of those things will be improvements to the sports hall.

“We need to try to marry the two so there is no duplication across the sites but at this moment we are still at the beginnning. It’s very complex.”

The working party will also consult with residents, schools, sports clubs and other voluntary organisations. Councillor Leigh Rawlins, who is vice-chairman of the working party, said the layout of the Bishopswood recreation space had been broadly agreed.

“The idea is to try to secure the land so we can get on with it,” he added. “If we work together on match-funding we will be a powerful force.”

The working party will apply for grants from South Oxfordshire District Council and organisations such as Sport England to help fund the project.

Additional funds could come from community infrastructure levy payments made by developers.

The levy helps mitigate the effects of development by helping to fund infrastructure including leisure facilities.

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