Monday, 11 December 2017

Demolition of cottages branded ‘almost criminal’

THE demolition of two cottages in Ewelme to create a five-bedroom house has been dubbed “almost criminal”.

THE demolition of two cottages in Ewelme to create a five-bedroom house has been dubbed “almost criminal”.

South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee has granted permission for the properties in Cottesmore Lane to be knocked down despite concerns about the shortage of affordable housing in the village.

The cottages were designed by the British designer David Hicks and match a similar house on the other side of the B4009.

Councillor Roger Bell said: “There is a desperate shortage of housing all over the district. These are not in the affordable category but they are three-bedroom properties which are very much in demand and it’s almost criminal for somebody to knock them down to build a great big place.”

Councillor Jeni Wood said: “It goes against the grain that you would take down anything that is very habitable, charming, has a good outlook and is a family home.” Parish councillor David Pryce-Jones said: “Ewelme has a shortage of modest-sized affordable homes as identified by our recent housing survey where seven potential new households are seeking affordable homes in the village.

“Only two modest-sized homes have been built in the village in the last 20 years and then only in conjunction with two four- to five-bedroom homes.

“We have two perfectly serviceable three-bedroom homes which, while not necessarily affordable by the income-cost definition, are nevertheless an essential part of the housing mix to meet demand.” But Councillor Felix Bloomfield, who represents Benson on the district council, said: “These dwellings are not listed, have no great visual amenity or architectural interest and have only been on the site since 1977.

“I believe this proposal will sit well in the existing landscape and can easily be compared with similar dwellings in the surrounding area.”

Councillor Mike Welply said he was excited by the application and suggested the new property would enhance the village.

Councillor John Cotton said: “We would be wrong to stand in the way of somebody who owns two properties and wants to do something with the site.”

Gabriella Brown, planning officer for the district council, said: “Officers consider that the design of the dwelling and outbuilding and the proposed construction materials are sympathetic to, and in keeping with, the local vernacular. It is also considered that the development would be sympathetic to the neighbouring listed buildings and would not result in an unacceptable loss of vegetation or wildlife.”

The committee voted to grant planning permission by 10 votes to two.

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