Saturday, 21 October 2017

Council reveals preferred locations for 152 new homes around village

UP to six sites have been proposed for possible development in Sonning Common.

UP to six sites have been proposed for possible development in Sonning Common.

A list of 14 potential sites was drawn up by South Oxfordshire District Council to accommodate 152 homes due to be built in the village by 2027.

Now the parish council has recommended five sites to be included in the next stage of the village’s neighbourhood plan, one of them as a potential recreation area.

Three other locations, including one which would be considered for recreational use only, could also be included in the plan.

The recommendations follow consultation carried out by the neighbourhood plan working group and more public feedback will be collected before design statements are produced.

Councillor Barrie Greenwood, who chairs the group, said: “The feedback, in a sense, was very positive and there wasn’t any shouting or outrage when we said a site was being considered for future development.

“There will be people who will not want development to take place for a variety of reasons but our feeling was the vast majority of residents understood the complexities of the issues and were very positive.

“We will now be looking at details of the layout of the sites we have put forward and ways we can ensure that surrounding residents are cared for to the maximum of what we’re able to do.”

Two weeks ago, about 170 residents attended two-hour presentations at the village hall. Members of the working group showed them what work had been carried out and their recommendations before asking for further feedback.

After filtering the recommended sites, the group will concentrate on providing more details on each one, including the number of houses and other buildings that could be built there.

Cllr Greenwood said the group was keen to recommend a plot of land north-west of Orchard Avenue, named SON 1, for use as an open amenity space.

The idea would be to develop it as grassed recreational land that would not be used by organised sports teams or include formal pitches.

The working group believes it would provide the north of the village with the kind of open space that the Millennium Green offers the south.

However, it also says the site could be used for access if a neighbouring site was used for housing.

Cllr Greenwood said: “We’re not just looking for land for housing allocations but also for office buildings, recreation, open space amenities and leisure. Some sites have multiple uses.

“In all these cases the attention could well be on a variety of different uses. The design stage will make specific proposals on each site for consideration.”

Other sites recommended for development by the working group include two fields south of SON 1 which are also part of Bishopswood Farm and two plots south of the Herb Farm.

Sites that could be recommended for development include part of land next to Rudgings Plantation and land next to Reddish Manor.

A plot next to Thames Valley Gymnastics Club could be used as recreational space.

One of the locations on the original list that has been excluded is SON 13, which is in Peppard parish and has been withdrawn by the landowner. Peppard councillors are keen to work with their counterparts in Sonning Common but in a reduced role.

They have agreed that Peppard should not be included in the neighbourhood plan area but part of the village would be included in the consultation process. If Sonning Common Parish Council accepts the terms, Peppard residents will be given a say.

Peppard parish councillor Clive Mills said there was a risk that the Sonning Common neighbourhood plan would fail if Peppard was not included in the consultation process.

He said: “While SON 13 is an area in our parish, having seen the amount of work Sonning Common has done in assessing that piece of land and the proposal it has come up with, I see absolutely no point in us keeping it within our parish boundary.”

Councillor Tony Cotton said: “There is very little downside in being part of a referendum. We would be criticised if we didn’t put our electorate in the consultation area.”

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