Sunday, 22 October 2017

Controversial housing plan passed by appeal inspector

PLANS to build three homes in the garden of a house in Peppard have been approved following an appeal.

PLANS to build three homes in the garden of a house in Peppard have been approved following an appeal.

Palama Properties will build two four- or five-bedroom homes and one three- or four-bedroom home at Mulberry House in Peppard Hill.

This is the fifth bid to develop the land in more than two years and has been met with opposition by councillors and neighbours.

In October, the latest plans were rejected by South Oxfordshire District Council but that decision was overturned at appeal.

Many objections were based on the negative effect the expansion would have on the character and appearance of the area — but planning inspector John Woolcock said he did not believe the site was in a rural area.

He said: “The appeal site is located towards the fringe of the built area but it is surrounded on all sides by residential development.

“It was apparent from my site visit that it appears to be contained within the settlement and relates more to the built-up area than it does to the rural area beyond the village.

“I do not consider that the proposed development would have an unacceptable adverse effect on the character and appearance of the area.”

David Hammond, chairman of Peppard Parish Council, said it was “disappointing” it had been approved but admitted the council would no longer fight the proposals.

“It’s clearly a better scheme than the original proposals but I’m disappointed on behalf of local residents,” he said. “There were objections from neighbours opposite the site and round the back in Hillcrest Lane about the size of the houses. These have clearly been overturned and they will have to accept what the planning inspector has decided.”

Clive Mills, who chaired the council’s planning committee during its fight against the proposals before his resignation two weeks ago, said their battle had not been in vain.

He said: ““We have always thought the site would be somewhat over-developed and the buildings are going to be very tall. They will look out of character in the area. But the parish council and certainly the residents have made an impact over the months because the density of housing, if nothing else, has been drastically reduced since the first application was made.”

Jane Kirby, who lives on the opposite side of the B481, said the appeal officer, like his predecessors, had continued to insist Mulberry House was in Sonning Common, rather than Peppard, which enabled him to say the site blended in with the built-up area.

Ms Kirby, who was informed of the decision by the Standard, said she didn’t understand why there was no cap on the number of planning applications and added that she was “disgusted” she had not been told of the decision by the district council despite sending lengthy objections.

She said: “Perhaps it is another example of just how much weight they attach to the views of us who will have to live with their decisions — democracy at its worst. There are numerous conditions attached to what must be done before development can even start and I await with interest and a great deal of cynicism as to what will actually happen on this site.

“I think the only positive thing that can be said is that at least the original proposal for numerous houses and flats was refused and the current development is for just three houses.”

Woolf Bond Planning, which represented the owner of the site, refused to comment.

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