Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Developer axes homes plan for third time

PLANS to build 55 new homes in Sonning Common have been withdrawn after the developer decided to wait for the

PLANS to build 55 new homes in Sonning Common have been withdrawn after the developer decided to wait for the parish’s neighbourhood plan.

Richard Scott, who owns the Herb Farm, wants to develop 10 acres of Lea Meadow but has met with opposition from the parish council.

It is the third application in two years to be withdrawn — one was for 85 homes and the other for 105.

The site, which runs south of Peppard Road and towards Hagg Pitts House, is one of 14 sites earmarked by South Oxfordshire District Council for inclusion in the village’s neighbourhood plan.

Stewart Lilly, a planning consultant acting on behalf of Mr Scott, recently attended a presentation by the neighbourhood plan working group.

He said: “We’ve maintained a dialogue with the parish council since we first started this scheme about five years ago.

“We’ve seen parish councillors come and go but after the presentation we took a view that, rather than force the issue, we would prefer to work with the council to see if there’s something we can collectively agree upon as opposed to battling through an appeal. We would compliment the council on the work they and their team have done. Compared with many other parishes, the process has been extremely well managed.”

Mr Lilly said communities should have a say on development sites, adding: “Rather than put people’s backs up, we would like to consult them.”

Council chairman Douglas Kedge said the company’s decision showed the strength of the village’s neighbourhood plan. He said: “Initially, they wanted to get the plans through before the plan came into operation, so it’s good they now want to work with the village. I’m sure we can work together.”

Barrie Greenwood, who chairs the council’s planning committee, has written to the district council saying the parish council will not agree to any plans for large developments until the neighbourhood plan is completed.

He said: “In the next stage, which is the design stage, we will be talking to all parties who are particularly interested in these sites.

“We want them to outline plans for these areas, which will hopefully answer a lot of the questions which residents and other interested parties have.”

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