Thursday, 14 December 2017

Villages agree deal over possible development site

PEPPARD will help Sonning Common in producing a neighbourhood plan.

PEPPARD will help Sonning Common in producing a neighbourhood plan.

Parish councillors unanimously agreed to be an official consultation body for a site on the edge of the village included in its neighbour’s plan.

The two parish councils have agreed a memorandum of understanding that stipulates the total cost of the plan will be funded by Sonning Common Parish Council, including consultation with Peppard residents.

The involvement of Peppard will not prevent the parish council from drawing up its own neighbourhood plan.

The site, known as SON 13, was included in a list of 14 locations earmarked by South Oxfordshire District Council for potential development.

The landowner then withdrew it from consideration but Peppard council believes it should be included in the plan in case the site is made available again. No other part of the Peppard will be included.

Councillor Simon Crouch said: “The fact that the owners have apparently withdrawn it as a site to be considered for housing doesn’t stop them changing their minds in a week’s time.

“If the Sonning Common neighbourhood plan went ahead without SON 13 and houses were allocated to other sites in Sonning Common and someone subsequently came along and suggested putting houses on SON 13, we would then lose the protection of being part of the Sonning Common neighbourhood plan and it would be considered on its own merits by the district council.”

Councillor Fiona Berry said: “It would be out of our hands so we couldn’t say in a planning committee that we don’t think they should build on that site or the building should conform to the strategic allocations because it has already been allocated.”

Chairman David Hammond said it was important that residents were kept informed and the council agreed to circulate a notice to people who live near the site, off Blounts Court Road, and will place information on notice boards and the council’s website.

The issue will also be discussed at Peppard’s annual parish meeting on April 20 while public consultation will end on May 4.

Cllr Hammond said: “The most affected residents are probably those who live in Blounts Court Road and therefore if there was to be building on SON 13, they would have concerns about things like traffic. However, people from all around the parish might oppose building on SON 13. By putting it in the neighbourhood plan we’re actually protecting it.”

Cllr Hammond said Sonning Common Parish Council had also asked to be able to conduct a survey of residents in Stoke Row Road and Shiplake Bottom, which are split between the parishes.

He said he opposed agreeing this automatically, adding: “If Sonning Common wants to consult with Peppard residents then the correct way to do it is by coming to us with the consultation they want to do and we will then take the decision whether it should involve leafleting all our residents or doing something different.

“I’m reluctant to draw a line across the parish which says people outside that line should be treated one way and people inside it another way.”

Peppard Parish Council will also be consulted on issues including housing, sustainability, traffic and parking, business and retail and educational and medical facilities. A councillor will be invited to join the neighbourhood plan working group in Sonning Common.

Barrie Greenwood, who chairs the Sonning Common neighbourhood plan working group, said: “It’s important to us to be seen to have consulted with our neighbouring parish.

“The memorandum of understanding allows us to include SON 13 in our plan area and through Peppard Parish Council we can consult with the residents we think are relevant.”

Councillor Greenwood said the group had received 416 responses to a presentation on the 14 sites made last month and 89 per cent strongly supported the proposals to take forward up to six sites for possible development.

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