Thursday, 24 August 2017

Developer to submit fresh bid for homes on edge of village

A DEVELOPER is making a fresh bid to build 33 homes in Sonning Common.

A DEVELOPER is making a fresh bid to build 33 homes in Sonning Common.

TA Fisher, of Reading, wants to build on a site called Sonning Edge at the back of Kennylands Road.

It follows a failed application in 2011 for 50 homes nearby.

The developer has circulated a leaflet to residents unveiling its plans for a mixture of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes with gardens, driveways and open green spaces.

It says the houses would be affordable and wants to give priority to villagers who would otherwise have to move away.

Julien Pacey, head of land and planning at TA Fisher, said: “We want to work with the community to ensure as many of these homes as possible go to people in the village who would otherwise have to move away.

“We are really proud of this scheme and believe it offers the best solution for the village which, like every other area of the country, is having to meet quotas from the Government for new housing.” The previous plans were opposed by residents, Sonning Common Parish Council and South Oxfordshire District Council, which refused the application because it was unwanted development of the countryside. TA Fisher appealed unsuccessfully.

Mr Pacey said the company had addressed concerns raised last time and believed the process should be smoother this time because the new site is not in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

He pointed out there would be fewer houses and they would be smaller than previously proposed. All the trees on the site would be retained and more would be added.

Mr Pacey said: “It would offer a good mix of houses in a highly suitable location within walking distance of the village centre as well as much-needed affordable housing.

“In all rural communities, many people who grow up in villages and small communities are the first to leave because they are priced out of the housing market. I would very much hope we can address this by offering housing units to local people.”

The proposed site is included in Sonning Common’s neighbourhood plan but is not one the six sites earmarked for development.

Mr Pacey said his company was working with the plan working group and they had met twice.

The proposals had also been sent to every household in the village asking for feedback. Mr Pacey said: “We’re presenting to the people of the village alternative ideas of how it could be developed in an acceptable manner.

“With three of the sites that have been put forward for development, they don’t even know if the land is available.

“If you look at the Thame plan the eventual sites that were selected are different from the original ones. There could be changes at the end of the process and we want to be part of that process.

“Our site is one of the closest in terms of access to local facilities compared with some other sites that have been promoted.”

Mr Pacey added that feedback received so far was positive.

Councillor Barrie Greenwood, who chairs the parish council’s planning committee, said it was considering the plans and waiting for the developer to answer some questions.

He said the feedback from residents indicated concern about the location of the site behind existing houses and next to the countryside.

Cllr Greenwood added: “There was some concern about extending the village westwards.”

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