Monday, 18 December 2017

‘Vulnerable people could be left in village ghetto’

THE development of Goring could create a “ghetto” of vulnerable people, claims a residents’ group.

THE development of Goring could create a “ghetto” of vulnerable people, claims a residents’ group.

One hundred and five homes must be built in the village by 2027 under targets set by South Oxfordshire District Council.

The council has published a list of up to 12 possible sites for development and is to ask villagers for feedback.

But the Goring and Streatley Amenity Association fears the properties will be built on a single site to save money, leaving the new residents isolated from the rest of the community.

The association does not oppose the target figure, which includes 40 affordable homes, but wants the house and flats to be spread evenly across Goring.

The 12 sites include three parcels of land to the north of the village off Wallingford Road, Springfield Road and Icknield Road.

The first of these, which is a mile from the village centre and measures 10 acres, is large enough to take the full quota. The other two are slightly nearer the centre and of a similar size when combined.

John Boler, a member of the association’s organising committee, said the sites were not suitable for a large number of homes.

He said: “The perimeter of the village would be dreadful because people living in the affordable homes are more likely to be elderly or disabled.

“There is already a concentration of such people in that area and we don’t want to create a ‘ghetto’ full of highly vulnerable residents.”

The council has also earmarked two hillside fields to the east of the village. One is east of Fairfield Road and measures 37 acres and the other is south of Reading Road and is 14 acres.

The association opposes building on either of these because they are in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Mr Boler said: “We think that would be visually disastrous as those sites are very conspicuous as you enter or leave Goring. It would stick out like a sore thumb.”

Four sites along the southern edge of Gatehampton Road are also on the council’s list.

The association opposes most of these on the grounds that it would be ribbon development but says parts of two of the plots are suitable.

It approves of three areas to the north-east of the village, the largest of which is a triangular 18-acre field between Icknield Road and Elvendon Road.

The other two are a 1.5-acre field behind a house in Icknield Road and a 3.5-acre field behind a house in Elvendon Road.

Mr Boler said: “New residents would settle and integrate better in smaller developments.

“The new buildings would blend in more quickly and the traffic impact would be spread more evenly and fairly.

“The district council has not announced any preference but we fear a single site is likely because of the economics of the situation.New housing requires new infrastructure so there is definitely a financial incentive to put all the homes in one place.

“The council must avoid falling into the age-old trap of watching the cost of everything while seeing the value of nothing.”

A district council spokesman stressed that no decisions would be made before public consultation.

The council compiled the list for its core strategy, which it is required to produce by the Government. It has identified 12 villages across the district where 1,154 homes must be built.

Unlike Goring, Woodcote has produced a neighbourhood plan, which will recommend sites for development and will be subject to a public referendum that will be legally enforceable.

Goring Parish Council says it will examine the issue when the public consultation begins.

lWhat do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG1 9AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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