Tuesday, 22 August 2017

‘Village needs more amenities and recreational ground’

SONNING Common should have more amenities such as recreational ground, according to a parish councillor.

SONNING Common should have more amenities such as recreational ground, according to a parish councillor.

Barrie Greenwood said the issue should be addressed by the neighbourhood plan.

“It’s not just a question of housing, it’s about enhancing the amenities of the village, which is why we’re focusing on recreation,” he said. “This parish is very deficient in terms of recreation ground — we have none whatsoever.”

Councillor Greenwood, who chairs the neighbourhood plan working group, said the village hall was designed in an era when the population was a third of its current size but its location made it ideal for a wide range of users.

“We would like to provide facilities which are for the 21st century and the very large community we have,” he said.

Cllr Greenwood said potential sites for new homes were being discussed with the group’s consultants and highways officials at Oxfordshire County Council. Design statements were being prepared which would outline requirements such as types of building and materials and potential developers while issues such as parking would be taken “very seriously”.

He said: “We will make sure the environment is protected as far as is humanly possible in the circumstances. We will also be looking very closely at maintaining the community value of these developments in terms of accessibility.”

The group plans to meet landowners and agents to assess their expectations and discuss how many houses could be allocated to each potential site.

This phase should be completed by Christmas and will be followed by a public meeting in January.

Meanwhile, 150 residents attended a public meeting on the neighbourhood plan at the village hall. There were 12 information boards on display and six members of the working group were present to answer questions.

Cllr Greenwood said: “We had a lot of good comments and conversations with residents, who mainly wanted to know a little bit more about the process and procedures. Some were concerned about developments where they live.”

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