Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Residents back four sites earmarked for new homes

RESIDENTS of Sonning Common have overwhelmingly backed sites recommended for development in the village’s neighbourhood plan.

RESIDENTS of Sonning Common have overwhelmingly backed sites recommended for development in the village’s neighbourhood plan.

A total of 250 people responded during a public consultation on a draft of the plan which ended on Friday.

The document recommended four sites, three reserve sites and one possible reserve site for 138 homes that must be built in the village by 2027 to meet government housing targets.

The site with the largest number of positive responses was a field opposite Chiltern Edge School, off Reades Lane, that is recommended for recreation use.

There were 202 in favour and only seven against.

The most popular site for houses was a field between the two sections of Kennylands Road, which is earmarked for 26 houses in the plan.

A total of 189 respondents supported the recommendation with just 13 against.

A field at the back of Ashford Avenue recommended for 52 houses was approved by 181 respondents with 22 against.

Of the recommended sites, the least popular was land to the south of the Herb Farm, off Peppard Road, but this was still met with 173 positive responses compared with 35 opposed.

The reserve sites were less popular but still recorded a majority of respondents in favour.

Plans for 25 homes on land at Hagpits House and five homes on Hagpits Orchard saw 149 and 150 favourable responses and 35 and 32 against respectively.

A site for 37 homes on land at Chiltern Edge School, to the east of the current school buildings, prompted 147 positive responses and 40  negative.

Land behind Kennylands Road, known as SON5, was named as a possible reserve site for 20 homes in the plan. A total of 98 respondents agreed and 73 disagreed, which was the most negative response to any site.

T A Fisher, of Reading, has applied for planning permission to develop the site three times since 2011 but has been refused every time.

Parish councillor Barrie Greenwood, who chairs the neighbourhood plan working group, said he was pleased with the size of the response and said the number compared favourably to the response for the neighbourhood plan in Henley, which covered a much larger area.

He said: “About 370 people attended our displays on the plans so to get 250 responses is very good.

“In terms of agreements and disagreements, it was a very good return for us as people agreed with the allocations in the plan.”

The feedback will be used to make any amendments to the draft plan before it goes to South Oxfordshire District Council.

There will then be another six-week period of consultation before the plan has to be approved by a planning inspector. If it passes this process, there will then be a referendum.

The consultation was due to close on March 20 but was extended due to a supplementary report that looked at social, environmental and economic sustainablity.

Plans were displayed in the village hall on three separate days in February and March and were seen by 371 residents. There were also exhibitions held in November.

The working party refined the draft plan following the exhibitions and discussions with landowners, South Oxfordshire District Council, the Chilterns Conservation Board and residents.

• Sonning Common Parish Council is appealing for people to suggest street names for the new developments. Its planning committee has already put together ideas based on trees, wildflowers, wildlife, local people and places. You can send ideas by email to deputyclerk@sonningcommonparishcouncil.org.uk or by post to the parish office.

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