Thursday, 17 August 2017

Council at odds with residents on homes plan

OPINION is split over plans for 27 houses on land earmarked for development in Woodcote’s neighbourhood

OPINION is split over plans for 27 houses on land earmarked for development in Woodcote’s neighbourhood plan.

The Oratory School is seeking planning permission to develop a field on the outskirts of the village between Tidmore Lane and its junction with Reading Road.

The site is currently occupied by three homes, which would be demolished and replaced by 11 semi-detached three-bedroom properties and another 16 with two bedrooms.

Villagers approved the site for up to 24 houses in their neighbourhood plan, which was published in April last year, and the parish council “strongly supports” the application.

But 12 residents, including 10 who live near the site, claim it conflicts with the neighbourhood plan because it exceeds the allocated quota.



The parish council disputes this, saying there would be a net gain of only 24 homes as three will be lost.

Neighbours also oppose plans for a shared entrance to the estate off Reading Road, a few metres west of the entrance to Tidmore Lane, which includes a mini-roundabout.

They say the roundabout would be too big and would be urbanising a country lane in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In a joint letter David Jackson and Iain McNay, both of Tidmore Lane, said it was “overdevelopment that would detract from the character and qualities of the area”.

They said the style of housing was too modern and there should be more one- and four-bedroom houses in accordance with the neighbourhood plan.

David and Joyce Bishop, of Reading Road, said the roundabout would cause a hazard as it was too near the Tidmore Lane junction and visibility would be poor.

They also said visitors to the new homes might park in the lane, which may legally be used only by residents.

Gail and Don Williams, of Reading Road, said: “The new roundabout will cause an unnecessary risk of collision and confusion. Sight lines on this part of the road are already challenging enough; if they were not, a local resident would not have buried his car through our hedge last summer.”

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, objects, saying the access proposals “require improvement” and the roundabout should be shrunk so that buses can negotiate it.

It fears speed humps which have been proposed on Reading Road could damage large vehicles and says smaller “speed cushions” should be installed instead. Street lighting would be needed to make them visible at night.

Woodcote Parish Council supports these amendments but opposes recommendations to extend the pavement between the bus stops in Tidmore Lane and Greenmore. It says doing so “serves no useful purpose”.

The application will be decided by South Oxfordshire District Council.



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