Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Can’t stop crime &amp look good

A DEVELOPER says it’s impossible to make a new housing estate attractive and crime-proof.

A DEVELOPER says it’s impossible to make a new housing estate attractive and crime-proof.

Bewley Homes has submitted an amended planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council for 65 homes at Lea Meadow, off Peppard Road, near the Herb Farm.

The company has altered its plans after a crime prevention adviser to Thames Valley Police criticised the previous proposal, saying the design would encourage antisocial behaviour and crime.

Amanda Oak highighted the accessibility of the estate from alleyways and footpaths.

She said: “I have concerns that the proposed layout would create a neighbourhood where crime and disorder and the fear of crime would undermine quality of life and community cohesion. The site looks to be excessively permeable as access is afforded around the entire perimeter.



“Footpaths providing access to the rear of houses can leave them vulnerable to crimes such as burglary. It is recommended that the applicant designs out rear alleyways where possible.”

Bewley Homes says the concerns have been dealt with as far as possible in the new plans.

In a letter accompanying the application, the company’s planning consultant Ken Dijksman says: “There can be a tension between the desire to incorporate crime prevention measures and the need to incorporate high quality urban design principles. We consider that this revised layout strikes the right balance between these two sometimes conflicting concerns.

“The footpaths through the north and south corners contribute to the accessibility of the site and are an inherent part of the design.

“However, the criticism of these connecting routes stems from fear that they will allow an opportunity for access/escape for criminals.

“This is at odds with the need to design a sustainable, permeable scheme, with spaces and connecting routes for use by local residents/public. By encouraging public use and designing in measures such as overlooking, these routes will police themselves.

“The large space adjacent to Kennylands Road is no longer part of the application and is likely to be sold for future residential development, although the pedestrian link will be retained.

“Concerns over seclusion are recognised but the design provides good forward visibility, avoids hiding spaces except where existing trees can’t be removed and is generally flat and open.

“There will be carefully considered, dense and effective low-level defensive planting to the backs of properties along Essex Way as well as low level lighting along the entire route length, the design of which will be agreed and secured through planning conditions.”

The district council’s landscape officer Nicola Huijer has recommended more changes if the plans are approved.

She said the development would need more hedges and trees along Peppard Road to soften views from the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

She added: “Harm to views from the AONB is reduced by retention of the majority of the front boundary hedge and trees and potential to plant more.

“It is disappointing that the open space has been detached from the linear park as the green infrastructure (landscape, wildlife and pedestrian/cyclist) benefits would have been greater if they were connected.” Sonning Common Parish Council recommended that the previous application was refused, saying the site was outside the built area of the village, the number of homes was too high and there was a lack of clarity on housing mix.

Lea Meadow is earmarked for 60 homes in the latest draft on the Sonning Common neighbourhood plan.

Three applications to develop the land have been submitted over the last four years but all were withdrawn following objections.



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