Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Developer willing to pay to enlarge school if homes are approved

A DEVELOPER is willing to pay to expand Benson Primary School in return for being allowed to build

A DEVELOPER is willing to pay to expand Benson Primary School in return for being allowed to build hundreds of new homes.

Graeme Dodd and architects WestWaddy have applied for planning permission for 241 houses, 40 per cent of them “affordable”, on farm land north of Littleworth Road.

They have already been given consent for another 107 houses and 52 retirement flats and bungalows on the land following an appeal.

The latest plans include a 230 sq m shop and community facilities such as school playing fields, a youth facilities hut, skate park and play space, public open space, sports provision, nature park and woodland. WestWaddy says that Oxfordshire County Council, the education authority, will decide whether the primary school has enough capacity to accommodate the number of extra children living on the new development.

It said: “The development will not be able to take place until the education authority is satisfied that provision has been made for the relevant school capacity, if required.

“If there is not sufficient capacity the applicant will be required to make financial contributions towards increasing the capacity of the schools that require it.”

This would be done under a section 106 agreement, which enables a planning authority to enter into a legally binding agreement or planning obligation with a developer.

The same principle could apply to the Mill Stream Surgery if NHS England felt this could not cope with the additional patients living on the new estate.

WestWaddy said the proposed shop would be about 60 per cent of the size of the existing Co-op store in Benson high street.

It said: “Although an occupier has not been identified, it is expected to be a new fascia to the village that will increase consumer choice and meet the top-up shopping expenditure.

“The store will sell primarily convenience goods items (food and grocery) but will also include a small range of comparison items to serve day-to-day needs, i.e. health and beauty or household goods.”

The company said the shop would be centrally located on the estate so that most residents could walk to it and be part of a mixed use building that also contained homes.

WestWaddy said the estate would form a “natural extension” to Benson, adding: “By bringing new infrastructure, services and facilities as well as safeguarding existing ones the proposal will increase the sustainability of the village.

“New residents will bring investment into the existing businesses and services.”

Helen Crolla, headteacher of Benson Primary School, said: “We’re working with the local authority and taking advice from them because the second phase of planning hasn’t gone through and been accepted yet.”

Sarah Denton, practice manager at the Mill Stream Surgery, refused to comment.

The 24.8 hectares of land are owned by Ray Stiles, who is Mr Dodd’s father-in-law.

The application is due to be decided by South Oxfordshire District Council by February 22.

• Plans have been submitted to demolish and rebuild a house in Greenfield, near Christmas Common. Applicant Sarah Sutherland says the new property would match a scheme for The Well House that was approved in March.

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