Friday, 20 July 2018

Developer bids to build 19 homes on landlocked site

VILLAGERS are bracing themselves for more development.

VILLAGERS are bracing themselves for more development.

Brim Developments wants to demolish Nos 22 and 24 Blacklands Road, Benson, and build 19 houses, including 16 starter homes, on a parcel of overgrown land that stretches behind several neighbouring properties.

It comes after plans for 159 homes on farm land north of Littleworth Road were approved with another application for a further 241 properties on the same site being made by Graeme Dodd and architects WestWaddy.

The application by Brim Developments is not the company’s first attempt to develop the landlocked site.

Two years ago it was refused permission for nine homes by South Oxfordshire District Council and then lost an appeal when a government planning inspector upheld the decision.

The site once formed part of the garden of a property in Brook Street as well as nos 22 and 24 Blacklands Road and belongs to Ross Williams, whose family have lived in Benson for generations.

Eighteen residents of the two streets objected to the previous application and were supported by Benson Parish Council, which said the land was not an “infill” site and the development would be outside the village boundary.

The inspector Phil Grainger said that while the application could not be refused on the provision of affordable housing, ecological, highway or pedestrian safety grounds, it was against the district council’s housing policy.

The site was not in the local plan and therefore not designated as land for housing, he said. Brim Developments’ latest application says that since then permission has been granted for the Littleworth Road site on appeal. It continues: “The inspector identified the presumption in favour of sustainable development which the National Planning Policy Framework presents, meaning that where the development plan is silent, permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the framework taken as a whole.”

The application says each property would have two car parking spaces as well as private amenity space.

Two new bungalows would replace No 22 and 24 Blacklands Road and would be occupied by the residents of the existing properties.

The application adds: “The benefits of the proposed development are  considerable.

“The proposal seeks to provide housing on a largely overgrown site which detracts considerably from the character and appearance of the settlement in its current condition. The provision of housing would help to sustain existing local facilities and services, enhancing the vitality of the settlement, meeting an existing local need for housing at lower cost.

“South Oxfordshire District Council has identified Benson as being one of the district’s most sustainable settlements which offers a good range of day-to-day facilities and public transport links to other larger settlements. This was acknowledged in the Littleworth Road appeal decision.”

The district council is set to make a decision by March 21.

Meanwhile, Benson Parish Council was due to discuss a neighbourhood plan for the village at an extraordinary meeting last night (Thursday)

Vice-chairman Jon Fowler has proposed that the council engages consultant Andrew Ashcroft to assist with a fast-track plan at a cost of £450 per day.

The council decided to pursue the fast-track process shortly after the latest Littleworth Road plans were put forward, saying it wanted more control over new housing.

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