Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Developer planning 400 new homes rejects link road idea

A LINK road is the only way to offset the effects of 400 new homes in Benson, it has been claimed.

A LINK road is the only way to offset the effects of 400 new homes in Benson, it has been claimed.

However, the developer has rejected the idea.

The issue was raised by villager Ian Leppard at a meeting of the parish council last week.

Residents fear the village’s infrastructure would struggle to cope with the scale of the proposed development on farmland north of Littleworth Road.

Graeme Dodd and architects WestWaddy have applied for planning permission for 241 houses and have already been given consent for another 107 houses and 52 retirement flats and bungalows.

Mr Leppard, a former parish councillor who lives in High Street, showed councillors a map from 1993 that shows a link road from the Elmbridge roundabout on the A4074 via Hale Road to the A4009. he said the map was drawn up Mr Dodd’s father-in-law Ray Stiles, who owns the 24.8-hectare site.

Mr Leppard told councillors: “I strongly believe the only way we can save Benson at any cost is to have the link road put in.

“I would like this to be considered and a little bit of effort put behind it. It could be very successful.”

The meeting heard that a bypass had been discussed since the Sixties and was included in plans from 1973.

Mr Leppard also called for Littleworth Road, from which there would be access to the new development, to have three lanes as well as being made two-way, as planned.

He explained: “Very few of the cottages along there have parking spaces. Residents park in the road and a lot of people have their groceries delivered. There will be pinch points all over the place.”

Council chairwoman Pat Peers said: “I think there’s quite a large feeling in the parish and around this table that what we need is that link road.”

Dave Rushton, a former councillor who now heads up a transport advisory group, said a bypass or link road was at the top of the “shopping list” when he met representatives of WestWaddy and showed them the maps.

They responded by saying that it was a “can of worms” they weren’t prepared to open. Mr Rushton said: “They have seen the plans from 1973, they knew the plans from 1993, they just said they didn’t want to do it.

“If the developer doesn’t want to do it, the only way to put pressure on them is to use county highways.”

The council agreed to formally object to the planning application, which has already prompted more than 150 responses to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority.

WestWaddy says the development would form a “natural extension” to the village and provide convenient access to the village via footpaths and cycleways.

John Ashton, a partner at the firm, said it would help the district council meet the needs for housing in the  district. The first application went through the democratic process and the company was now engaging with the community, he added.

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