Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Garden centre could be replaced with nine homes

PART of Woodcote Garden Centre could be knocked down to make way for nine houses.

PART of Woodcote Garden Centre could be knocked down to make way for nine houses.

Michael Hill, who owns the business off Reading Road, has applied for planning permission to demolish greenhouses and other nursery buildings on a 2,426 sq m plot on the eastern half of the site.

These buildings would be replaced by three detached, two semi-detached and four terraced homes and the garden centre would continue trading from smaller premises.

The site is earmarked for nine dwellings in Woodcote’s neighbourhood plan, which passed a referendum about two years ago.

Five three-bedroom houses would be sold at market rates while the remaining two-bedroom properties would be “affordable” with prices fixed below the rate. This is slightly more than the 40 per cent allocation required by the neighbourhood plan. Three of the cheaper units would be managed by a social housing association.

Access would be via the existing entrance off Reading Road and each house would be two storeys tall with its own back garden.

The properties would have pitched tiled roofs and black timber cladding, which Mr Hill says is in keeping with the style of the area. His traffic consultant says the development would generate about 40 vehicle movements a day, a “negligible” increase on the 33 currently generated by that part of the garden centre.

Mr Hill says his proposal meets the neighbourhood plan’s requirements on housing size and type.

Woodcote Parish Council is yet to discuss the application.

South Oxfordshire District Council will make the final decision and is currently inviting comments. Meanwhile, the district council is expected to make a decision soon on two other applications for houses in Woodcote which are at least six months old.

Tarmac firm Hazell & Jefferies, of Whitchurch Hill, requested permission for 19 homes at the former reservoir in Greenmore in August.

Three months before that, the Oratory School submitted a planning application for 27 units at Chiltern Rise, a field just east of the garden centre site. This number was later reduced to 25.

The reservoir is earmarked for up to 16 houses in the neighbourhood plan while Chiltern Rise is earmarked for 24.

The independent Catholic school has revised its plans several times to address concerns over road safety.

Last month the parish council finally recommended approval of the scheme on the condition that the village’s 30mph speed limit was extended further out towards the A4074.

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