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Residents win fight to stop development in the countryside
Published 05/09/11

RESIDENTS have won their fight to stop 50 houses being built in Sonning Common.

They claimed the plans to develop fields and a paddock off Kennylands Road would be unwanted development of the countryside.

Last week, South Oxfordshire District Council refused planning permission on the recommendation of Sonning Common Parish Council.

The planning application, made by Reading developer TA Fisher, prompted more than 100 written objections.

In June, more than 70 villagers packed an extraordinary meeting of the parish council’s planning committee considering the application.

They voiced concerns about the safety of children on the road, access to the development and the likely impact on the infrastructure. Adrian Duffield, head of planning at the district council, said the application was refused for a number of reasons.

He said: “The site lies immediately adjacent to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“The proposal would extend the limits of built development into the countryside adjoining Sonning Common and would detract from the setting and therefore the beauty of the area.

“The site is not allocated for development and is not a site suitable for development within the built-up limits of the settlement.

“The development would extend into and encroach upon the adjacent open countryside, contrary to policies of the adopted South Oxfordshire Local Plan.” Mr Duffield added: “The development of this site, together with other sites in the locality, would cumulatively pre-determine decisions about the location and scale of new development and the necessary supporting infrastructure.”

He also said the developer made no provision for affordable housing and failed to offer adequate facilities and services to meet the needs of the development.

He added: “Inadequate information accompanies the application to demonstrate that 50 houses can be built on the site in a manner which protects the amenity of occupiers of existing dwellings and provides adequate standards of amenity for occupiers of the proposed dwellings.”

James Harvey, who lives in Rowan Close and is a member of the Institute of Road Transport Engineers, said he was happy at the decision. He said: “Apart from the disruption the development would cause to the village, I can’t see the entrance and exits being anything but a disaster.

“Fifty homes have the potential for 100 cars and we wouldn’t be able to move. It would be a disaster waiting to happen.”

Parish council chairman Alan Rooke said: “It was best that the application was refused. The site was, as I have always said, outside the village line.

“Although we have got to have more houses, with the plans for Lea Meadow as well, we don’t need a total of 140 houses being proposed by developers.

“What we should do is take a step back and look for the best locations and consult the villagers more and put houses where we want them.”

Published 05/09/11

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