Saturday, 16 December 2017

Council opposes plans for 23 homes

A DEVELOPER’S plans to build 23 houses on a field in Woodcote that wasn’t earmarked for development in the village’s neighbourhood plan have been recommended for refusal.

The parish council has unanimously opposed a planning application by Woodcote Properties to develop the land at the south-western end of Wood Lane, a cul-de-sac off Beech Lane.

It says supporting the scheme would undermine the neighbourhood plan, which was published in 2014 and is now being updated to reflect increased demand for housing across South Oxfordshire.

The document, which names up to seven sites where 76 homes should go, is designed to give the community more control over the village’s growth.

Councillor Peter Sudbury said: “If you allow building on land that’s not in the neighbourhood plan, you might as well not bother making one because you’ve given up and let the developers set the agenda.

“For us to recommend approval would have been deeply unpopular and wasted all the time and effort that went into writing the plan.

“It would also have given development an unduly bad name as the whole point of neighbourhood planning is to find common ground, not to outright oppose everything.

“The developer asked to meet us to discuss the scheme but we explained that they could put the land forward for inclusion in the revised plan. That’s the only communication we had before they applied.”

The council also objected on the grounds that the development would adversely affect its rural surroundings.

Thirty-nine residents have sent letters of objection to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority. Most echoed the parish council’s argument that the land is not in the neighbourhood plan.

They also raised concerns over traffic safety at the junction of Wood Lane and Beech Lane and the impact on the local infrastructure and services.

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