Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Housing inquiry to be held next week

A PUBLIC inquiry into South Oxfordshire District Council’s failure to make a decision on plans for 130 homes in Benson will be heard next week.

Gladman Developments wants to build on land off St Helen’s Avenue.

The site has not been included in Benson’s draft neighbourhood plan, which names three sites for about 350 homes to the north of the village.

The parish council has agreed with developers that they will contribute to an “edge street”, or bypass, through the sites to help alleviate traffic in the village centre.

The inquiry by a planning inspector will be held at the Fountain Conference Centre at Howbery Business Park in Crowmarsh Gifford on August 1 and 2, starting at 10am each day.

Anyone can attend the hearing and speak at the inspector’s discretion.

The district council will be contesting the appeal, primarily on the grounds of noise and vibration from RAF Benson’s helicopter operations, which it does not believe can be mitigated.

Representatives of Benson Parish Council and the neighbourhood plan team will also speak.

The council says it will be supporting the district’s arguments on noise and vibration and explaining why the site is not allocated in the neighbourhood plan.

It adds: “This development, if approved, will risk jeopardising the sites we are allocating in the plan and the edge road that depends on them as well as taking up scarce school places.

“Having made great strides towards securing the road, this would be a very unwelcome complication.”

The council said it urged local people to attend the inquiry.

As the Henley Standard reported last month, the council will not be represented by a barrister at the inquiry after the idea was rejected by the inspector.

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