Monday, 21 June 2021

Neighbourhood plan submitted for inspection

BENSON Parish Council has submitted its neighbourhood plan for inspection.

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, will now guide the next stage of the process and appoint an independent inspector to examine the document, which names sites to the north of the village for 320 new homes.

This will culminate in a referendum next year.

A village meeting will be held on November 4 to update residents on the next steps.

The plan includes the delivery of an “edge road”, or bypass, around the village to take traffic away from the centre and ease congestion.

Councillor Mark Gray, Benson’s representative on Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, said officers were “positive” about the bypass proposal.

Jon Fowler, vice-chairman of the parish council, said that all the developers had agreed to provide sections of the road but they were unsure of how the financial burden would affect the viability of their sites.

Meanwhile, a barrister is to be appointed by the parish council to help fight its case against plans for 120 homes.

A public inquiry is to be held after architect WestWaddy appealed against South Oxfordshire District Council’s rejection of the company’s application to develop land south of Watlington Road.

A parish council meeting heard that having legal representation would cost up to £20,000.

Councillor Jon Fowler said: “We can either engage a barrister to represent us or we do what we have done with the previous applications — we become an interested party and speak and they get to question us but we have no comeback on them.

“My personal view is we should engage a barrister for this one.

“This application site is not in our neighbourhood plan and would potentially jeopardise what we do have in our plan.”

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.

Cllr Fowler will contact Jonathan Clay, of Cornerstone Barristers, to confirm costs and then make another recommendation at a future meeting.

⚫ A call has been made for an historic road sign in Benson to be protected. Parish councillor Rob Workman said the sign at the junction of Littleworth Road, Oxford Road and Churchfield Lane should be removed and kept safe when work starts there as part of a development of about 400 homes north of Littleworth Road. The parish council is to contact Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, to ask about acquiring the sign.

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