Friday, 19 October 2018

Council says 'yes' to 84 homes

PLANS for 84 new homes in Benson have been backed by the parish council.

Thomas Homes, of Thatcham, wants to build on land west of Hale Road, which has been earmarked for 80 properties in the village’s neighbourhood plan.

The development would include a section of a proposed “edge road”, or bypass, that would run to the north of the village.

The new road is essential to reducing the amount traffic going through the village as residents face the prospect of hundreds of new homes. It also relies on different developers delivering separate sections.

Councillors agreed unanimously to support the plans provided that this secures the relief road and other infrastructure within a reasonable timeframe. The council also wants to be sure that the development conforms with the design, landscape and environmental principles of the neighbourhood plan.

Councillor Philip Murray said: “I just want to be clear to South Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council that that’s what we want.

“Certainly, for the last three months, I have felt there was a direction of travel supported directly, or indirectly, by all parties.

“Hopefully we can provide a very important asset at nil or at very low cost to the public purse.” Councillor Mark Gray, Benson’s representative on the county council, said: “It’s a strange thing to say but you’re doing it to protect your village.”

The majority of houses and flats in the development would have up to three bedrooms and 33 of them would be “affordable”.

The outline planning application says the site is one of four to the north of Benson earmarked for new homes in the neighbourhood plan.

A design and access statement by Woodfield Brady Architects, of Newbury, says: “It is the smallest of these strategic housing allocations and sits centrally between the other sites to the west and east of it.

“The plan proposes these particular sites for development on the basis that the associated developers will jointly fund a bypass, which will pass through these sites, to help alleviate traffic in the village centre.” Parish councillors have also raised no objections to an amendment to plans by David Wilson Homes for 240 homes on land to the north of Watlington Road and The Sands.

This includes the creation of a roundabout in the south-east of the site to replace a previously proposed T-junction with the B4009.

A joint application for a roundabout on Hale Road, between the Thomas Homes and David Wilson Homes sites, to help create the edge road was also supported.

Sian Keeling, of David Wilson Homes, said the road would most likely be funded through the developments and the company would like to start work on its site in early 2019.

Councillor Teresa McTeague said: “It’s good to hear there’s going to be some sort of liaison between you two but I would like to see some joined-up approach, including the land that has already been built on.”

The district council, which is the planning authority, will make a decision on David Wilson Homes’s application on January 15 and the Thomas Homes plan by February 6.

Meanwhile, public consultation on Benson’s neighbourhood plan has started. The plan names sites for 320 new homes.

Residents have until January 28 to register comments. To see the plan, visit www.southoxon.gov.uk/benson

Copies of the document are available to view at Benson library, the parish council’s office in Sunnyside and the district council’s offices in Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Abingdon, during normal opening hours. 

It is hoped that a referendum will be held in March.

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