Tuesday, 15 June 2021

More new homes 'would put strain on GP surgery'

NINETEEN homes could be built in Benson next to a site earmarked for more than 13 times that number.

Victoria Land has applied for outline planning permission to develop paddocks next to The Orchard, off Braze Lane.

Health chiefs have objected, saying the extra residents will put a strain on Benson’s GP surgery.

The land abuts a larger site to the west where David Wilson Homes is awaiting a decision on its application to build 240 properties, which is seen as crucial to delivery of a bypass around the north of the village.

Both pieces of land are identified as one site suitable for homes in the Benson neighbourhood plan, which will go to referendum this year.

The Victoria Land scheme would provide a mix of two-, three-, four-and five-bedroom dwellings with 40 per cent of them being “affordable”.

A design and access statement by architects BHP Harwood, of Wantage, says: “This application is for a sensitively designed residential development. It will use the local character and assets of the site to develop a scheme with its own sense of place, creating high-quality accessible amenities for both residents and visitors.

“While the site itself would experience a notable change in character from equine paddocks to built form, the effects would not extend greatly beyond its boundaries when taken in the context of the David Wilson Homes development.

“While the setting of The Orchard may be affected by its introduction, the cluster of houses which form the centre of Rokemarsh would remain separated by intervening fields. As such, it is considered that the development would read as part of Benson rather than of Rokemarsh. The visual assessment found that from the south and the west the proposed development would be largely screened from view by the David Wilson Homes development and as such would not give rise to any additional visual effects.

“Similarly, in distant views it would be extremely difficult to discern the development or differentiate it from the David Wilson development.”

The development would include a “green fringe” and new footpath links and there would be open green space to the west and east of the site.

It would not be connected to the proposed bypass, or “edge street”, and instead have its own access point from Braze Lane. The statement adds: “It constitutes sustainable development, which should be positively considered in accordance with the provision of the National Planning Policy Framework.

“The proposed development has been sensitively designed with due consideration to the local vernacular so that it sits harmoniously within the wider context.”

The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has objected to the application as it is concerned about the impact on the Mill Stream Surgery in Benson.

Anne Lankester, a member of the group, said: “There is no health impact assessment attached with the planning application or contribution towards the local health economy.

“The local GP practice in Benson will be challenged with all the other growth in the area and the clinical commissioning group would expect a contribution towards estate
reconfiguration at the practice.

“We are happy to discuss this further together with Community Infrastructure Levy funding for the other many Benson developments that will have an impact on the Benson GP practice.”

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