Saturday, 19 June 2021

‘Homes decision would make housing blueprint irrelevant’

A DECISION on plans for 240 homes in Benson should not be made until after the referendum on the village’s neighbourhood plan, says a neighbouring parish council.

David Wilson Homes wants to develop two pieces of land, one north of Watlington Road and The Sands and the other east of Hale Road.

The developer’s application was due to be considered by South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday following a site visit.

This is only two weeks before the referendum on the neighbourhood plan on June 28.

The site is earmarked for development in the document but Berrick Salome Parish Council claims that if the application is determined before the referendum, it makes the vote “irrelevant” as all but one of the allocated sites will have already been granted planning approval.

In a letter to the committee, Berrick Salome says: “They could not be undone should the referendum result not support the plan. This diminishes greatly the worth of the neighbourhood plan policy and is distinctly undemocratic.”

Ian Glyn, chairman of the Berrick Salome council, said: “Our plea to the district council and others on this major development consideration is there should be joined-up thinking.”

He said the result of an appeal for 120 homes on land south of Watlington Road in the village was still not known and there was uncertainty about plans for 3,000 homes at Chalgrove Airfield and the route of the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.

Councillor Glyn added: “There should be a mechanism that says ‘let’s think about these things together rather than individually’ as they affect people significantly.”

Jon Fowler, a member of Benson’s neighbourhood plan team, said he didn’t believe a delay would have a material benefit.

More News:

POLL: Have your say