Thursday, 23 May 2019

Objectors set to lose fight against another 19 homes

PLANS for 19 homes in Benson are set to be approved despite objections from neighbours and two councils.

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

South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee was being recommended to approve the application at a meeting on Wednesday evening.

In June David Wilson Homes was granted planning permission for 240 properties on an adjacent site, which is seen as crucial to the delivery of a Benson bypass.

But Benson Parish Council said the additional properties were not needed to help fund the relief road and would conflict with its neighbourhood plan, which was approved in a referendum in the summer.

It said the development would harm the landscape and cause “settlement coalescence” between Benson and Rokemarsh and it would not integrate with the village.

Berrick Salome Parish Council said the site was high quality agricultural land in open countryside and the application was “entirely speculative”.

It added: “If approved, it would set a precedent for further development on fields and open spaces in Rokemarsh.” There were 13 letters of objection from residents who said the infrastructure was insufficient to sustain further development and the development would increase the amount of traffic on an already busy road.

They claimed Benson would be “swamped” with housing and the prospect of a relief road was many years away.

But district council planning officer Lloyd Jones said the land was allocated for development in the neighbourhood plan and that the principle of the development was acceptable. He said: “Inevitably, the development of this field for residential development would have an urbanising effect and would result in the erosion of the rural landscape.

“Notwithstanding this, I am of the view that the effects would be localised in nature and in time would be mitigated by a comprehensive landscaping scheme.

“Based on the indicative layout, proposed strategic landscaping and the separation that can be achieved between the proposed dwellings and neighbouring properties, I am of the opinion that the development could be achieved without any adverse impacts on neighbours in terms of light, outlook and privacy.

“The development would create more traffic movements and this would inevitably have some impact on existing residents in terms of noise and disturbance [but] I do not consider that this would be unacceptable.”

Victoria Land says the development would be of a mix of homes of between two and five bedrooms, with 40 per cent of them being “affordable”.

A design and access statement 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 forms the centre of Rokemarsh would remain separated by intervening fields.”

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

The developer would pay £114,000 towards the final section of the bypass, or similar, to relieve congestion at the junction of Church Road and the A4074. It would pay £19,000 towards bus service improvements.

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