Thursday, 09 December 2021

Developers contribute in revision of housing plan

A REVISED version of Benson’s neighbourhood plan could be ready in a year’s time.

The current plan, which was approved at a referendum in 2018, earmarked three sites for 560 new homes.

These were land north of Littleworth Road (240 homes), off Hale Road (80), and north and north-east of The Sands (240).

To help with the revision process, the council employed consultants and it is to apply for a grant of up to £18,000 from Locality, a community funding network, to offset the cost.

Philip Murray, a parish councillor and member of the neighbourhood plan delivery team, said: “If we don’t employ external people, this might drag on for a long time and we don’t want that.

“We need to move fast because the plan needs to be reviewed and the time schedule is quite tight. It’s a long process and we want the plan to remain relevant.”

A public consultation will be carried out in late January.

Councillor Murray said: “We want the community to feel they can give their views and be part of it.

“As everyone seems more confident with the process, we might not need a referendum as there is nothing terribly revolutionary about the revision.”

Meanwhile, the council is discussing street names for the development between Hale Road and Watlington Road for submission to South Oxfordshire District Council by the end of the month.

Councillors suggested naming them after people who had helped the community in the past as well as historical names and the names of wildlife specific to the area.

Cllr Murray said: “Going for animals’ and birds’ names seems quite interesting as I feel we have a lot of species here in Benson.”

Cala Homes, which was initially granted planning permission in 2016, is to include a five-hectare nature area in the second phase of its 241-home development north of Littleworth Road.

It has also agreed to construct a 1.5-storey community building after the parish council complained that a proposed single-storey hall wouldn’t be big enough to cater for the village’s wide range of groups.

David Wilson Homes, which was granted planning permission for 240 homes at The Sands, has been asked to amend its landscape design to include a community orchard, allotment space and species-rich meadow to complement the green spaces managed for nature elsewhere in the village. Thomas Homes is to build 80 homes on land west of Hale Road.

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

The road is essential in reducing the amount of traffic going through the village and relies on the developers delivering separate sections.

Cllr Murray said: “I think the developers have done their best to reflect our needs and wants and the end result will likely be in line with what was required of them.”

Meanwhile, in Watlington, 183 new homes are being built as part of the Redkite View development between the B4009 Britwell Road and the B480 Cuxham Road.

Developer Providence Land hopes to build up to 70 properties on land north-east of Cuxham Road and up to 60 west of Pyrton Lane.

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