Friday, 24 September 2021

A GOVERNMENT body that wants to build 3,000 homes on Chalgrove Airfield says it will put money towards bypasses around Watlington and Benson to offset the impact.

The Homes and Communities Agency, which owns the site and is responsible for delivering new homes and jobs on publicly owned land, says it is “totally committed” to meeting some of the cost of the roads.

These would run to the north of both settlements to alleviate the extra traffic which the development is expected to generate.

There has been concern in Watlington and Benson as both are approaching referendums on their neighbourhood plans, which name sites for hundreds of new homes on top of the airfield proposals.

The Chalgrove scheme is favoured by South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, and is likely to form part of its new local plan, which will outline future development in the district until 2033.

A draft version of the document is expected to go to public consultation within the next few weeks.

In a letter to Peter Canavan, the council’s senior planning officer, the agency’s head of strategic land Ken Glendinning said: “The agency is totally committed to delivering the right level of infrastructure, at the right time, to support the proposed development of Chalgrove Airfield during the local plan period.

“The agency understands that the proposed development will need significant infrastructure investment.

“We will provide the investment needed to support development at Chalgrove and address any impacts.”

Mr Glendinning said the Watlington neighbourhood plan group had secured agreements relating to 100 per cent of the land and two-0thirds of the funding for its proposed “edge road”.

“The HCA commits to providing the remaining funding required to deliver the edge road to support this local priority,” he added. He said that the Benson neighbourhood plan team had secured agreements for 100 per cent of land and 85 per cent of funding for a road around the village.

The agency would commit to providing the remaining funding for the road, he said.

In Cuxham, the agency would provide funding for “appropriate” traffic measures and was discussing these with representatives from Cuxham and Easington parish.

Its plans for the airfield also include a new secondary school and two primary schools, a medical centre, community facilities and public open space throughout the development.

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