Sunday, 29 November 2020

Developer’s plan for 100 homes called premature

A DEVELOPER has been criticised for drawing up plans for 100 homes between Watlington and Pyrton before either

A DEVELOPER has been criticised for drawing up plans for 100 homes between Watlington and Pyrton before either place has completed a neighbourhood plan.

Providence Land wants to develop a 14-hectare site off Pyrton Lane, which is currently agricultural land in Pyrton parish.

The company applied to South Oxfordshire District Council for outline planning permission for the scheme, which would include 40 per cent affordable housing, public open space, car parking, landscaping and drainage work. 

It comes as both Watlington and Pyrton prepare drafts of their neighbourhood plans designed to give their residents more say of where development should take place.

The Watlington neighbourhood plan forum co-ordination group has criticised the plans, saying it forces consideration of only one possible site when there are many other options.

Facilitator Gill Bindoff said: “We’re sorry that we’re going to need to look at this in advance of being able to have our draft plan in place.

“We want to be able to look at the whole in regard to the planning situation in Watlington and what’s in the best interests of the town. It would have been brilliant if developers had held off until we were going to be able to look at it in the context of our plan.” Mrs Bindoff admitted that Providence Land had made it “absolutely clear” that it intended to make an application before a neighbourhood plan was in place.

“We have known it was a possibility for a very long time and whatever final decision is made we will try to make sure we get the best for Watlington,” she said. “The site is not within our neighbourhood plan boundary, so we’re working together with Pyrton to make sure our plans do make sense as it were.”

John Curtis, chairman of Pyrton Parish Council, said the district council had already ruled out the site for development site because of the “catastrophic” impact it would have on the Chilterns AONB.

The site is located on the northern edge of Watlington with Icknield Community College and allotment gardens forming the southern boundary. To the north lies agricultural land and Pyrton beyond. To the immediate east is Watlington recreational ground.

A design and access statement by Howard Sharp & Partners on behalf of the developer said it would be a “high quality” residential development. It said: “The design for the site has been developed following detailed analysis, together with engagement with the local community.

“[It] complies with national and local design policy, responding to local character and context and protecting local distinctiveness while ensuring an attractive environment for existing and future residents.”

Providence says the site will form part of a package of housing sites to the north west, west and south-west of Watlington that will each deliver a section of the alternative traffic route for the town.

It says: “It is anticipated that the primary route would be in the form of a broad transport corridor with 3m verges and wide footpaths/cycle routes alongside the verge.”

The primary route would run diagonally from Pyrton Lane, which bounds the site on two sides, on the northern edge to the western boundary. A “primary street” would also run around the edge of the site.

The district council is due to make a decision on the application by November 14.

• South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee has deferred a decision of an application by Brim Developments for 17 new homes on a landlocked site off Blacklands Road, Benson, in order for members to make a site visit. Planning officers had recommended refusal.

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