Saturday, 28 November 2020

Developer appeals against refusal of plans for 95 homes

A DEVELOPER has appealed after its plans for 95 homes in Sonning Common were refused planning permission.

Gallagher Estates, from Warwick, wants to develop 6.15 hectares of land off Kennylands Road, which is earmarked for 26 homes in the village’s neighbourhood plan.

The application was refused consent by South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee in March on the grounds that it was contrary to the neighbourhood plan and would comprise too many homes.

Now a government planning inspector will hear the appeal at a five-day planning inquiry. In the appeal documents, Katherine Jones, of Gallagher Estates’s agent Barton Wilmore, of Reading, said: “The public inquiry procedure is appropriate in this instance as the issues relating to this appeal are complex and will require the preparation of technical evidence to be given by expert witnesses on matters including alleged conflict with development policies, including those within the relevant made neighbourhood plan, housing land supply and landscape and visual impact.

“We intend to be represented in the appeal by counsel as material facts and matters of expert opinion are in dispute and formal cross- examination of witnesses is required and legal submissions will be made on a number of matters.

“Furthermore, the planning application generated significant public interest in the local area and an inquiry will enable all interested persons the opportunity to make submissions to the appeal proceedings.”

When the district council refused permission head of planning Adrian Duffield said: “The proposed development would diminish the role of the site in protecting and enhancing a distinctive and valued landscape which contributes to the identity of Sonning Common.

“It would therefore result in the loss of the distinctive landscape boundaries of the existing settlement and harm the valued landscape setting of the Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty and the wider dipslope landscape character of the area.”

Planning officer Phil Moule had recommended the application was approved.

A date for the inquiry has not yet been set.

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