Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Neighbours fight plan to redevelop bungalow site

NEIGHBOURS have objected to plans to demolish a bungalow in Peppard and build three new houses in its place.

They say the development in Grange Avenue would harm the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and lead to issues with access, mains sewage, tree roots and parking.

An application for five homes on the land was refused by South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, in 2016 and an appeal was dismissed by an inspector.

Now Giles and Susannah Lovegrove, from Goring Heath, have submitted a new plan for the 0.6-hectare site, which borders the AONB.

A planning statement by Hunter Page Planning, of Cheltenham, says: “A detailed assessment undertaken as part of this application identifies that the site reads very much as a domestic residential garden as opposed to having a strong connection with the open countryside.

“It is therefore considered that from a landscape perspective, subject to a suitable design and layout, the site could accommodate residential development without having a harmful impact on the AONB. The external appearance of the buildings will reflect the site’s mature planting.

“While the intention is for the dwellings to be two-storey, the overall building height will be reduced by sinking the lower level into the ground and the remaining façade of the ground floor is clad in glass to reflect the surrounding greenery.

“The proposed site is in a sustainable location with good access to local services and facilities.”

The current access on to Grange Avenue would be retained but the number of parking spaces would increase from four to 20.

Neighbour Scott Wilson says the development would extend the boundary of the village.

He says: “This application should be seen as the thin end of the wedge, trying to open up protected land to development and no doubt four or five properties will appear on a subsequent application.

“Development on this land will impact neighbours through additional traffic flows and the safety of the children at the local school where there are no pavements. The local road infrastructure cannot support additional houses.

“The plan tries to give the impression that a fire appliance can access the site. I do not believe safe and quick access is possible given the turning space on Grange Avenue and the tightness of the access lane.

“Delays on access could cause fire to spread rapidly through the trees, putting neighbours in heightened danger.

“Modern families living in houses of those illustrated will likely have more than two cars each. There is no space for these additional cars that won’t compromise access safety.”

Diana Greenfield, of Grange Avenue, says: “The last application was rejected because of the encroachment into the AONB and just by reducing the numbers does not alter that.

“What guarantee once the principle [of development] has been established that they could then, with the support of the new residents, develop more properties?

“The road cannot take any more heavy traffic — the road surface is already appalling without the building works and extra houses which would mean more traffic.”

Hadley Cooper, of Drays Lane, said he was concerned about more traffic and the effect on protected trees. He said: “Another 10 spaces could impact on the root protection zone. I feel that a more in-depth survey needs to be done in view of the tree preservation order on a number of trees on the boundary.

“Traffic on Church Lane will increase considerably and this will affect the state of the road outside the primary school, which has had numerous repairs over the last few years.”

The 2016 application by Mrs J Westrope and Mrs S Evans was refused by South Oxfordshire District Council, which said it would extend the village envelope and detract from the character of the AONB.

Planning inspector Richard Aston upheld the council’s decision, saying: “I found the site to essentially have the appearance of an open and mown field rather than a maintained formal garden area and it has a strong connection to the open countryside and a rural character and appearance that positively contributes to the AONB and the landscape setting of Rotherfield Peppard.”

Peppard Parish Council will discuss the application on March 19 and the district council will make a decision by April 5.

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