Friday, 19 August 2022

Developer appeals against refusal of 30 homes

A DEVELOPER has appealed after having plans for 30 new homes in Sonning Common rejeced.

T A Fisher, of Theale, was refused permission last year to develop 1.5 hectares of land off Kennylands Road by South Oxfordshire District Council planning committee.

The committee said the plans went against the village’s neighbourhood plan, which earmarks the land for 22 homes, and the layout and density of the development would have a negative impact on the character and appearance of the area.

The decision, by six votes to three with one abstention, went against the recommendation of planning officers.

The appeal will take the form of a discussion led by a planning inspector and involve both parties in order to make it more informal than a full public inquiry.

The developer and the council will present their cases and the inspector will ask questions. Sonning Common Parish Council and some residents may also be able to speak. The hearing is expected to last a day.

Katherine Miles, planning director for Pro Vision, the developer’s agent, claims the district council is unable to demonstrate it has a three-year land supply of sites for new housing.

She says the planning officers agreed with the developers that the development would respect the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in terms of the number of houses, density and layout,

She says: “The benefits in terms of the supply of housing, not just in terms of the numbers but also the provision of 40 per cent affordable housing, is considerable.

“The achievability of 30 dwellings, including 12 affordable homes, would make a worthwhile contribution towards the unmet need for affordable housing and in the appellant’s view this should weigh heavily in favour of allowing this appeal.

“The provision of a new area of public open space within the appeal site is a notable benefit, as is increasing the population within a service village where additional residents will help to sustain existing shops, services and community facilities.

“The appeal proposal would not have any significant adverse effects on the character and appearance of the area as the layout has been designed to have regard to the local context.”

Meanwhile, the developer has submitted a revised application for 25 homes with a new layout to stop overlooking with lower ridge heights and create a landscape buffer on the eastern boundary.

Steve Davies, development director at T A Fisher, said the company had worked with the parish council and residents to address their concerns.

The developer has previously had applications for 50 homes and 33 homes on the land rejected.

• Last month, the parish and district councils won a fight against Gallagher Estates, of Warwick, for 95 new homes off Kennylands Road. A planning inspector said the proposal was against the neighbourhood plan and would have a negative effect on the countryside.

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