Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Parish councillors back new application for 26 homes

PLANS to build up to 26 more homes in Sonning Common have been endorsed by the parish council.

L&Q Estates wants to develop 1.47 hectares of land near Essex Way, which is earmarked for development in the village’s neighbourhood plan.

The scheme would include 10 “affordable” units.

The site is not in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

The neighbourhood plan passed a referendum in 2016 and is currently being updated to ensure it meets higher housing targets and protects the village from speculative development.

The parish council’s planning committee has written to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, saying that members fully support the application subject to conditions that:

• Overflow parking in Kennylands Road is avoided at all costs by ensuring the adequacy of parking provision on-site.

• The roadside canopy is not cut back or removed.

• The 10m landscape buffer at the back of the site is retained.

The letter says: “Kennylands Road is a main vehicular route to the village for all traffic, including public buses.

“Obstructions on this route would be extremely disruptive and potentially hazardous to road users.” It also says: “The satisfactory screening of the neighbouring AONB through the maintenance of appropriate vegetation in this area is a site policy within the neighbourhood plan.”

It says the landscape buffer is to protect the landscape setting of the village and to minimise the impact on the AONB from the development.

The council also welcomed a proposal by the district council for it to be given responsibility for managing and maintaining the public open space at the site.

L&Q Estates, previously Gallagher Estates, submitted an outline application in September 2016 for 95 homes on a large version of the site.

The district council rejected this, saying it conflicted with the neighbourhood plan, failed to secure “affordable” housing or infrastructure and would have a detrimental impact on the character and setting of the AONB.

The developer appealed but this was dismissed by a planning inspector after a public inquiry.

The inspector said the scheme would cause harm to the AONB, the village and what he called “valued landscape”.

The district council was due to make a decision on the latest application by February 28.

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