Saturday, 27 February 2021

‘New roads needed for airfield housing’

‘New roads needed for airfield housing’

CAMPAIGNERS are calling for new infrastructure to be built before construction of 3,000 new homes near Watlington begins, if planning permission is granted.

Homes England, a government agency, wants to redevelop Chalgrove Airfield and also build two primary schools, a secondary school and a sixth-form college.

There would also be shops, a healthcare hub, community and leisure facilities and parks as well as 40,000 sq m of employment space.

The site is included in South Oxfordshire District Council’s new local plan, which has been approved by an independent planning inspector.

But ampaign group Chalgrove Shield has objected to the development because it says there is a lack of road infrastructure in the area to support the certain increase in traffic.

It wants Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, to impose a Grampian condition in the event that the plans are approved.

This would prevent building work starting until off-site works, such as infrastructure, have been completed on land not controlled by the applicant.

The group says: “Sadly, the planning application that Homes England has submitted does not envisage the roads infrastructure being completed until well after construction has begun, so local B class roads would have to cope with existing traffic and construction traffic for several years until the construction of bypasses iwas complete.

“One possible way for the county council to prevent this chaos is to use its planning powers to impose a Grampian condition of any development, not just in Chalgrove, but at all the proposed local plan sites.

“The imposition of this condition would ensure that the developer would have to carry out the complete off-site construction works for all the bypasses, access routes and construction traffic routes before the housebuilding phases commence.”

In December Ken Glendinning, project director of Homes England, said the infrastructure requirements had been considered by the inspector and tested by an independent viability assessment commissioned by the district council.

He added: “There is currently a planning application with the council. Where concerns have been raised in relation to the detail of this application, we are discussing these with the relevant authorities and will provide further information if required.”

In October a letter signed by 23 parishes and two South Oxfordshire district councillors opposed to the development was sent to Henley MP John Howell.

The parishes said they would be “materially affected” by the development, which would increase the population of Chalgrove from 2,700 to 9,800.

Mr Howell said there was nothing he could do about the choice of the site for new housing.

The district council is due to make a decision on the application by April 16.

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