Tuesday, 01 December 2020

‘Unneighbourly’ plan for housing at farm

Plans to build seven houses on an agricultural site in Benson are causing concern among residents.

Plans to build seven houses on an agricultural site in Benson are causing concern among residents.

Three three-bedroom houses and four four-bedroom houses will be built in Churchfield Farm if approval is granted by South Oxfordshire District Council.

About ten residents of neighbouring properties in Pensfield, Churchfield Lane and Oxford Road attended a recent council meeting to discuss the development.

John Phillingham, of Pensfield, said he was “pragmatic” about houses being built on the site but was unhappy about the size of the development.

“I feel very strongly that the seven houses proposed is an attempt to squeeze a quart into a pint pot,” he said.

“Four dwellings similar in size to the surrounding houses would be acceptable and “in keeping”. He was also unhappy about the site’s close proximity to Benson Primary School. The access to the site is approximately 15 metres from the Oxford Road School.

“The significant increase in traffic flow generated so close to the school, on what is an already a dangerous section of road, must raise serious safety concerns for pupils, staff and the general public,” Mr Phillingham said.

“Speeding generally and parking-caused congestion at the school during pick-up/drop-off times are perennial and, as yet, unsolved issues - before any development occurs. These concerns can only be exacerbated by this development.” John Richer, of Churchfield Lane, said he was concerned that mature walnut and silver birch trees would be cut down if planning permission was granted.

“The houses as displayed on the plans are within a metre of our boundary and certainly they are within the root protection order of three trees,” he said. “I would like to be reassured that these trees will not be killed.

“It is quite proper that houses should be built there, I am quite in favour of that, but it is the size of the houses we are specifically worried about and all that follows from that.”

But Alastair Jack, of Pensfield, said he “no problem” with the plans.

Councillor Dave Rushton said he did not not believe that the 18 spaces allotted for the seven houses were adequate and suggested residents and visitors would be likely to park on Oxford Road. Councillor Pat Peers said the village needed smaller houses than those proposed.

“We have got youngsters in this village crying out for houses,” she said. “They need houses they can afford and we are not giving them to them.”

Chairman Jon Fowler said Oxford Road was “busy enough without adding to the issue”.

Councillors voted to object to the application on the grounds that it is unneighbourly and out of character with the surrounding area.

They also stated that they were concerned about access and congestion and proposed that trees on the site and the adjacent sites should be retained.

The district council is expected to make a decision on the application by August 8.

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