Wednesday, 02 December 2020

55 homes added in fresh draft of neighbourhood plan

ANOTHER 55 homes are to be added to Sonning Common’s neighbourhood development plan.

ANOTHER 55 homes are to be added to Sonning Common’s neighbourhood development plan.

This means that almost 200 new homes are now likely to be built in the village over the next 12 years.

It also means that two sites identified as reserve land for development are now almost certain to be built on â?? one at Chiltern Edge School deemed suitable for 35 homes and the other behind Kennylands Road, where 20 homes could be built.

The plan will now be redrafted following advice fromSouth Oxfordshire District Council to Sonning Common Parish Council that the village’s allocation of 138 homes should be increased.

This is in order to take into account the Strategic Housing Market Assessment, which is due to be published in the autumn and is expected to recommend that the village’s allocation is increased by up to 60 homes.

The district council also expressed “concern” that only about half the number of homes in the original plan were on sites outside the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Barrie Greenwood, a parish councillor and chairman of the neighbourhood plan working party, said: “The feedback from the district council showed our plan is on the right lines but highlighted their concerns over the wording and detail in some of our policies as well as the allocation of sites for development.

“The Chilterns Conservation Board also showed reservations about the allocation of AONB sites over non-AONB sites.”

The new draft plan will include sites as follows:

• Sixty homes at Lea Meadow, not in the AONB.

• Fifty homes on land off the back of Ashford Avenue, in the AONB.

• A recreation area next door, north of Chiltern Edge School, in the AONB.

• Thirty-seven homes on land currently used as Chiltern Edge School field, not in the AONB.

• Twenty-six homes at Kennylands Road, not in the AONB.

• Twenty homes behind Kennylands Road, not in the AONB.

This makes a total of 193 homes.

Cllr Greenwood said: “It may seem a big increase but we believe this is an educated guess at the increase of about 50 or 60 homes that would be a requirement of the revised SHMA document.”

He said he was determined to ensure the village had a new recreation ground despite reservations by the conservation board and district council about the site allocated as it is within the AONB.

Cllr Greenwood said: “We look at nearby villages such as Kidmore End, Stoke Row, Checkendon and Rotherfield Peppard, which all have a recreation ground.

“We are one of the largest villages in the district yet we do not have one. We should be able to have our own football and cricket site in our  village.”

Councillor Leigh Rawlings, who is a member of the working group, said the increase in homes might seem “dramatic” but added: “The local plan in 2031 will take us further forward so the extra homes cover for that as well.

“We spent a lot of time with a planning officer dealing with the district council’s concerns.”

Cllr Greenwood said there had been considerable interest in the village from developers submitting planning applications irrespective of the plan.

“This creates a lot of concern but it should be our proposals that are part of the allocation process of homes,” he said.

All consultees on the plan have been informed about the changes.

The new draft will go back to the district council which, if it is satisfied, will then stage a six-week public  consultation.

The process then has to be approved by a planning inspector before the final draft is put to a referendum.

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