Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Developer plans 140 homes on land despite dual ownership issues

A TOTAL of 140 houses could be built on farmland on the outskirts of Goring.

A TOTAL of 140 houses could be built on farmland on the outskirts of Goring.

Developer Archstone Projects, of Bristol, has put forward a field at the southern end of Gatehampton Road for inclusion in the village’s neighbourhood plan.

It says the plot, owned by Mark Jeffries and his family and Richard Cardy, is available immediately and could be developed within three years.

However David Wilkins, chairman of Goring’s neighbourhood plan steering group, says there are ” ownership issues” to be resolved.

The 12.8-hectare site is to the east of the residential street and immediately south of Sheepcot recreation ground and falls within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Archstone says the site could accommodate a “balanced mix” of dwellings, including starter homes, family houses and units for older people, including some with care services.

Some of the properties would be classed as affordable, meaning their purchase or rental price would be fixed below the market rate.

The housing estate could have woodland, allotments and a community orchard as well as public open space with footpath and cycle access. The developer says it would be designed “sensitively” with “substantial areas of landscaping to help mitigate the visual impact”.

If planning permission was granted, the company would pay towards improving amenities elsewhere in Goring.

The site is the only one to be put forward for the neighbourhood plan so far but others are expected to follow as there are at least 11 potential development plots in the village.

Last summer these sites were included in a public consultation by South Oxfordshire District Council, which is working on a new local plan to decide the area’s housing targets for the period up to 2031.

This was prompted by the Government’s strategic housing market assessment, which ssaid the district council must find space for another 3,600 or so houses on top of its current quota of 11,487.

Goring’s target is likely to increase to at least 105 and could go as high as 140.

Building only at Gatehampton Road would meet the maximum increase but might prove controversial as some residents opposed development on a single site during a consultation on Goring’s housing options last summer.

They said it would affect the rural character of the area and make it harder to integrate new residents with the community. Others said that developing a single site would be more cost-effective and allow for the provision of more affordable housing.

Mr Wilkins said: “In some ways Gatehampton Road is an obvious development site but it depends on whether the landowners are willing to release it.

“We understand there are some problems with the current proposal as there is more than one landowner involved and it is not yet clear that it has everyone’s backing.

“It was one option in the district council’s local plan consultation but it was never certain that all those sites had the landowner’s consent. It’s possible that a new submission may be made for part of the site instead.”

Mr Wilkins said the owner of another site had discussed it informally with the steering group.

He said: “We hope to hear from them as soon as possible and we know other people are also working on submissions, though that’s all we can say at this stage.

“The final list of sites will be chosen based on a clear set of criteria that will be set by the people of Goring.”

Meanwhile, a separate proposal for 27 homes on the outskirts of Goring has now increased the number to 35.

Elegant Homes, of Caversham, and Frenbury Developments have amended their outline planning application for a 2.67-hectare field between Manor Road and Elmcroft.

Residents and the parish council objected when the application was submitted in November. They said the site was too far from the village centre, wouldn’t meet growing demand for smaller, cheaper homes, would expand the built-up area of the village and was inappropriate for the AONB.

The developers’ agent David Shaw said the figure had increased “to make more efficient use of the land while still keeping the overall density in keeping with the surrounding area”.

He said: “The increased number provides for more smaller homes for youngsters as well as homes suitable for the elderly, as suggested by the parish council. We will be pleased to adjust the layout further for any comments regarding landscaping.”

The council maintains its objection, saying the changes don’t address its concerns about over-development.

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