Sunday, 16 May 2021

Doctor’s new house plan divides villagers

PLANS for a new house in Ewelme are set to be approved despite opposition from the parish council and a number of residents.

Dr Mark Enfield wants to build the single-storey property on land to the north of Fields End Farmhouse, off Parsons Lane, with off-road parking, turning areas and landscaping.

An unmade access road which serves the application site, 10 existing properties and the field to the west would lead to a parking and turning area that could accommodate three spaces.

Ewelme Parish Council disagreed with Dr Enfield’s claim that the house would be infill development and said that it would increase traffic on the bridleway.

There were 21 objections to the scheme and 11 people in support.

Opponents say that allowing the development would conflict with the results of recent appeals in the area and could set a precedent for further development of land beyond the village boundary.

They argue that neighbouring Chaucer Court is already a congested area with insufficient parking space, which has restricted access for service vehicles on numerous occasions. 

Furthermore, walkers, schoolchildren and horse riders use the adjacent bridle paths which converge at the site entrance, raising safety concerns.

Opponents also claim the development would cause harm to the rural setting of the village, the openness of the site, the special character of the conservation area and the settings of nearby listed buildings.

Supporters says businesses and the school need the village population to increase so that local services continue to be supported, particularly as Ewelme has an ageing population. They say there is  a need for new housing, particularly smaller units for young families.

Supporters say the design of the house is in keeping with neighbouring buildings and its scale would not harm views of the countryside or village from the footpath.

They also say the driveway on to the bridleway has been carefully planned to avoid walkers and horseriders.

In a report to South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee, planning officer David Millinship says planning policy limits new housing in “smaller villages” to less than 0.2 hectares, enough for five to six houses.

He adds: “In this case the site is approximately 0.1 hectare with the proposal being to construct one dwelling.”

Mr Millinship says he noted the comments from a recent appeal that was dismissed over the construction of a house on land at North Barn, Chaucer Court, but said Dr Enfield’s proposal would not have the same impact. He says: “The appeal proposal would clearly have extended the village into the open countryside.

“The application site has a more domestic character and is seen within the context of surrounding residential properties rather than the larger open field that extends to the west.”

He says the lane to access the site is wide enough to enable two vehicles to pass and the site is large enough to accommodate off-road parking and turning areas to serve the new house.

Mr Millinship says the development would not harm the character and appearance of the street scene, the special character of the village conservation area or settings of nearby listed buildings.

Sufficient mitigation could be secured to minimise impacts on biodiversity, the environment and highways network. 

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, has not objected.

The committee will meet on Wednesday.

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