Saturday, 25 September 2021

Housing plan draft almost completed

THE first draft of Goring’s neighbourhood plan should be published within a fortnight.

The document, which names four sites where up to 94 houses should be built by 2027 to meet Government targets, will be submitted to the parish council by the volunteers who are writing it.

If it passes a referendum in the new year, it will become part of South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning policy and will have to be considered when planning applications are decided.

It was hoped that the plan would go to a referendum before Christmas but it is slightly behind schedule because of changing predictions about future housing quotas for the village.

The district council is updating its own local plan, which sets targets for towns and “larger villages”, and at one point Goring expected to be allocated another 190 dwellings by 2033.

That figure was reduced to 140 but the neighbourhood plan group is working to an even lower target, saying the village is constrained by the River Thames and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The four sites are:

⚫ A corner of the field behind houses in Springhill Road, which could take about 40 homes.

⚫ The eastern half of the field between Manor Road and Elmcroft (about 25 homes).

⚫ The car park and warehouse behind Thames Court off High Street (about 16).

⚫ The field behind Cleeve Cottages off Icknield Road (about 10).

Mike Stares, co-chairman of the volunteer group, told a meeting of the parish council on Monday: “In all my life in business I’ve never had to deal with such shifting sands.

“The housing numbers coming from the district council have been up and down like a yo-yo but we will issue the [draft plan] within a fortnight.

“We aren’t going to be distracted by any further announcements from the district council, no matter what they say.

“We’re putting forward fewer houses than they’re asking but they accept that there are constraints.

“We’ve also put forward some very specific policies for each site on things like planting, footpaths and cycle paths and consider them necessary for development to be acceptable.”

The plan will call for most houses to have three bedrooms or fewer to cater for young families and will also include three “strategic projects” — parking and traffic in the village centre, rejuvenation of the village centre and the provision of a new primary school.

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