Monday, 18 January 2021

Villagers set to be defeated in fight against 20 new homes

Villagers set to be defeated in fight against 20 new homes

PLANS for 20 new homes in Goring are set to be approved despite opposition from neighbours.

South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning officers have backed an application for outline planning permission by Frenbury Developments and Elegant Homes, of Caversham, to develop a 2.24-hectare field to the east of Manor Road between Little Croft and Elmcroft.

The site was earmarked for 20 units in the Goring neighbourhood plan.

The development would comprise a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced units with between two and four bedrooms on the eastern half of the site. Forty per cent would be “affordable” with prices or rents fixed below market value.

Access would be off Manor Road via a track running across the western half of the site, which is at a lower level so is considered unfit for development due to a risk of flooding.

Part of the developed ground would be raised and there would be an emergency access off Elmcroft, which pedestrians and cyclists could use.

The exact position and size of the houses would be decided separately but the developers say they would match nearby architecture.

Forty-seven residents, most of whom live near the site, have objected.

They say the proposal goes against the neighbourhood plan because it only called for housing in the lower-risk flood zone and didn’t recommend raising other areas.

They also claim the development would have an impact on the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so should only be allowed under “exceptional circumstances”.

There are also concerns about light pollution, an increase in traffic on surrounding streets and the impact on trees and wildlife.

The owner of another site that was earmarked in the plan as a back-up option has objected, saying some of the houses should go on his field off Gatehampton Road instead.

The Chilterns Conservation Board is also opposed to the development, saying it would erode the boundary between Goring and the AONB and that not enough has been done to address the impact on views from the south.

Goring Parish Council didn’t support or oppose the scheme but said residents’ concerns hadn’t been addressed and the access road could become flooded, cutting off the houses.

However, planning officers insist the plans are acceptable as long as the developers contribute towards local infrastructure, which they have agreed in principle.

The district council wants £3,720 for refuse and recycling bins, £458 for street naming, £6,120 for public art projects and administration fees of £682 while Oxfordshire County Council, the education authority, wants £86,651 towards extra places at Langtree School in Woodcote.

The developers would also pay a community infrastructure levy, which is yet to be calculated, but the parish council would receive 25 per cent of this for producing the neighbourhood plan.

Officers say the applicants’ flood risk assessment, which objectors tried to challenge by hiring their own experts, has proved it is safe to build on the land and any impact on views could be offset through landscaping.

The development would become less visible over the years as planting around the perimeter grows.

They also say there are “exceptional” reasons for building on the AONB because Goring lies wholly within it and needs new houses to support its economic and social wellbeing.

A report says: “Given the revisions made to the scheme and the detailed mitigation proposed, I consider that it represents an appropriate response to the constraints and opportunities of the site and its surroundings.

“The scale would be appropriate to the context of the site... the affordable housing would meet the required standards and be of a size and type which meets the requirements of those in housing need.

“I believe the development could be achieved without any adverse impacts on neighbours in terms of light, outlook and privacy... a suitable layout could be achieved that would provide an appropriate level of outdoor space for future residents.”

The county council didn’t object and the Environment Agency said raising land out of a flood zone was acceptable.

The district council’s planning committee was expected to make a decision on Wednesday.

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