Sunday, 17 January 2021

20 new homes approved despite fears of flooding

20 new homes approved despite fears of flooding

PLANS for 20 new homes in Goring have been approved despite opposition from neighbours.

South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee accepted a recommendation by officers to permit the development on a field between Manor Road and Elmcroft on the southern edge of the village.

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

Frenbury and Elegant Homes are planning a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced units with between two and four bedrooms on the eastern half. Access would be off Manor Road with emergency access off Elmcroft.

Part of the housing area is prone to flooding so would be raised to reduce the risk, which the Environment Agency said was acceptable. Forty-seven neighbours objected because the neighbourhood plan only called for housing in the lower-risk flood zone and didn’t advise raising other areas.

They said fewer units should be built with the remainder going on a field off Gatehampton Road which was earmarked as a reserve site. They also said the scheme would harm views of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Andrew Smith, for the objectors, urged councillors to turn it down as the housing would be built at three times the density of surrounding development.

He said: “It would create a continuous ribbon of built form that’s completely out of keeping with the settlement edge and harmful to its wider setting. This is one of the most heavily protected and beautiful parts of South Oxfordshire… cramming 20 houses together on raised islands on a flood plain is wrong. The proposal is incongruous, overbearing and urbanising.”

John Neville, for the applicants, said any housing sites in Goring would affect the AONB but this was among the “least worst” options and experts had proved there was no increased flood risk.

He said: “That site has never flooded but we’ve designed it to be resilient to the worst case flood scenarios. This February was the wettest on record yet groundwater levels were more than 4m below the surface.”

The committee accepted that views would be affected but said new housing was needed and there was nowhere better. Councillor Jo Robb said: “There are no good choices when it comes to our beautiful AONB but reluctantly I support this.”

The applicants will have to pay at least £97,000 towards community infrastructure and services, including extra places at Langtree School in Woodcote.

Goring Parish Council, which withdrew its concerns shortly before the meeting, will receive a share of the money for producing a neighbourhood plan.

Meanwhile, another developer has scaled back its proposal for another neighbourhood plan site following objection from the parish council.

McAdden Homes, of Reading, wanted to build 52 units on a field between Wallingford Road and Springhill Road but the council said this was too many. The site is earmarked for 46 homes in the plan.

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