Friday, 04 December 2020

Planning chief won’t rule out housing sites

RULING out sites for large-scale housing development in Kidmore End would be premature, according to a council chief.

Adrian Duffield, head of planning at South Oxfordshire District Council, said that to exclude any site from consideration required “robust justification”.

He was responding to Sue Biggs, chairwoman of Kidmore End Parish Council, who wrote to council leader Jane Murphy asking for three sites to be withdrawn from consideration.

The sites are Palmer’s Riding Stables, off Peppard Road, Emmer Green, and Reading Golf Club, which are both in Kidmore End parish, and land at Playhatch, east of Caversham Park Road.

All three have been put forward, along with 12 others, for possible inclusion in the district council’s new local plan, which will allocate sites for 20,000 new homes.

Councillor Biggs said the parish council was “seriously concerned” about the threat of two major developments on the boundary with Reading, which she said would have a negative impact on the countryside.

Mr Duffield said that public consultation would be held irrespective of whether the sites justified exclusion from a “strategic allocation”.

He continued: “That consultation will be an opportunity to have an informed view on the council decision on strategic allocations in a revised local plan and, importantly, the evidence that the council has used to make that decision.

“This will mean that none of the 15 sites being assessed will have any perceived benefit of having been subjected to a consultation.

“An early dismissal of any of the sites without a robust justification will make it more difficult to argue that any sites proposed to be dismissed should not be allocated.

“It would also make it difficult for the council to justify its proposed allocation of sites if we do not consider those sites against the reasonable alternatives on a fair and equal basis.”

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