Monday, 15 August 2022

Village hall unsuitable for appeal hearing...

COUNCILLORS in Sonning Common are unhappy that the venue for a planning appeal has not been decided.

Gallagher Estates, of Warwick, appealed after its plans for 95 homes in Kennylands Road were rejected by South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee a year ago.

But the Planning Inspectorate does not want the hearing heard at Sonning Common village hall and instead wants to use Henley Rugby Club.

Deputy parish clerk Ros Varnes told a meeting of Sonning Common Parish Council: “The inspectorate has some concern over the siting of the tables.

“There are three main parties and the district council and developer would sit opposite each other and we would be in front of the public gallery.

“We are going to explore finding somewhere else locally but otherwise they want to use Henley Rugby Club.”

Councillor Tom Fort said using the rugby club would make it difficult for many villagers to attend.

He added: “The inspector wants it to be open and accessible to members of the public but it seems to be they don’t want to put it somewhere where people can come at all. People would like to come and listen.”

Councillor Carole Lewis said: “The whole point of a public inquiry is that people are able to attend. There are a lot of people in the village who are passionate about this.”

Councillor Leigh Rawlins suggested the appeal was heard at Chiltern Edge School in Reades Lane.

Councillor Chrissie Phillips-Tilbury said a public hearing on Greys Green golf course had been heard at the village hall.

A spokesman for the inspectorate said the venue was still to be decided and it was working with the parish council to find a nearby alternative.

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