Sunday, 22 September 2019

Backland house plan opposed by villagers

A MAN’S plans for a new house in Sonning Common have been opposed by residents and the parish council.

Cliff Readings, of Woodlands Road, wants to demolish his garage to create an access to the proposed detached property in his garden.

He has submitted an application to build in principle to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority.

But other villagers say the house would be unsuitable in the area.

Francesca Lavelle, of Peppard Road, said: “I am opposed to back garden development of this scale in this area.

“We are privileged to live in close proximity to an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty. I believe there are associated responsibilities towards preventing construction in unsuitable areas.

“Disrupting the neighbourhood, the local environment and the natural habitat of wildlife is something many are very wary of at this time.”

George Greenwood, of Grove Road, said Woodlands Road was designated as an open space in the Sonning Common neighbourhood plan.

He said: “A new dwelling built in the back garden would have a significantly detrimental effect on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty... [and] impact badly on the character of this long-established residential area with its plot land layout on the edge of open countryside.”

Mr Greenwood said a similar application was made in 2015 and rejected on appeal.

He added: “There are no changes which would change or affect that decision, so this backland site still remains unsuitable for development.”

The parish council agreed to recommend the application is refused after hearing an objection by vice-chairman John Stoves, although he did not vote after declaring an interest.

Councillor Stoves said the previous application was refused on the grounds that the development would affect the character and appearance of the area and cause noise and disturbance to neighbours.

“Surely then any dwelling built on this site would have the same effect,” he said.

“It would extend the building line towards the AONB and set a precedent for an unacceptable form of backland development with an ‘urbanising impact on the edge of the designated area’.

“This being so, I believe the site is no more suitable for development in 2019 than it was in 2016, whether it be by full application or through the planning in principle route.”

The district council is expected to make a decision by September 10.

• Bewley Homes will not install low-level lighting by a footpath in Sonning Common. The parish council has urged the developer to complete work along the path linking its Lea Meadow development with Kennylands Road. Deputy parish clerk Ros Varnes said she had spoken to the firm but added: “If they have to install lighting it would mean a new planning application and they didn’t want to go down that road.”

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