Sunday, 14 August 2022

Pig farm could be turned into housing estate

PLANS have been drawn up for 183 new homes at a pig farm in Watlington.

Archstone and Bloor Homes have applied for permission to redevelop a large plot of land between the B4009 Britwell Road and the B480 Cuxham Road.

The development would comprise a mixture of one- and two-bedroom flats and two-, three- and four-bedroom homes, with 40 per cent of them being “affordable”, and 650 sq m of space for commercial or light industrial use.

The site has been earmarked for 140 homes in Watlington’s draft neighbourhood plan, which is due to go to referendum early next year.

However, the volunteers compiling the plan say they will not oppose the application as there is high demand for smaller properties.

The estate would also include part of an “edge street”, or bypass, around Watlington to ease congestion in the town centre.

This road would run from Britwell Road, through the development and link up to the Cuxham Road roundabout before running to the west of Willow Close and joining Pyrton Lane.

The developers say the estate would include large areas of open public space and feature an informal kickabout area and a “trim trail” with several pieces of fitness equipment.

In their application to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, the companies say: “This site offers the opportunity to create an attractive and connected new town edge that helps meet the growth aspirations of Watlington and provides a mix of new housing for future generations.

“The proposals include an area for employment offer, plentiful high-quality green space and a sensitive green edge to the surrounding countryside.

“The scheme will provide a mix of new, high-quality family housing set in a safe, walkable neighbourhood with much-needed new accommodation.”

Gill Bindoff, facilitator of the neighbourhood plan forum’s co-ordination group, said: “The developers have listened to our objectives for that site and certainly made an effort to incorporate some of them.

“The most important thing is that they’ve provided a route for the realignment of the B4009, which is a major part of our neighbourhood plan to try to remove through-traffic from the town centre.

“While we don’t have written proof, the messages we’re getting from developers who are interested in other sites is that they understand this route is needed and are building proper provision for the road into their planning proposals.”

She said she wouldn’t oppose the higher number of homes than envisaged in the plan.

“We know there’s high demand for two-bedroom and three-bedroom houses, both market housing and housing association properties,” said Mrs Bindoff.

“They’ve explained that, from a commercial point of view, they need to build more houses when they’re proposing a higher proportion of small dwellings.

“We’re very pleased that this is a fully detailed application which the applicants have discussed with us. They’ve shown a willingness to deliver a commercially successful site but also what the parish has been telling them it needs.”

David Joseph, a senior planning director for Bloor, said: “We take particular care when planning new developments, working closely with the local community and authority.”

The district council will make a decision on the application by November 20.

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