Monday, 08 August 2022

Councillors want 183 homes but fear road chaos

PARISH councillors in Watlington have objected to plans for 183 new homes despite the proposed site being earmarked for development in the town’s neighbourhood plan.

Archstone and Bloor Homes have applied for permission to redevelop a pig farm between the B4009 Britwell Road and the B480 Cuxham Road.

The estate would include a section of the proposed Watlington bypass, which would run from the B4009 to the Cuxham Road roundabout before going west of Willow Close and joining Pyrton Lane.

Dozens of residents have objected, mainly due to the proposed widening of Pyrton Lane.

Watlington Parish Council’s planning committee said it didn’t object to the development in principle but was concerned about the effect of the extra traffic.

Members voted 5-3 to recommend the application is turned down by South Oxfordshire District Council on the grounds that:

• The realignment of the B4009 has not been agreed.

• The realigned road would be too close to 22 properties fronting directly on to it and would run through the public open space on the south side.

• Pyrton Lane, which is too narrow to take more traffic, could become blocked during peak hours.

The land is identified as being suitable for 140 homes in the neighbourhood plan.

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 650sq m of space for commercial or light industrial use.

The Chilterns Conservation Board has objected to the number of dwellings and the size of the development, saying it “would form a large urban extension to Watlington and involves a design and layout which responds little to Watlington’s character, or to that of the open land it sits within”.

Residents of Pyrton Lane said that widening the road was potentially dangerous, adding that drivers already used it as a “rat run” to and from the M40.

Frank and Susan Corton said: “We do not want the road to be widened. There is enough through-traffic along Pyrton Lane. Making the road wider would add risk.”

Michael Holder said: “There is already too much traffic running past our house, travelling too fast. This proposal will cause an unacceptable increase in traffic and overload this residential area, making it congested and unsafe.”

Alan Whitfield said: “Pyrton Lane is already a hazardous place for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. The hazards are in part mitigated by the very fact that Pyrton Lane is (in places) very narrow, thus making it necessary for drivers to reduce their speed. Any widening would inevitably alleviate this constraint, making the lane more dangerous for all users.”

Gill Bindoff, facilitator of the neighbourhood plan forum’s co-ordination group, said the group and the parish council had identified the same issues with the application.

The district council will make a decision before Christmas.

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