Friday, 22 February 2019

Developer pledges to help deliver town’s new bypass

A DEVELOPER planning to build 130 new homes in Watlington says it will help deliver the town’s new bypass.

Providence Land is promoting two sites, one north-east of Cuxham Road and the other west of Pyrton Lane, which were earmarked for 60 and 38 homes respectively in the town’s neighbourhood plan but the company says can take 70 and 60.

The company, which held an exhibition at the town hall recently, says it will deliver a section of the “edge road”, or bypass, running to the west and north of the town.

It says: “Public consultations have repeatedly shown that the traffic problems in Watlington town centre are of considerable concern.

“These proposals deliver key sections of the edge road and are also the only proposals that actually deliver physical improvements to the existing road network in bypassing the narrow bend at the lower end of Pyrton Lane.

“A key concern has been to avoid recreating the existing town centre problems at the edge of Watlington.

“The road has been carefully designed in consultation with stakeholders, including the highways authority and developers of neighbouring land.

“The opportunity of the edge road will help to protect and enhance the conservation area and its listed buildings currently blighted and damaged by excessive through traffic and pollution.”

Providence Land says the schemes will provide:

• A mix of housing types.

• 40 pet cent “affordable” housing to development plan standards.

• Connectivity to local facilities and services for pedestrians and
cyclists.

• Measures to provide resilience to the effects of climate change.

It says: “The new homes will be set back a considerable distance from the road, behind their own front gardens, private drives, footway and landscaped verge planted with trees.”

The company also controls land to the east of Pyrton Lane that is in Pyrton Parish. This site is the subject of a planning application for up to 100 homes which is still to be determined by South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority.

Two other developers, Archstone and Bloor Homes, have applied for planning permission to build 183 homes on the third site allocated in the neighbourhood plan between the B4009 Britwell Road and the B480 Cuxham Road.

The document earmarked this land, a pig farm, for 140 properties and Watlington Parish Council is supporting the application.

Almost £2.5 million has already been allocated for the initial work on bypasses for both Watlington and Benson.

The money for feasibility and design work has come from the Oxfordshire Growth Board, which is responsible for £215 million of government money to be spent on infrastructure projects.

The relief roads will cost about £12 million each with the rest of the money expected to come from developers.

Andrew McAuley, who chairs his parish council’s planning committee, said this meant that the money from the two companies for infrastructure improvements would no longer have to be spent on traffic mitigation measures and could be directed towards “something we as a town feel is more appropriate”.

Councillor Tom Bindoff said: “There are quite a few things that have been identified. Howe Road has a problem with speeding and that’s not going to be affected by the edge road. The crossing at The Goggs is another one which is very high up the list.”

In its latest response to Archstone’s plans, Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, said it was “proactively” seeking the money and land required to provide the edge road, which was “essential” to mitigating the traffic impact of the developments.

The council added: “The county’s recommendation is that no development is occupied until the land and funding for the edge road is secured and following that no more than an agreed number of dwellings is occupied prior to the road’s completion.

“The agreed number is to be determined through a consideration of impact and viability.”

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