Sunday, 22 September 2019

Changing route of bypass ‘would ghettoise new residents’

PART of Watlington would be “ghettoised” by changing the proposed bypass through a new development, says the chairman of the parish council.

Matt Reid made the claim at a council planning committee meeting considering an amendment to plans by Archstone and Bloor Homes to build 183 homes on a pig farm between the B4009 Britwell Road and the B480 Cuxham Road.

The “indicative” route of the new road is from the B4009 Pyrton crossroads in the north to Britwell Road in the south, as outlined in the town’s neighbourhood plan, which passed a referendum last year.

It would run north of the pig farm, cut across Cuxham Road and then go through the two sites where Providence Land is planning to build 130 homes before joining the B4009. Archstone and Bloor Homes say the amendment in their plans is in response to a request by Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, to explore an alternative route for the road.

This would result in traffic using the industrial estate spur road, off the Cuxham Road roundabout.

The parish council has previously supported the developers’ application but Councillor Reid told last week’s meeting: “What you’re looking at, if it comes in with the proposed route, is the ghettoisation of that side of town before the new residents have even moved in.”

He said that integrating a community of 300 houses would be a challenge in its own right but the amendment would leave people “horribly marooned”.

Cllr Reid said: “To leave a very large proportion of that outside the new route… is creating a ‘them and us’ type of situation. It’s very disappointing after all of the work over the last four or five years to see them propose this other route.”

Committee chairman Andrew McAuley added: “The play area now opens on to the road in this design, which is an absolute no-no. The play area would have to be completely redesigned.”

Councillor Terry Jackson said: “We want the route our residents have voted for and to go for a change now is not really acceptable without further consultation at least.”

Council vice-chairman Ian Hill said he was concerned about the impact on the site to the north where Providence Land wants to build 70 homes.

Gill Bindoff, a member of the council’s neighbourhood plan advisory board, said: “It’s a fairly clear indicative route in the neighbourhood plan and that’s what our community voted for overwhelmingly.”

She said the parish council should retain its support for the development in principle but the proposed alternative route should be resisted as strongly as possible.

The committee voted to oppose the amendment and continue to support the original application.

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, was due to make decision on the application by Tuesday.

The council failed to make a decision on a previous application submitted in 2017, so the developers appealed. The appeal will be heard at a public inquiry at Tetsworth Memorial Hall from October 15 to 18.

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