Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Minister may call in plans for new homes

THE Housing Secretary could be asked to intervene in plans to build more than 300 homes in Watlington.

The parish council is to ask Henley MP John Howell to write to Robert Jenrick with a request to “call in” the planning applications for three sites allocated for development in its neighbourhood plan.

The council wants all three to be assessed together for the likely effect on traffic and air pollution, which are already a problem.

Providence Land wants to build 70 homes on land north-east of Cuxham Road and another 60 west of Pyrton Lane. Archstone and Bloor Homes want to build 183 at the pig farm between the B4009 Britwell Road and the B480 Cuxham Road.

All three developments would have a section of a proposed bypass or “edge road” running through them.

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, failed to make a decision on an application by Archstone and Bloor in 2017, so the firms appealed and a public inquiry will take place next month.

Chairman Matt Reid told a parish council meeting last week that he was concerned this site would be developed in isolation.

He said: “It’s important these sites are assessed together. It’s only then that we can make sure everything is done for the benefit of Watlington.”

Councillor Tim Horton said the council should seek the support of district councillor Anna Badcock and Steve Harrod, its representative on Oxfordshire County Council.

He said Cllr Badcock felt strongly that the bypass should be completed before the houses in order to prevent the “nightmare” of construction traffic in the town and nearby villages.

Cllr Reid said the council should give Mr Howell the legal precedents it would be citing as well as a memorandum of understanding with the developers on delivery of the new road, which would run from the B4009 Pyrton crossroads in the north to Britwell Road in the south.

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