Monday, 20 January 2020

Third application for pig farm development on way

DEVELOPERS are to lodge a third application for 183 homes in Watlington.

Archstone and Bloor Homes want to build on a former pig farm between the B4009 Britwell Road and the B480 Cuxham Road.

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, failed to make a decision on the companies’ first two applications in the required time.

The developers appealed on both occasions. The first appeal was heard by a planning inspector in October but the outcome has not been announced and the second is due to be heard on Tuesday.

The second application was finally considered by the district council’s planning committee in November.

It said it supported the application but couldn’t make a decision as the appeal hearing was imminent. The third application will be made next week and will be  identical to the second one.

Andrew McAuley, chairman of Watlington Parish Council’s planning committee, said: “They are submitting another application, which will go forward to the planning committee on January 15, fully expecting it to be approved. You can absolutely see the logic of that.

“It will actually get things moving forward and quickly.”

Councillor McAuley said he had had a conference call with the applicants’ barrister, a planning inspector and district council planning officer Emma Bowerman.

All parties wanted next week’s appeal hearing to be delayed until a decision on the first appeal had been announced and it was agreed to write to the Planning Inspectorate with that request.

However, the inspector felt this was unlikely to succeed.

More than 40 Watlington residents attended the hearing in November to protest against the plans.

They claim the development would conflict with the town’s neighbourhood plan, which passed a referendum in 2018, and the companies are ignoring the cumulative impact of thousands of new houses on air quality in the town.

The site is one of three earmarked for development in the neighbourhood plan but any development must include a section of a proposed bypass or “edge road”.

The road would go from the B4009 Pyrton crossroads in the north to Britwell Road in the south, running north of the pig farm and cutting across Cuxham Road before going through two other sites, where another developer, Providence Land, wants to build 130 homes, and joining the B4009.

The route was changed in the second application so traffic uses the industrial estate spur road, off the Cuxham Road roundabout.

The companies say this was in response to a request by Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority.

Both the district and county councils withdrew their objections to the pig farm scheme after the developers proposed traffic and air quality mitigation measures.

This left just Watlington Parish Council and the Pyrton Manor and Shirburn Castle and Environs Alliance to challenge the plans.

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