Saturday, 18 September 2021

Plans for 23 houses on land not in neighbourhood plan

A PROPERTY developer wants to build 23 homes on a site in Woodcote that isn’t earmarked for housing in the village’s neighbourhood plan.

Woodcote Properties has applied to South Oxfordshire District Council for outline planning permission to develop 1.56 hectares of farmland at the end of Wood Lane, off Beech Lane.

It has not specified the size or number of bedrooms each property would have but says 10 would be “affordable” or social housing, which is slightly higher than the 40 per cent quota required by the district council as the planning authority.

The developer originally proposed 30 units but reduced this number following consultation with Woodcote Parish Council and neighbouring residents. The company, whose director Jeremy Fisher lives in Reading, has proposed a “suburban development of primarily detached houses in reasonably sized plots”.

This would terminate at the north-western boundary of an adjoining plot next to Bouchier Fencing, off Goring Road, which has been included in the neighbourhood plan as a reserve site suitable for up to 20 houses. Wood Lane would be extended into a single access road with houses on both sides.

The company says it would leave space for a footpath connecting to the reserve site in case that was developed. It would plant hedges around the perimeter to screen the houses from existing properties and would include two open spaces totalling 0.5 hectares with a community orchard and possibly a “natural play area” for children.

A public footpath across the site would be retained as would a “high value” birch and sycamore tree to the east.

Woodcote Properties, which applied jointly with Mrs D Butcher, says there would be little impact on the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty because of the hedgerow and a large patch of woodland immediately to the south-west of the site.

The application says: “The site provides a very real opportunity to deliver a bespoke, high-quality development which sensitively responds to its context and... provides well-considered, on-site open space for future residents, leading towards the ancient woodland beyond.

“Development of this site will make a valuable contribution to the current and future housing needs of both Woodcote and South Oxfordshire district and is important in helping to realise the existing Woodcote neighbourhood plan allocation.”

Although the site is not in the neighbourhood plan, the developer points out that Woodcote’s housing allocation is likely to increase under the district council’s new local plan.

The parish council will discuss the application on Wednesday and the district council will make a decision before Christmas.

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