Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Plans for 16 mobile homes at reservoir revived

A BUSINESSMAN has resurrected his bid to create a site for 16 mobile homes in Woodcote.

Richard Hazell is appealing against the decision by South Oxfordshire District Council to refuse him planning permission to redevelop the former reservoir off Greenmore.

Mr Hazell, from Whitchurch Hill, was given consent for 20 houses, which was in line with the village’s neighbourhood plan.

However, he abandoned the idea after discovering a water main running beneath the site which he said couldn’t be moved and would be damaged when digging the foundations for the houses.

He then came up with the idea of the mobile homes, saying it was the best way to provide affordable housing for young people.

The council said the development would go against the neighbourhood plan and would clash with neighbouring buildings and the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Mr Hazell, who owns tarmac firm Hazell & Jefferies, argues that the plan made no mention of “park homes”.

His agent, Frank Dixon, a planning consultant from Cholsey, said: “The matter was not considered during the plan preparation stage.

“Inappropriate attempts have been made to apply policies for the construction of new dwelling houses to this appeal proposal for the change of use of the land.

“As housing has been accepted for the appeal site, it must have been considered that the site can be integrated into the wider landscape without difficulty… it would be perverse if the fact that the land has permission for housing prevents it from being used for mobile homes.

“Use of land for park homes does not preclude future use for permanent housing should circumstances change and favour this form of development.”

He continued: “Park homes can be provided in a fraction of the time needed for traditional housing and can be removed equally quickly.

“They meet the clearly identifiable needs of older people wishing to ‘trade down’ to live on a single level and release equity.

“Some younger people find them attractive as a first home… they can be up to 50 per cent cheaper than the purchase price of a small open market dwelling.”

Mr Dixon said the semi-permanent caravans would be a lot smaller than the houses that were approved.

By law they couldn’t be more than 3.05m tall, about one-third the height of a typical house, and they were built to a higher standard now than decades ago.

He said: “The site is ideal as it is not surrounded by built form. The low level of park homes… will blend seamlessly with the woodland to the south-west and semi-open nature of the public house and surrounding area to the south-east.”

Woodcote Parish Council, the village conservation group and a number of residents had all objected to the application.

The appeal will be decided through written representations. Comments must be submitted by September 5.

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