Thursday, 15 April 2021

Holiday chalets divide opinion

PLANS for a holiday home site on the outskirts of Woodcote have divided opinion.

Marcellus Brown, from Harrow, wants to build six or seven timber-framed cabins on a 0.5-hectare plot between two larger fields off Tidmore Lane, between Reading Road and the A4074.

Parish councillors and more than a dozen residents have asked South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, to refuse the proposal.

But pubs in neighbouring villages say the complex would benefit the local

Woodcote Parish Council says the site is a “considerable distance” from the village edge so the cabins would be an intrusion into the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It says Tidmore Lane is a narrow road and should only be accessed by property owners and not the larger volume of visitors which the cabins would attract.

It also points out there is no pavement so pedestrians walking in the road would be at risk.

The council also says the allocation of one parking space per cabin is inadequate so parking could spill out into the lane.

It adds: “There are no tourist attractions or restaurants in Woodcote, nor are there any others within walking distance so visitors would mostly use cars to access attractions.

“The proposal is significantly unneighbourly with noise and disturbance to the adjacent properties.”

Thomas and Melanie Saunders, who live next door, agree. The couple’s planning agent Fiona Jones says: “The chalets could be rented to stag or hen parties which could make enormous noise. The owners bought this house due to its rural, undeveloped location and this would have a demonstrable harmful impact.”

Mr Brown, who has called the business Chiltern Red Kite Cottages, hopes to open four cabins to the public by January with two or three more following by 2022.

The site should attract more than 9,000 visitors a year, running at least three nights a week and up to seven at peak periods.

He says it would increase visits to neighbouring towns like Henley and wouldn’t harm the AONB.

The Highwayman at Checkendon originally supported the plan, saying it would help the area’s traders, but later withdrew this, saying the final design was “a long way off” what was originally proposed and “unsympathetic” to the surroundings.

The Rising Sun at Witheridge Hill, the White Hart at Nettlebed and the Cherry Tree Inn at Stoke Row are maintaining their support, saying the cabins would boost footfall.

Dan Redfern, director of the Cherry Tree, said: “This will have benefits not only for us but other local businesses as it will bring out more people requiring places to eat out and enjoy their leisure time.”

Kate Makin, manager of the Rising Sun, said: “We could do with more footfall, especially at the moment, and would like to think our local authority will help us achieve this.”

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