Sunday, 13 June 2021
PLANS to build up to seven log cabins on land off Tidmore Lane, Woodcote, have been refused permission.
Marcellus Brown, from Harrow, wanted to set up a holiday site with associated hot tubs, a sewage treatment plant, parking and landscaping.
The two- and three-bedroom cabins were to be mobile structures which would have been built off site.
Mr Brown argued that his scheme should be given the go-ahead because a similar one exists in Ewelme.
But planning officers at South Oxfordshire District Council recommended refusal, saying the cabins would harm the character of the area, affect neighbours’ quality of life and pose a road safety hazard.
Similar concerns were expressed by opponents, including dozens of residents, Woodcote Parish Council, the Chilterns Conservation Board, the Chiltern Society, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and highways officers at Oxfordshire County Council.
Mr Brown amended his proposal several times but the objections stood.
The planning officers said the principle of development for tourism purposes was acceptable where it met an unmet need while conserving and enhancing the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
They accepted the site would generate more than £280,000 in revenue annually and create jobs, which counted in its favour, but said the downsides outweighed this.
They said the cabins would result in a “stark” change to the site’s open character, which matches that of adjacent farm fields, and would therefore be “high density” by comparison.
It would introduce a “substantial amount of built form” despite the applicant agreeing to plant hedges and trees screening it off at the perimeter.
The officers said: “Hiding the scheme from view does not alter the fundamental harmful change that would occur.”
They added that people hiring the cabins could see into neighbouring houses and vice-versa and the noise of people coming and going, as well as noise from day-to-day occupation, would become a nuisance.
They said that unlike the cabins at Ewelme, access was poor as it depended on car use because the site is 600m from a bus stop with no pavement or street lighting.
The officers concluded: “This would encourage further tourism into the district... [but] the extent of harm caused to the area cannot be mitigated or outweighed by the economic benefits so the development cannot be supported.”
The scheme was supported by a number of tourism bodies as well as the Rising Sun at Witheridge Hill, the White Hart at Nettlebed and the Cherry Tree Inn at Stoke Row, all of which said it would boost footfall.
The Highway Inn at Checkendon was initially in favour but the owners withdrew support after seeing the plans, saying they were significantly different from what they had discussed with Mr Brown.
03 May 2021
POLL: Have your say