Housing benefits outweighed countryside considerations in village development decision
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development, Local Government
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A planning inspector has upheld an appeal to build up to 45 homes new homes, after concluding the benefits brought from the development would outweigh the negative impact on the North Oxfordshire countryside.
Following an appeal hearing in February, The Trustees of the Norman Collission Foundation was given outline consent for the demolition of Ambrosden Court in Ambrodsen and the erection of the new homes.
An application to develop the site was initially turned down by Cherwell District Council in July 2013 after councillors voiced concerns over highway safety and the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area.
However, after debating the repercussions of allowing the development and ordering the implementation of a traffic calming measure, inspector Ian Radcliffe concluded the application should go ahead as the positive benefits outweighed any negatives.
“The appeal site is located within walking distance of the centre of the village and the range of shops, services and facilities that it has to offer,” he said.
“The construction of the proposed development would generate employment. Post completion, the spending of up to an additional 45 households would benefit the economy of the village and the area. In terms of the social aspect of sustainability, the proposed development would make a contribution towards helping address the shortage of housing, including affordable housing, in the district.
“In contrast, in relation to the environment, development of the site would cause a moderate amount of harm to the character and appearance of the countryside and landscape by urbanising a small part of it.”
The development site refers to Ambrosden Court, which includes a large detached house and outbuildings, and a field to the east. In total, the site covers an area of 1.63 hectares.
As part of the conditions of approval, the appellant will need to provide a local play area and make section 106 contributions towards expanding school provision and an additional bus service.
The site had previously received planning consent in 2010 for the demolition of existing outbuildings, alteration of existing access and construction of five new houses.
Cllr Michael Gibbard, lead member for planning, said: “As a council we were not opposed to the development of this site, as demonstrated by our decision four years ago to allow the construction of five new homes.
"However, what we are against is the development of the site to such an extreme that the countryside and character of the village would suffer harm.
“We are disappointed that in considering Ambrosden to be a sustainable location for development, this has come at the expense of the countryside setting which makes the area so attractive to residents who already live there.”