'Isolated housing bubble' fears see new home plans rejected
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development, Local Government
Over 3,600 new affordable homes planned
Plans for 200 new homes have been blocked because of fears the development could create an "isolated bubble".
Last October, Cherwell District Council refused an application to develop land in Caversfield with up to 200 residential units, amenity spaces and associated works, including a new village shop and hall.
The decision was challenged by developer Cala Homes and, following a public inquiry in March, inspector David Nicholson has now dismissed the appeal and upheld the council's decision.
Cllr Michael Gibbard, lead member for planning, said: “It is reassuring that the appeal has been dismissed and that Mr Nicholson has agreed with councillors that this was an unsustainable development.
“As a council we are faced with the challenge of delivery housing to meet Government targets and while we are prepared to approve applications, it is vital they are the right applications. This means ensuring they are right for both the new future residents and those who already neighbour proposed sites.
"In this case we felt the creation of up to 200 homes in Caversfield would cause demonstrable harm to the area, was unsustainable and unsuitable for the existing and future residents of Cherwell.”
In reaching his decision, Mr Nicholson considered numerous factors including Cherwell’s lack of a five-year housing land supply and the impact upon the surrounding landscape, including listed buildings and conservation areas as directed by the government’s National Planning Policy Framework.
He also raised questions regarding new highway works to provide safe access onto Fringford Road, voiced concerns that a village hall would not be welcomed by the parish council and addressed the unlikeliness of finding a tenant for the shop.
As a result, Mr Nicholson concluded that despite the benefits of job creation, new homes and 35% 'affordable' housing, the development would be an “isolated housing estate tenuously linked to the north of the town”.
“The scheme would be likely to result in an isolated bubble of housing development separated from the rest of Caversfield and with no community facilities or services of its own,” he said.
“I find the lack of integration and inability to move through the site in particular would render the scheme a poor design. It would therefore fail to comply with policy in the framework and would not amount to sustainable development.”