117 new 'sporadic' homes refused by council
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Development, Housing
Government urged to scrap regional planning strategies 'to protect green belt land'
An application to build 117 homes on the edge of Banbury has been refused by councillors citing the development as a "sporadic and unsustainable" extension of the town's boundary.
During a meeting last week, Cherwell District Council's planning committee voted against proposals for the residential development.
Despite facing government pressure to meet housing targets, councillors turned down the application after agreeing the consequences of the development would outweigh the benefits of additional housing.
Cllr Michael Gibbard, lead member for planning, said: "While it is accepted by councillors that Cherwell does not have a five year supply of housing, the development of this site cannot be justified on that basis alone.
"The application represents a sporadic, unplanned urban extension which encroaches onto the open countryside and across the proposed green buffer zone which is intended to protect the identities of Banbury and its surrounding settlements. This is unsustainable development beyond the built up limits of Banbury in an area of attractive, rolling countryside that Cherwell is seeking to preserve."
Throughout the meeting councillors spoke in favour of protecting the area, Crouch Hill, stressing the "importance of preserving the largest and most prominent landscape feature on the edge of Banbury with historical links dating back to the Saxon era".
They agreed with officers’ conclusions that the hill is a non-designated heritage asset. As such, it has local historical importance and significance and therefore the general aspect of the hill within open countryside would be changed by the proposal. By placing Crouch Hill within a context of urban development, councillors agreed it would significantly harm its setting and value as a well-used and viewed-from landscape feature.
Gleeson Developments Limited submitted the proposal to build up to 117 homes, 30% which would have been 'affordable', with gardens, parking, landscaping, services and infrastructure.
The development was proposed to cover an area of about ten-and-a-half hectares of arable land rising up the slope of Crouch Hill.
Objections had been made by Banbury Town, North Newington Parish and Bloxham Parish Councils with concerns raised over an increase in traffic and the development of a greenfield space.