Some of you may be wondering why there has not been more news coming out of the Neighbourhood Plan Team over the last couple of months. The reason is that this has been a period of review, planning and discussion …. review of all the 250+ comments and suggestions received on our Pre-submission Plan; planning how we should respond to all those comments – particularly what needs to change in the Final Submission of our plan; and detailed discussions within the team and (critically) with all the other parties necessary to ensure that our final plan is robust and can be delivered in practice. These activities are complicated and take a lot of time!
On 24 May South Oxfordshire District Council rejected an application to build 120 houses on land south of Watlington Road (BEN5).
Many Benson residents objected to the plan including over 25 who attended the planning committee meeting.
Parish Councillor Jon Fowler said: “The village was firmly opposed to plans that undermined their Neighbourhood Plan which is nearing completion. It is great news that the council listened to their concerns and rejected the proposal. Benson can now get on with seeing the Neighbourhood Plan through to adoption.”
SODC has just published details of the next meeting of the Planning Committee on Wednesday 24th May and it includes a recommendation from SODC Officers to approve a development of 120 houses on BEN5 – see letter from SODC below; agenda and reports pack for the meeting are here .
This site is not allocated in our Neighbourhood Plan and both the Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Plan team are opposed to the development for a number of reasons:
- Benson does not need any more houses over those already approved and those allocated in our Plan
- Unlike the allocated sites, which will each provide for sections of the Edge Road to be built, BEN5 provides no compensating benefits whatsoever to the village.
- BEN5 will add to congestion and exacerbate existing traffic problems, especially during peak hours, as cars attempt to enter and exit the development through the single access road provided, onto the B4009 and running west through the village.
- OCC has advised that there is a limit on the number of extra places that can be realised by extending Benson Primary School – we are already at this limit with the developments being built/committed and those allocated in our NP, so if BEN5 is approved, an equivalent number of houses will need to be removed from the allocated sites, for lack of school places, and this will make it impossible to deliver a joined up Edge Road.
- BEN5 is outside the boundary established in the NP and, if approved, would radically alter the historic shape of Benson following the line of Benson Brook and significantly harm the landscape views in and out of the village, by taking it up onto higher ground
- Email expressing your views to our SODC Councillor, Felix Bloomfield at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attend the Planning Committee meeting to show the strength of feeling that exists in Benson – this will be held at 6pm on Wednesday 24th May at Didcot Civic Hall, Britwell Road, Didcot OX11 7JN