Plan for 49 houses next to Bretch Hill water tower rejected by Councillors


The decision was contrary to the advice from Cherwell’s planning officers who recommended acceptance

Councillors on Cherwell’s Planning Committee have taken a stand and voted against a plan to build up to 49 houses on land at the top of Bretch Hill, next to the water tower.   The decision was taken despite Cherwell’s planning officers recommending the final decision be delegated to them to accept, subject to a series of conditions.

The outline planning application, made by Lone Star Land Limited of Henley-In-Arden, stated the outline application was for “the erection of up to 49 dwellings, associated open space, sustainable urban drainage systems, and access from Balmoral Avenue”.     The area is currently scrub land, having previously been farm land for the now derelict Bretch Farm.

The site, on top of Bretch Hill is surrounded on three sides by Harlech Close, Hampden Close and Briggs Close at the top of Balmoral Avenue.   The Bretch Hill water tower and reservoir and telecommunication mast sit in the south-eastern corner of the proposed development area.   The application sought access using Balmoral Avenue south from the Broughton Road.

Councillor Kieron Mallon addressed the meeting to strongly object to the proposal.   He said, “This site is not in the local plan for any development.   We have sufficient land allocated for [the plan’s] current three year land supply – infact it has a 4.4 year land supply.   This application is therefore speculative and premature.  

“This is a green field site.   We have allocated brown field sites in Banbury which you are not encouraging to come forward.

“Approve to build on this green field site, which is not in the local plan and who is to say what green field land, not in the local plan, may be built on in a village or edge of town site near you tomorrow”.

Planning Committee member Councillor Colin Clarke said, “I am disappointed this application is being proposed for acceptance.”  

In considering the steepness of Balmoral Avenue for access to the site and the lack of an objection by highways officers, he added, “It may be that highways officers completed a desktop exercise in coming to the conclusions in the report and perhaps do not appreciate the lie of the land”.  

Councillor Clarke also noted the number of wildlife species in the area in what has become “a very nice wildlife meadow”.   He proposed refusing the application, despite the recommendation, saying “This application is neither welcome or necessary”.   Councillor Chris Heath seconded the proposal to reject the application.

Ahead of Councillors voting planning officer Matthew Chadwick addressed some of their comments.   Addressing the traffic issues and access via Balmoral Avenue from the South he said, “Highways haven’t objected to this.   We have no evidence of the access being unsafe other than anecdotal evidence and an appeal would be quite difficult to defend on those grounds”.

In the vote that followed all but two of the Planning Committee Councillors voted to rejected the application.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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