Cherwell District Council, Oxfordshire, will seek legal challenge after their original decision not to grant permission for a 54 home development in Hook Norton was overturned by the Secretary of State’s Inspector on appeal.
The case refers to a plan for the erection of up to 54 residential dwellings, landscape and public open space at land at Sibford Road in Hook Norton. The application was refused by Cherwell DC in September 2014. They argued that this was too many homes to be built at once in a single location and referred to their Local Plan which identifies sites across the District sufficient for 750 homes.
Cherwell’s lead member for planning, Cllr Michael Gibbard, commented:
“A significant number of sites have already been identified across the district and it is important that there is a sustainable distribution of the remainder.”
“Council officers are concerned that the appeal decision does not adequately explain why a relatively larger share of the 750 dwellings is acceptable at Hook Norton compared to other villages listed in Policy Villages 2 of the Local Plan. This is particularly important in the context of other developments recently approved at Hook Norton including 70 homes in Bourne Lane which are under construction.”
Cherwell have also cited a similar case over in Kirtlington, where a 95 home application was successfully refused at appeal due to the significant number of homes concentrated in a single village.
Cllr Gibbard went on to highlight the presence of a Neighbourhood Plan, which instigates a 20 home limit for any given village in the area. He said:
“We have sought advice and believe that the decision to allow this appeal is legally flawed. The inspector has not properly understood or applied the Hook Norton Neighbourhood Plan which stipulates no more than 20 dwellings should be built in any one location at any time.
“Furthermore, Cherwell’s Local Plan includes Hook Norton as one of 24 Category A villages, which are considered to be the most sustainable for development compared with Category B and C villages. In his decision, the Secretary of State appears to elevate Hook Norton above other Category A Villages; this is factually inaccurate as reference to Hook Norton’s sustainability is in fact in comparison the Category B and C sites.”
The case will therefore continue and other district authorities will no doubt look on with interest as Cherwell seek to resist what they consider to be unsustainably large numbers of houses concentrated into a particular location.
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