Controversial housing plans approved

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Three controversial planning applications for homes were given the go ahead yesterday evening (Thursday).

Despite considerable opposition Cherwell District Council’s Planning Committee approved 350 homes at land off Warwick Road north of Hanwell Fields, 90 homes at land adjoining Foxhill to the west of Southam Road and 510 homes to the east of Southam Road at Hardwick Farm.

An outline application to build homes on a slice of playing field belonging to Banbury Academy was also given the go ahead.

Planning officers recommended the housing schemes for approval on the grounds that the council needs to allocate more housing in order to meet its five year land supply under government targets.

But some councillors expressed strong opposition saying the plans should not be considered until full consultation processes are complete and the council’s forthcoming Local Plan has been given approval setting a framework for all development.

Some councillors slated the Warwick Road development on the grounds that it extends the town boundary.

Councillor George Reynolds said: “If it looks wrong on a map, it is wrong. It’s like the proverbial pimple or a rather large boil.”

The Banbury Academy application raised strong opposition from residents at Stanbridge House sheltered housing scheme but Banbury Academy Executive Principal Fiona Hammans defended the scheme saying: “Our pupils enjoy PE lessons and we want them to be healthy, happy and active.

“An application to put a housing development on an area of playing fields is the only way we can raise money to improve the PE and sports facilities which are in desperate need of improvement.”

At teh same meeting, a planning application to install floodlights on the Easington Sports football ground at Addison Road was rejected by the council due to fears about light pollution and the impact on residents.