Councillors grappling with targets

Cherwell District Council offices at Bodicote House
Cherwell District Council offices at Bodicote House

Cherwell District Council’s struggle to grapple with demanding government housing targets came to the fore once again at last Thursday’s planning meeting at Bodicote House.

The council admitted the need to meet government figures was the driving force behind its approval of 60 homes at Deene Close in Adderbury.

Councillors approved the application submitted for the 3.13 hectare site by Archstone Land Ltd and Bloor Homes Ltd on the recommendation of officers.

Cllr Michael Gibbard, Cherwell’s lead member for planning, explained: “If we do not approve what the government considers to be a suitable development site we will not be able to defend our decision at an appeal, which means the houses will still receive planning consent but at an additional cost to the council.”

The Planning Inspectorate has deemed Cherwell must approve more homes as it currently has a 4.7 rather than a five-year housing supply. It has also already been penalised for the 1,800 home shortfall which the government now says it must make good within five years.

The Deene Close development will consist of two -storey detached and semi-detached homes and will be approached by access from Aynho Road. There will be 39 open market homes and 21 affordable homes .

The council stood firm however over an application to build 117 homes on land north east of Crouch Hill Farm adjoining Broughton Road. Officers had concluded that Crouch Hill, which has historic significance dating to Saxon times, is a non designated heritage asset.

Cllr Gibbard explained: “The application represents a sporadic, unplanned urban extension which encroaches onto open countryside and across the proposed green buffer zone which is intended to protect the identities of Banbury and its surrounding settlements. Gleeson Developments Ltd had submitted proposals for 117 homes.