Disappointment over Hook Norton plan override

MHBG-30-06-11 Hook Norton Church

St Peter's Church in Hook Norton ENGNNL00120110627115758
MHBG-30-06-11 Hook Norton Church St Peter's Church in Hook Norton ENGNNL00120110627115758

Approval of plans to build 54 homes in Hook Norton which has overridden the village’s blueprint for development has been met with frustration.

The application, which also included public open space and landscaping on Sibford Road, was originally refused by Cherwell District Council (CDC) in September 2014.

The applicant, Gladman Homes, appealed against the decision last year and, following a planning inquiry, the secretary of state for communities and local government overruled CDC.

The secretary of state’s decision was then challenged in a judicial review.

But in September, the review ruled in favour of the secretary of state’s decision.

The decision has gone against the village’s neighbourhood plan, which Hook Norton residents voted in favour of in September last year.

The plan took into account issues such as preserving the character of the area and retaining existing employment.

A policy in the plan also states developments leading to more than 20 houses being built in the same location would not be allowed.

When making his decision, the secretary of state said the benefits of the development outweighed the ‘limited’ conflict with the neighbourhood plan.

Hook Norton Parish Council chairman, Emma Kane, said they were disappointed the neighbourhood plan could be disregarded so easily.

She said she was still waiting for confirmation from Cherwell District Council about the judicial review’s decision, but had not received a response to her inquiries.

She said: “The decision has completely ignored the neighbourhood plan, which is troubling.

“The people who put together the neighbourhood plan are very disappointed by this news because they have put so much effort in. The plan was supposed to be the protective element of the village and allow the village to have a say.

“There is nowhere else to go – the judicial review was the end of the line.

“I am disappointed by the whole thing. It seems irrespective of what any community says, the developers will get their own way.”

A spokesman for Cherwell District Council said the authority provided Hook Norton Parish Council with a summary of the court’s decision in October. He added that CDC had considered the matter and proposed that no further action be taken