Cherwell District Council has announced it is seeking legal advice on the Secretary of State’s decision to approve four controversial housing applications today (Tuesday).
Councillors had initially refused applications to approve plans for 145 homes off Salt Way in Banbury, 70 dwellings in Hook Norton, and two separate applications for 75 and 85 homes in Bloxham.
In each case the developers launched an appeal against the decision and these were later called in by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, who overturned all four refusals, citing the council’s lack of a five-year housing supply.
Cllr Michael Gibbard, lead member for planning, condemned the decision saying the council has fulfilled its five year land supply target.
He said: “I can’t understand why Ministers called in these appeals if all they ever intended to do was rubber stamp them.
“This flies completely in the face of both localism and the plan making process. Cherwell District Council is now taking expert legal advice and if appropriate will take action to counter these appalling decisions, much as we did with the Asylum Centre at Piddington some years ago.
“We are confident that we now have the necessary five year land supply following approval of other major planning applications. However, some of these developments have yet to be completed and this is what developers are challenging.”
Earlier today Tony Baldry called the decision the most disappointing outcome he has seen for his constituents in 30 years as at Westminster.
Sir Tony will address villagers and parish councillors at two separate meetings in Hook Norton and Bloxham this evening.
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