People power wins the day as council says no to homes

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VILLAGERS are celebrating after two controversial planning applications to build homes in Bloxham were refused by Cherwell District Council.

Residents posted hundreds of letters of opposition to the plans on the council’s website, packed the council chamber for last Thursday’s planning meeting and applauded when first one, then a second planning application was turned down.

Planning officers had recommended the first application – a scheme prepared by Gladman to build 75 homes off the Barford Road – should be approved on the grounds that any future appeal by the developers to the Planning Inspectorate would be likely to succeed.

But members of the campaign group Hands Off Bloxham and ward councillors raised a series of objections which included concerns about flooding, increased traffic and the strain on school places and village infrastructure.

Hands Off Bloxham member Jenny Yates said: “This development isn’t sustainable.

“It would extend the village into an agricultural meadow and would add to traffic at a junction that is already full to capacity.”

Cllr Chris Heath, district councillor for the Bloxham ward, voted against the proposals saying: “I’ve lived in the village for 40 years and in that time we’ve had a lot more housing and far fewer amenities. Bloxham can’t cope with excess water caused by heavy rains, neither can it cope with sewage problems.

“Bloxham does have a primary school but everyone knows it’s full to capacity.”

Similar objections were raised to the second application – a proposal by Framptons for 85 homes off the Milton Road – which the council’s planning officers had recommended for refusal.

Dave Chapman, chairman of Bloxham Parish Council said residents should be empowered to shape their own community through the village’s existing Neighbourhood Plan.

“We want the residents of Bloxham to determine the future of our village, not speculative developers who want to concrete over our countryside,” he said.