Village claims a ‘win’ over contested plan

Residents of Milcombe celebrate the good news outside the house on Paradise Lane.
Residents of Milcombe celebrate the good news outside the house on Paradise Lane.

A controversial plan to demolish two small buildings including a 17th century cottage to build four homes in Milcombe has been thrown out by a planning inspector.

Villagers said they are ‘delighted’ the appeal into Cherwell District Council’s refusal to give consent for the plan in Paradise Lane has failed.

They had been campaigning against the proposal ever since neighbours demanded the council stop workmen tearing out the interior beams and woodwork at the cottage, an historic but derelict building that housed protected, rare, whiskered bats.

The property’s owner, John Hester, wanted to develop the property in order to fund and build accommodation for his two sisters, one of whom is disabled.

The inspector said he sympathised but Mr Hester’s aim did not outweigh clear objections.

He said: “Although the proposal would not harm neighbours’ living conditions, the harm I have found that would result from the conflict with housing policy, to character and appearance, to the setting of Farnell Fields and to wildlife clearly outweighs this.”

Richard Hazel, owner of listed Farnell Fields and a campaigner, said: “The many Milcombe residents who objected to this proposed development were delighted to hear of the inspector’s decision, made solely on the basis of legislative planning policy.

“In dismissing the appeal he fully supported the stance of more than 140 villagers, the parish council and the planning committee. Although only a small village, Milcombe does have a voice; residents are prepared to make it heard and will continue to oppose any developments considered to be inappropriate, irrespective of their location within the village.”