Villagers await decision on Paradise Lane

Residents of Milcombe outside the house on Paradise Lane
Residents of Milcombe outside the house on Paradise Lane

Villagers in Milcombe are waiting anxiously to hear whether a developer’s attempt to overcome parish and district council opposition to the destruction of an 18th Century cottage in order to build four houses has been successful.

Residents were violently opposed to demolition of The Cottage, Paradise Lane in Milcombe and its neighbouring bungalow and in March 2013 Cherwell District Council refused consent for owner John Hester’s plan.

However Mr Hester has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, whose representative visited the site on January 13. A decision is expected in the coming fortnight.

The 2013 decision was the second application to be refused by Cherwell for the same site, a previous one being refused in 2012 for multiple planning reasons including over-exploitation of the site.

District councillors felt the development was not ‘infill’ and described design plans as a ‘cramped form of residential development conflicting with the general character of the locality’. They said destruction of the historic cottage would be ‘a lamentable loss’, the access lane narrow and tortuous and development would destroy a rare habitat of protected bats.

Mr Hester says all ecology conditions can be met and the design of the houses is entirely suitable for their proposed purpose.

Neighbour Richard Hazell said: “Milcombe is a tight knit community where many villagers have taken the time to express their strong objection, along with CDC and the parish council, to this inappropriate development in the historic part of this small village and it would be a huge disappointment to all if this appeal were to be approved by the Planning Inspectorate.”

Over 140 villagers made formal objections to the application and the parish council also stated its objection.