New home will boost security for family business near Banbury that is ‘susceptible to criminal gangs’

Councillors granted permission for the plans after hearing the family’s concerns

By David Lawrence, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 10:47 am
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2022, 10:48 am

Expansion is on the cards for a family business on the outskirts of Oxhill after it was given permission to build a second house on its premises to help ramp up security.

Red Horse Fuels already has an annual turnover in excess of £15m, employing 45 people at its site on Banbury Road but security concerns had hindered further growth.

At a planning meeting of Stratford District Council last month, councillors were told about the security risks by family member Sarah Whalley-Hoggins who explained: “It is clear that we are very susceptible to the work of criminal gangs precisely because of the high value fuel products we sell and the rural and isolated location.”

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Expansion is on the cards for a family business on the outskirts of Oxhill after it was given permission to build a second house on its premises to help ramp up security.

A decision on whether to allow a second home to be built - allowing both owners and their families to live on site to increase security - was deferred at that meeting to see whether the two properties could be linked to the business through planning conditions.

At this week’s planning meeting, permission was granted as long as both homes were occupied by those linked to the company, Red Horse Vale Ltd.

Planning agent Natasha da Silva said: “We do not necessarily agree that the existing dwelling needs an occupancy restriction as its physical connection to the office and shop and location at the centre of the site means that it would not be a desirable location to live for someone not associated with the business. However, if members deemed an occupation restriction for both dwellings was necessary we would accept the condition.”

The decision means that the family will be allowed to build a two-storey four-bed manager’s house as well as install CCTV and fencing at the site - a plan supported by Warwickshire Police who commented that the isolated nature of the business made it a target for theft and that the presence of another capable guardian would prove a deterrent.

A report considered by the planning committee explained that there had also been three letters in support of the plans, praising the design of the proposed new home and stating that the business provided much-needed employment for local people.