Milcombe loses fight against 40-home development on the outskirts of the village

A development plan to build 40 homes on the outskirts of Milcombe is to go ahead in spite of huge opposition from villagers and a number of district councillors.
Protesters opposed to the development at MilcombeProtesters opposed to the development at Milcombe
Protesters opposed to the development at Milcombe

A petition bearing 119 signatures and 59 objections were sent to Cherwell District Council arguing that the development was not sustainable and too large for such a small village.

Milcombe Parish Council was fiercely against the plan.

A decision had been deferred at Cherwell’s February planning meeting so councillors could visit the site. The proposal was subject to a long and detailed discussion at Bodicote House last Thursday.

A proposal to reject the application was made by Bloxham councillor Chris Heath and supported by senior councillors including Cllr George Reynolds.

Mrs Heath said she had attended an exhibition by the developers in Milcombe.

“I heard nothing in support of the application. All wanted it refused. Why impose these 40 houses on a village that neither wants nor needs them?” she said.

“Bloxham Parish Council was concerned that Cherwell District Council had not sought its views.”

She said sewerage would have to be pumped from the development to an access at Brookside Way in Bloxham and Thames Water would need to increase capacity because of another development in Tadmarton Road.

The 69 properties making up the new development – including 29 built at Oak Farm Drive and Oak Farm Close – will have increased Milcombe’s size by 25 per cent since 2011.

Children would have to be driven to school in Hook Norton because of pressure on Bloxham Primary School, Mrs Heath said, adding the access way was inadequate and there were fears for road safety because of HGVs using the access approach road.

“There is no immediate need for these houses and it makes no sense to put another 40 homes in a village the size of Milcombe. I thought this was the idea of concentrating growth in towns, to prevent small villages being swamped?” she said.

“What good will it bring to the village? Developers’ contributions for education and doctors surgeries will go elsewhere.”

Cllr Reynolds said he would like to see villages grow ‘organically’ with homes being built in ones, twos, threes and fours.

He referred to large-scale development of other villages including Hook Norton.

“Milcombe certainly isn’t sustainable. By the time these houses are built Hook Norton School will be full, mainly of Hook Norton children,” he said.

Cllr Alistair Milne-Home said: “It ain’t needed, ain’t sustainable, ain’t wanted, ain’t allocated, ain’t in the village and it ain’t getting my vote.”

Planning officer Bob Duxbury said because the plan was not allocated it did not mean it was ruled out. There is a need to prove demonstrable harm to deny such a development. He said such plans provide homes for people who need them and aid village facilities such as the pub and shop.

Councillors rejected Cllr Heath’s move to refuse the plan and consent was given.