Nearly 300 more homes to be built on former Upper Heyford airbase

A watch tower and bunkers at the former airbase at Upper Heyford
A watch tower and bunkers at the former airbase at Upper Heyford

Plans for nearly 300 homes on the former Upper Heyford airbase was approved, among with a number of other applications, by councillors at a meeting yesterday (Thursday, September 20).

Cherwell District Council’s planning committee raised concerns about traffic calming, affordable housing, the designs and schooling but overall councillors backed the scheme.

In the south west corner of the site, between Camp Road and Izzard Road, 296 homes will be built in a grid layout with open spaces, parking, gardens and screening.

Eventually more than 1,000 homes will be created by owners Dorchester Group on the former airfield used by the US during the Cold War but now a conservation area.

Committee chairman Cllr David Hughes said he was impressed with the scheme saying Heyford Park, as it is known, could be a ‘village of the future’.

Principal planning officer Andrew Lewis recommended approving the plans which he said would integrate with the rest of the development – despite describing some of the house designs as ‘plain’.

The Salvation Army’s plan to convert a former showroom in Banbury into a depot for donations was unanimously backed by councillors.

The charity wants to use the derelict car showroom on Swan Close Road as a storage and distribution centre, which Cllr Cassi Perry described as ‘sensible’.

Other Banbury applications which were approved included creating a new entrance and walkway at Castle Quay Shopping Centre.

Cllr Perry welcomed the proposed changes from the council, which now owns the centre, to make an entrance into the former BHS site by the south multi-storey car park.

The Banbury Labour councillor said having more lighting in that alley will make walking to and from the canal, where she lives, safer at night.

Woodgreen Leisure Centre will also be getting more storage space after an application from Banbury Canoe Clue was approved.

Two more controversial schemes were rejected though – a bid to build up to 7,161 square metres of industrial units by the Baynards Green petrol station on the A44 and a second attempt to turn a listed office building in Banbury into flats.

Councillors agreed with the officer’s belief that the business units’ rural location would be unsustainable, despite a representative for the applicant saying their reasons would not stand up to appeal.

The plan to turn the Old Malthouse on St John’s Road into 25 flats was similarly turned down, for the second time, as councillors wanted to protect the ‘well-located’ employment space.

The agent argued its marketing had provided no viable buyers to keep it as offices but a businessman told the committee his company had tried to acquire the building but had been out-priced.