Residents of a Banbury area village have fears over the re-use of a garage yard as a travellers' site on their doorstep addressed

Residents of a Banbury area village have had their fears over the establishment of a site for travellers on their doorstep addressed by local councillors.
The yard of Varney's Garage in Quarry Road, HorntonThe yard of Varney's Garage in Quarry Road, Hornton
The yard of Varney's Garage in Quarry Road, Hornton

Hornton Parish Council moved swiftly to calm fears that a travellers’ camp site might be built on land at present occupied by Varney’s Garage in Quarry Road when the business closes in a few months' time.

Rumours about a travellers' camp on the garage site arose from a post on the village’s community Facebook page. However the parish council has assured them planning permission has not been granted for such a site. Instead the owner has been given the go-ahead to build three houses on the land.

“The reason for potential confusion is that Cherwell District Council is in the process of developing a Local Plan,” a spokesman said.

“As part of this process, they put out a request for suggested sites for future development, open to anyone to make suggestions whether or not they owned the land. One person, speculatively, suggested Varney's as a potential traveller site.”

Varney's Garage is currently used for a mix of uses including car sales, repairs, scrap yard and waste handling. The plan, accepted by Cherwell District Council, will be a row of three, two-storey, detached houses, two with detached double garages and one with an attached garage.

The building of houses in open countryside is only granted planning permission where it is considered to be essential for agriculture, or on some cases for the provision of affordable housing and in this case should be seen as 'unsustainable'.

However planning officers said there were clear benefits associated with the removal of the garage and scrapyard which are incompatible with the location in terms of visual impact, its relationship with neighbouring residential properties and the HGV movements it generates. Balancing out the benefits against the adverse effects, planning consent was given.