Villagers near Banbury continue 'battle for countryside' after developer appeals council's rejection of 170 homes

A village protest group near Banbury has continued its fight to “save the countryside” after a housing developer put in an appeal to the council’s decision to reject the building of 170 houses.
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The Keep Hanwell Village Rural Action Group is asking residents to submit comments to the Planning Inspector in the next two weeks ahead of the appeal hearing.

Cherwell District Council’s planning committee rejected the application by house-building company Vistry last August after receiving over 480 objections from residents.

The Vistry group says that they plan to “build up to 170 new homes, 40 percent of which would be affordable, along with significant areas of public open space”.

The proposed plans for 170 homes between Hanwell village and Banbury.The proposed plans for 170 homes between Hanwell village and Banbury.
The proposed plans for 170 homes between Hanwell village and Banbury.

They also say that the development would not disturb any local conservation areas, and the site is free of any historical constraints that would stop developments.

Vistry has appealed the council’s decision, arguing that the authority cannot demonstrate a supply of suitable sites to provide a minimum of five years’ worth of housing in the district.

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However, many concerned locals feel that the development would cause Banbury’s northern suburbs to merge with Hanwell village, causing the village to lose much of its identity and picturesque views.

Cllr Cat Reid, of Hanwell Parish Council, said: "On behalf of the parish council and village residents we are extremely disappointed and concerned by Vistry’s decision to appeal.

"There are clearly more appropriate sites, as identified through the Local Plan process, and it is apparent the developer does not care about the strength of local opinion and the potential damage to hundreds of years of heritage that this proposal would cause."

Chris Brant, chair of the Keep Hanwell Village Rural Action Group, added: "The decision by the council to refuse planning was very clear. From the threat of coalescence with Hanwell, harm to character and appearance of open countryside and the heritage setting of Hanwell Conservation Area.

"Cherwell District Council has been able to demonstrate the required five-year housing land supply, and these large-scale housing developments being built outside of the town are not meeting the needs of the wider community".

Residents must submit comments to the Planning Inspectorate before Thursday March 21, they can be submitted here.