West Oxfordshire District Council: Red light for two green homes in village

Plans for a pair of green homes in Enstone have been rejected on the basis of being the right idea in the wrong place.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 5:56 pm

The self-build project - where individuals are directly involved in building or managing the construction of their home - on land to the east of The Drive, Enstone, was recommended for refusal by West Oxfordshire District Council planning officers.

A report argued that the use of the undeveloped site on the edge of a built-up area “would read as an illogical urban encroachment into a semi-rural edge of the village”, resulting in an “adverse impact" on the character of the village. It also argued that the development would not address any housing need.

Representations for the applicant highlighted that there had been no objections raised from Enstone Parish Council or regulatory bodies that get consulted on planning matters.

Plans for a pair of green homes in Enstone have been rejected on the basis of being the right idea in the wrong place.

However, planning officer James Nelson argued: “We feel The Drive forms a quite substantial barrier to development in this part of the village.

“Encroaching into this area of open space, we feel it does not form a logical complement to the existing pattern of development, rather it would extend into an area of open space that forms a significant gap between the three parts of Enstone.”

Councillor Merilyn Davies (Con, Freeland & Hanborough) said: “I am really struggling to understand the point of view of the officers on this one.

“In our local plan we say we want to encourage self build and we don’t seem to be doing that at the moment. They are carbon neutral homes, which is what we want, we want self build and this is what they are.

“I accept it is going slightly change the very rear of the line of houses but I think the benefits of this far outweigh any impact and I don’t feel it is a really strong argument from the officers on that."

Councillor David Jackson (Lib Dem, The Bartons) said: “We need to look at this in terms of the particular site.

“The fact it is carbon neutral and self build is great but if the site is not correct it should not influence what we are deciding.

“I think The Drive obviously forms a barrier to the village, to me it is plain and simple. There was talk about need, if what was proposed was affordable housing or a rural exception site I would be more inclined to be sympathetic.”

Councillor Julian Cooper (Lib Dem, Woodstock & Bladon) said: “If we allow this, how are you going to not allow anything else in that area? It is a really big area, I just think there would be a real dilemma for the committee there.”

The recommendation for refusal was voted through by seven councillors.