The long running, planning themed soap opera that is the Bloxham garage, continued apace last week during Cherwell District Council’s monthly planning committee meeting.
Once again the operators of the garage, Motor Fuel Group (MFG), have submitted retrospective plans, this time for two illuminated Londis signs on the service station building.
The signs, which emit an eerie green glow, were installed, without prior planning consent or consultation in February last year, were recommended for approval with the condition that they not be illuminated between the hours of 9pm and 6am.
Resident Amanda Baxter, whose property directly faces the garage, once again took to the stand outlining the detrimental effects the lighting has had during the past 14 months.
She said: “The benefit of this application being retrospective is that I can describe the impact of this lighting on myself, my family and my neighbours.
“When these lights are illuminated a rather unattractive green glow is cast into all of the rooms and the hallway at the front of my house, as the light reflects off the shiny green Londis facia board.
She added: “The light facing South Newington Road sits level with two of my bedroom windows and we struggle to shut out the light, which has an obvious impact on our ability to settle to sleep.”
The discussion was then given over to the committee to debate.
Long time opponent and Bloxham resident Cllr Chris Heath was first to speak, making her frustration with MFG very apparent.
Cllr Heath said: “I am totally sick and tired of this whole business as I’m sure all the members are.
“ Would members please note this is another retrospective one (plan) that they put in without applying for.
“MFG have totally ignored the harm caused to residents throughout all of their retrospective applications. They’ve not even bothered to attend one of the planning meetings to explain or apologise.
Cllr Heath added: “This total lack of consideration for residents of a small village does absolutely nothing for their reputation.”
Cllr Heath went on to propose to oppose the application on a number of points including its clash with the Bloxham Neighbourhood Development Plan, even with the required 9pm to 6am curfew.
She said: “What happens in the winter when it is dark at quarter to four? That means they (residents) still have to have five hours of this light.
“ Also, with this condition how would this be enforced? Are we going to permanently put a member of the enforcement team or a member of the environment team outside the garage? No, this will be down to residents and they have just spent 12 months doing this.”
The words of scorn continued as Cllr Ian Corkin added: “Here we go again, quite incredibly really. I think their treatment of the local community, at best, shows a complete disregard for them and, at worst, amounts to corporate bullying.”
MFG are currently appealing a decision of refusal for canopy lighting that was described during last months meeting as ‘brighter than the surface of the sun’.
The motion to refuse the current retrospective was passed with one abstention and no opposition.
To view the plan visit the CDC’s planning website at www.cherwell.gov.uk/info/9/planning-and-building and search for 19/00245.
MFG have not responded to the BG for comment.