Refusals fly at Cherwell District Council’s planning committee meeting

Plans to build 46 homes on the Bodicote Flyover Farm were refused
Plans to build 46 homes on the Bodicote Flyover Farm were refused

A number of highly emotive planning applications were discussed at yesterday’s Cherwell Districts Council’s planning committee meeting with a number of decisions going against officers recommendations.

Plans for 46 dwellings on Tappers Farm in Bodicote, known locally as the car boot field at the Bodicote Flyover, came under heavy criticism. Bodicote Cllr Andrew McHugh gave an impassioned speech opposing the plans on a number of grounds.

Among them was the fact that four years ago neither the Cherwell Local Plan or the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment had identified the land for development due to visual impact and coalescence.

Cllr McHugh argued that nothing had changed and this should be respected.

The coalescence issue was one of the key points, as development on this land would effectively end any and all delineation between Banbury and Bodicote, robbing Bodicote of its rural identity.

Land to the east and west of Tappers Farm has already been earmarked for development and this small piece of land was seen as crucial in maintaining separation.

The original plan had called for 52 homes.

The plans were open to discussion with Cllr Chris Heath supporting Cllr McHughs opposition.

Cllr Heath said: “I don’t know where to start with this.” She went on to forcefully oppose the plans on the grounds of coalescence and traffic problems that access to the homes and the future link road that will join White Post Road, connecting the Bloxham and Oxford Roads, will create.

Cllr Heath proposed a motion to refuse the plans but was asked for specific planning reasons for the opposition. There is little room for emotion and sentiment in planning committee meetings.

Cllr Ian Corkin took exception to this saying: “I do feel that the push back on the member to come up with reasons for something that is so fundamental for the defence of the local plan is somewhat unfair.”
Cllr Colin Clarke sat upon the other side of the fence, saying: “I look at this from a different angle. I think this land is crying out for development.”
Cllr Heath’s motion to refuse was seconded by Cllr Casi Perry and the plans were refused by nine votes to four with five abstentions.

In other applications, Bloxham School’s desire for floodlights to be installed on the Dewey Sports field was discussed.

This too was refused despite headmaster Paul Sanderson giving a five minute speech on the merits of the plans.