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Oxfordshire housing scheme allowed by SoS

Published: Thursday, 1st September 2016

260 home development on the edge of the Oxfordshire town of Witney has been allowed on appeal after it was originally refused because of safety concerns…

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has approved on appeal a development of 260 homes (initially 270 dwellings) on the edge of the Oxfordshire town of Witney originally refused by the planning authority on a number of grounds including safety concerns.

The farm land site within the valley of the River Windrush on the north-western flank of the town is adjacent to a hazardous installation, a liquefied petroleum gas bottling depot run by energy company Flogas.

Safety watchdog the Health and Safety Executive had originally advised against the development but changed its view when the number of dwellings was reduced and the distance of the nearest housing to the depot increased. The inspector who held the recovered appeal into Gladman Developments Ltd’s outline proposals had recommended that the appeal should be allowed.

Although Javid acknowledged that the proposals were not in line with the relevant development plan policies for housing he also concluded that they were out of date and the council could not demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land.

The decision letter said: “the SoS is satisfied that there are no adverse [environmental] impacts which, either individually or together, are of sufficient weight to indicate that the development should be restricted”.

Javid said the adverse impacts were “limited” and did not “outweigh the substantial benefits which would result from the provision of new housing and affordable housing to boost supply as required by the National Planning Policy Framework”.

He agreed with the inspector that the limited harm to the river landscape and the setting of listed mill buildings did not outweigh the need to boost housing supply in the area.

View the recovered appeal: Burford Road, Witney, Oxford

Roger Milne