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Botley housing set for go-ahead despite concerns
A LONG-AWAITED Botley housing scheme could be approved tomorrow, six years after plans were put on hold over flooding fears.
Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee will consider the 136-home plan tomorrow night.
The Lime Road scheme was approved in 2007 but work could not start until Thames Water improved drainage and sewer networks.
The £7m works finished in 2011 and developer Bovis Homes had to resubmit its plans as permission had expired.
Outline planning permission for the scheme – including 40 per cent affordable housing – was given in February.
Yet further permission on finer details was still needed and the committee deferred a decision in July over concerns about design.
Now changes have been made, including putting two-storey instead of three-storey buildings along the boundary with Lime Road and Yarnells Hill.
Some homes have also been moved so there are “less marked changes in scale” between homes, a report by planning officer Martin Deans says.
“Simpler” materials will also now be used, extra planting will go along the north boundary to screen the site and a pedestrian link to it removed over neighbours’ concerns about security.
But North Hinksey Parish Council vice-chairman Neil Clark said there was still great concern about traffic and parking.
He said: “It is going to create really big problems. I think there is still a lot of concern about it.
“The main decisions were made six years ago and it has been about trying to get the best deal for Botley since then.”
Parish council chairman Andrew Pritchard questioned in August whether the area’s infrastructure and Botley Medical Centre would be able to cope with the new homes.
Mr Deans said the changes “have addressed the concerns made and have improved its relationship to neighbours”.
Sir Brian and Lady Harrison, of Yarnells Hill, told the council they “understand the need for the Vale to provide additional homes”.
Yet they warned against three-storey homes, adding: “Apart from their being out of keeping with the whole area, smaller two-storey buildings would be more consistent with the Government’s policy to encourage the building of homes for first-time buyers.
The committee will meet at Abbey House, Abbey Close, Abingdon at 6.30pm. The public can attend.