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Firms support couple in Green Belt B&B plans row
YARNTON businesses have leapt to the defence of a B&B over a planning battle with council chiefs.
They said Blenheim Edge Guest House in Woodstock Road provides a vital service to the village.
It opened in 2011 in but did not get permission to change its official use from a private house to a B&B.
Bids in August 2012 and February 2013 to get permission along with a new building were rejected by Cherwell District Council.
It said the four-room stand-alone extension did not meet Green Belt policy and would “adversely affect” the area’s open aspect.
But owners Tanya and Simon Rea are appealing against the decision to the independent Planning Inspectorate.
Among those who have written letters supporting the couple is Sandii Hamilton, of the Turnpike pub, Woodstock Road.
The letter – sent to the inspectorate – told the Reas: “We have been very pleased with the additional customers that you send along to us.”
There is a “real shortage” of local accommodation, she said, a concern backed by Oxford Aviation Academy.
Housing manager Nicola Ash said the b&b was fully booked and could not take its students. She said: “It is difficult to find good quality accommodation at a reasonable price in the local area.”
Dr Caroline Livingstone, academic director of Begbroke Science Park, Woodstock Road, also lent her support.
She told the Reas: “Demand for your facility already outstrips supply and I am sure will only grow as Begbroke Science Park itself grows.”
The plan was not refused over changing the use of the existing building.
But Mrs Rea, 47, said the couple didn’t know their house was in the Green Belt.
She said: “We think we have special circumstances because we would be the only bed and breakfast for miles that could provide special access.”
“We’ve got so much support from local people because we’re the only b&b within walking distance.”
The application says it currently cannot accommodate wheelchair users, which is one purpose of the extension.
Kidlington Parish Council objected over the threat to the Green Belt, “inadequate” vehicle access and that building materials would not be in keeping with the area.