Enstone homes fight still not over
A MOVE to amend plans to build 32 homes and a new village hall has split a community in west Oxfordshire.
A number of residents living close to the site on the edge of Enstone have spoken of being resigned to the “juggernaut” of development.
But Enstone Parish Council said most of the village was in favour of the scheme, which will include 16 affordable homes and the £250,000 hall, which will replace the 90-year-old corrugated iron parish hall.
Charles Church Developments is behind the development, in fields off Cox’s Lane.
An initial planning application was turned down by West Oxfordshire District Council in March last year over concerns about flooding risks, whether there was a need for affordable housing in Enstone and the “harm” of building in an “unsustainable” location.
But Charles Church reapplied with a revised scheme and, despite 11 letters of objection from residents, was granted permission by the district council’s uplands planning sub-committee last June.
Councillors said the previous reasons they had given for refusal had been addressed and that the affordable housing and village hall justified granting permission.
A new planning application has been submitted to the district council for consent to make minor changes to the scheme.
Resident Graham Speke said: “It seems unnecessary as a development.
“There are enough houses in Enstone and the existing facilities in the village – the church, youth hall and the sports club – means there is no need for the hall.
“It’s a waste of money but we’re a bit philosophical about it now. It was a bit of a juggernaut and it felt a bit unstoppable.”
Mr Speke said residents still also had concerns about water run-off from the development causing flooding to their homes.
But parish council chairman David Parris said members had backed the scheme last year and was likely to be in favour of the revised application.
He said: “We’re not opposed to the housing and are relatively content to take our share of the development and extra housing required.
“But main reason the parish council is in favour of it is that it brings a decent parish hall, which is needed.
“The current hall was built in 1922 and is a tin shed with no parking.
“We believe a new hall will encourage local societies and new activities.”
The developer will build the £250,000 village hall before handing it over to the parish council to fit out using the proceeds from the sale of the parish hall.
Charles Church Thames Valley’s technical director, Andy Dicker, said: “The proposal going before the planning committee is simply a plot substitution.
“The quantity of houses, elevations and property sizes will remain the same.”