Go-ahead for first major housing scheme in neighbourhood plan area

The first major planning application judged against a neighbourhood plan that allocates housing sites has been approved in an Oxfordshire town.

Thame Town Hall, Oxfordshire. Pic: Reading Tom, Flickr
Thame Town Hall, Oxfordshire. Pic: Reading Tom, Flickr

South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee unanimously approved outline plans on Wednesday evening for 175 homes in Thame.

The Thame Neighbourhood Plan was ‘made’ by the council, meaning it was adopted into the local plan, in July having been approved by residents in a referendum in May.

It was the first neighbourhood plan to allocate sites for development, proposing that 775 homes be built on seven different sites around the town.

Applicants Commercial Estates Group and Christopher Holland applied to build the homes plus open space on land west of Thame Park Road. The land is in site D in the neighbourhood plan where it is earmarked for 175 homes.

The town council, which had drawn up the plan, raised a holding objection in August listing a number of concerns. These included the provision of open space and how details of the development complied with the neighbourhood plan. 

But last month it withdrew its objection, subject to a number of conditions, following amendments to the planning application. The town council said it wanted "full involvement" in the drawing up of the section 106 planning gain agreement and the creation of a new cycleway and footpath in the development.

The officers’ report to the committee states: "This is an allocated site within the Thame Neighbourhood Plan where the principle of housing development is acceptable.

"Thame Town Council remain concerned about the lack of a footpath around the edge of the western field.

"However, the applicants have provided additional information in terms of their agricultural business as to why this is not feasible.

"I have given weight to this and recommend that planning permission is granted."

The application proposes a 40 per cent affordable housing level.

Planning’s neighbourhood planning datamap and table can be found here.


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