Additional housing on farm complex excessive

The demolition of farm buildings in Oxfordshire to enable the construction of nine dwellings would cumulatively give rise to a disproportionate addition to the village and conflict with the council's spatial development strategy.

Planning permission had been granted on part of the site for eight new dwellings and the conversion of two barns into two further houses. The council stated that its planning policies identified the settlement as a smaller village where infill development of between 5-6 dwellings would be acceptable. In combination with the permitted schemes, the council argued that it would involve a disproportionate addition which did not comprise infill development.

Although the council contended that the scheme would not involve redevelopment since it involved agricultural buildings which did not fall within the definition of being previously developed, the inspector held that this was overly restrictive. It involved replacing operational development in the form of hardstandings and steel frame buildings with new buildings such that it could reasonably comprise redevelopment. But the village had only a limited range of facilities and future residents would be heavily dependent on car use, he determined. Cumulatively, the scheme, if permitted, would give rise to 19 dwellings which would be out of scale for the limited size of the village and its facilities.

Regarding the inclusion of a plan to change the use of part of the site to a cemetery or as community open space, there was limited information on need and it would impact on an AONB. Moreover, he agreed with the council that in determining the level of affordable housing required, the cumulative number of houses should be used. The two permissions remained extant and it seemed likely that they would be developed in conjunction with the appeal scheme if it were to proceed. Therefore, the appellant’s offer of four affordable units fell short of the seven units required.

Inspector: Robert Parker; Written representations

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