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Traffic concerns slam brakes on homes plan
RESIDENTS were last night celebrating after controversial plans for 160 homes in Abingdon were thrown out.
Concerns over increased traffic put the skids under the housing development off Drayton Road and it was refused permission by planning officers.
County councillor for Abingdon Marilyn Badcock said: “This is a victory for all the local people who actually came out and put their views forward. Local opinion won out for once.”
Sheffield-based Hallam Land Management wanted to build a mixture of one- to five- bedroom homes, with 40 per cent affordable housing, on a field to the east of Drayton Road. But the plans caused anger over concerns the estate would clog roads and damage wildlife habitats.
Commuters said there were already delays of up to 45 minutes in Drayton Road.
Others raised concerns that the field was already prone to flooding, which could be worsened by the development. Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood organised a public meeting in November to discuss the plans.
At the time she said residents’ concerns had not been properly taken into account by the developer.
Last night Ms Blackwood said: “This is a victory for both local campaigners and for basic common sense.
“We certainly need more affordable housing locally, and I fully appreciate the council’s difficulty in finding appropriate sites for development, but you can’t put the cart before the horse.
“It’s simple: infrastructure before expansion.”
Hallam said the estate would increase traffic by about 100 vehicles at peak times in Drayton Road.
Normally, a controversial application is decided by Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee.
But in this case the decision was delegated to head of planning Adrian Duffield and chairman of the planning committee Robert Sharp.
In his official refusal on Thursday, Mr Duffield agreed “the proposal would generate additional traffic movements on to Drayton Road which would lead to greater traffic” adding to “unacceptable”
levels of congestion.
Peter Dodd, 67, who lives in nearby Virginia Way with his wife Anne, said it was “not an occasion for Champagne”.
He added: “We are not surprised by the decision because opposition was strong.
“The plans were pretty awful but Hallam knew that and now they will go to appeal and say that the Vale does not have a current local housing plan. This is by no means finished.”
Hallam yesterday declined to discuss the decision.
September, 2012: Residents voice concerns
September: Hallam holds the first public exhibition of its plans for 170 houses
October: Hallam submits a revised application for 160 houses
November: MP Nicola Blackwood hosts a public meeting saying residents’ concerns have not been listened to
January: Vale head of planning Adrian Duffield