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House-building plans ‘a total waste of time’
OPPONENTS of a scrapped plan to build more homes in Vale villages have branded the whole affair a “waste of time and money”.
Vale of White Horse District Council had hoped to approve a policy tonight to allow more village developments to help it meet its five-year house building target. The Conservative-controlled council announced a consultation on the interim housing supply policy (IHSP) in October.
Developers came forward with plans for 5,078 homes across 146 sites in the district.
But the scheme has been blocked after legal changes in planning law introduced by the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework last month.
Now the council will create a “guidance statement” on village development, which councillors will consider when making decisions on applications.
Liberal Democrat opposition leader Richard Webber said the statement would have no real power. He said: “It (the IHSP) was something that was badly conceived and hastily rushed through. It’s gone flat on its face.”
The interim planning policy would have run until 1,000 new homes were built or until a core housing strategy blueprint was agreed in 2014.
Proposals included 542 homes in Drayton, 293 in Kingston Bagpuize, 240 in Harwell, 310 in Steventon and 185 in Sutton Courtenay. In Marcham, five sites were suggested for 229 homes.
Marcham Parish Council member Malcolm Denton said: “It has caused unnecessary concern and worry because of the way it’s been handled.”
But Vale leader Matthew Barber said: “We are still doing the same thing, just by a different route.”
He said consultation had identified sites for housing and generated valuable responses from parish councils and residents.
Officers’ reports on the site suggestions will be published at the end of the month and the council will soon publish a new timetable for agreeing the core housing strategy.
Helen Marshall, of Oxfordshire’s branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “The IHSP has been a complete waste of time and resources from start to finish.”