A HOUSING developer has been hauled up after an eagle-eyed planning officer realised that 15 of the supposedly three-bedroom homes on its new estate could easily be sold as more expensive four-bedroom homes.

Bovis Homes has now had to replace the proposed four-bedroom houses on its new 116-homes estate in Shrivenham near Faringdon with smaller, more affordable homes.

It came after Vale of White Horse District Council officer Adrian Butler realised that 15 of the three-bed houses that Bovis had been planning to build included a 'dressing area', which could easily be partitioned off to turn into a fourth bedroom.

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That would mean the houses could be marketed at a higher price as four-bedroom homes, as has already happened with this house type elsewhere, and as such would breach the council's rule that new housing estate must have a variety of house sizes.

Mr Butler wrote to Bovis Homes saying: "Following discussion with colleagues the departmental view on this application is that these house types should be treated as four-bedroom dwellings.

"The dressing area could easily be partitioned off to form a fourth bedroom and we note this house type is designed and being marketed elsewhere as a four-bedroom house.

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"Presently the application cannot be supported, as it is contrary to core policy 22.

"Should Bovis withdraw the house type from the application, I could progress the other house type amendments positively."

As such, Bovis has now submitted a forward planning application to the council asking for permission to alter its original scheme and change the 15 homes in question to more definite three-bedroom homes.