WANTAGE residents have criticised amended plans to a 1,500-home development after the proposed density of houses was increased by more than a quarter.

A reserved matters planning application for the Crab Hill development suggests that some 102 homes are now to be built in phase 1B, despite the original plans suggesting there would only be 80.

The development, which has been years in the making and faced significant opposition, is east of Wantage, in Kingsgrove, and is set to include sport and leisure facilities and allotments, as well as a range of houses.

Oxfordshire County Council, Wantage Town Council and Grove Parish Council have raised no objections to the new plans.

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But Julie Mabberley, from the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group, said: "We object to this application and request that this major amendment to an outline planning agreement be discussed by a planning committee and that AONB be invited to comment on the amendment.

"What is the point of spending years agreeing an outline plan for a development which includes densities and detailed design statements if a developer can ignore them and change the density by 27.5%?"

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Pointing out inconsistencies in the proposed plans, she continued: "This application makes the work done on the original design strategy appear to be a waste of time and must be refused."

There are also concerns about the increased height of the planned houses, increased light spill and boundary disputes between future neighbours.

A nearby Parsonage Close resident wrote: "Outline planning showed all properties were to be two storeys. Now there are to be seventeen 2.5 storey properties.

"Not only has the density of the phase been increased considerably but it now includes properties of 2.5 storeys (at focal points).

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The statement continued: "There is no explanation as to what or why a location is considered a focal point nor is any consideration given to existing residents.

"Apparently a Planning Officer was concerned about light spill on to the AONB. The new street lights along the A417 will throw more light spill on to the AONB than houses in this phase."

Dinny Shaw, Planning Manager at St. Modwen explained: "It represents a small change of just 22 homes from the site-wide strategy for this phase but does not increase the overall provision of 1,500 homes.

"It creates the opportunity to bring some affordable housing forward and is well within the density parameters approved for this phase at outline consent stage.

"As the 227 acre site at Kingsgrove is developed out through its planned phases it is normal that these small adjustments will occur where there are opportunities to provide enhancements in the mix and type of homes reflecting the demands and the needs of the new community to be delivered."

District Councillor Charlotte Dickson did not respond to a request for comment.

A decision is due on June 4.

To see the plans, visit https://bit.ly/2HR6Oy4 and search for P19/V0565/RM