A MAJOR housebuilder was berated for trying to 'weasel around' a crucial condition of a huge planning application for 200 homes.

David Wilson Homes, the developer for the North West Abingdon site, submitted an amendment to its proposal to allow 30 homes to be sold before works on the access road to the huge estate are completed.

Vale of White Horse District Council planners are now being urged to stand firm after the controversial application for the land off Dunmore Road was made earlier this month.

The developer is set to erect a mix of one, two, three, four and five bedroom properties, 35 per cent of which will be affordable housing.

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However, when the local authority approved the major application that is part of the Local Plan, it also imposed a condition to address mounting traffic concerns that were top of many residents' thoughts.

It included access for vehicles to the site from Wootton Road, a three-metre wide footpath and cyclepath within the site and with access to the busy road, a ghost right turn lane on Wootton Road serving this site, and uncontrolled crossings for pedestrians.

This was done in the interest of highway safety.

The condition, which David Wilson Homes are looking to amend, states: " The access, footpath and cyclepath, ghost right hand turn lane, vision splays, and all associated highway works shall be provided prior to the first occupation of any dwelling permitted on the site."

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Oxfordshire County councillor for Abingdon North Emily Smith revealed she has already objected to the application.

In a post on Facebook she commented: "The Vale's Planning Committee put a condition on the developers to finish the road before people move in for safety reasons and that should stand – infrastructure before development."

In a letter to the district council Georgina Naish, planner on behalf of the housebuilder, argued that the discharge of the condition is requested to ensure that 'delays in delivery/pause in build programme given the urgent need for 200 new homes'.

But a number of Abingdon residents criticised the 'outrageous' move from David Wilson Homes and urged the planning authority to not accept the proposal.

One resident Roger Michael Thomas commented: "It would be quite wrong to grant this variation to a condition, which the developer was quite happy to accept before.

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"It would make the timetable for doing the work indefinite, because the developer cannot control when people buy the houses and move in.

"This looks like just a grubby ruse to make a few more quid profit by putting off this highway safety expenditure for as long as possible."

A spokesperson from Friends of Abingdon Civic Society, which also commented against the proposal, pointed out: "There have been two fatal accidents involving schoolchildren on that stretch of the road.

"It must not be made any more dangerous."

To find out more about the application visit Vale's planning portal using reference P20/V2777/FUL.