PLANS for hundreds of homes in an Oxfordshire village have sparked concerns about contamination.

Persimmon Homes – the developer behind the 2,500-home Wellington Gate estate at Grove Airfield – has now applied for planning permission to build more than 400 extra homes on the northern edge of the new estate – which is still under construction.

The plan also includes new access roads, open space, landscaping and drainage.

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The land is already earmarked for 400 homes in Vale of White Horse District Council's Local Plan – and it is to that council that Persimmon has submitted its application, saying the site could take ‘considerably more’ housing.

However, environmental protection officer Darren Detheridge has now commented on the planning application, warning that ‘potential sources for land contamination from the former Grove airfield have been identified’, which could present a significant risk to the development.

He advised the council that the housing should only be allowed after an ‘intrusive investigation’ for contamination before the development commences and, if necessary, to also produce a contaminated land remediation strategy before building begins.

Herald Series: Persimmon Homes applied for more than 400 dwellings to be erected between the northern edge of the Grove Airfield development and the Denchworth RoadPersimmon Homes applied for more than 400 dwellings to be erected between the northern edge of the Grove Airfield development and the Denchworth Road

He explained the conditions: “The reason is to ensure that any ground, water and associated gas contamination is identified and adequately addressed to ensure the safety of the development, the environment and to ensure the site is suitable for the proposed use.”

Residents also pointed out what they saw as other potential risks connected with the extensive proposal.

Paul Aram, who lives on Snuggs Lane in East Hanney, commented: “The Vale policies determine that flooding risk must not be increased for existing residents.

“Can the developers demonstrate suitable mitigation to prevent downstream flowing water flooding during high rain fall?”

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Mr Aram also said that the development should not proceed without completion of a new 'link road' to the north of Grove.

He added: “The additional traffic using alternative routes to avoid the Grove congestion would push traffic on to a single lane and impact numerous local villages with unwanted traffic.

“Can the developer demonstrate the likelihood of completion of this link road?”

Comments on the planning application can be submitted until Sunday, January 17, and the council’s planning committee is set to make a decision by February 26.

To find out more, go to whitehorsedc.gov.uk and search for planning application P20/V3113/O

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