• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Hundreds object to Blenheim plans for third large estate

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 29, 2022

Hundreds have objected to plans for green homes which on top of other developments they say the town's infrastructure cannot support.

Blenheim Estate Homes is facing strong opposition as it awaits a decision on whether it can build 180 net-zero homes.

The planning application for land east of Hill Rise Woodstock has attracted over 450 objection comments on West Oxfordshire District Council's planning portal.

Blenheim says if permitted it is believed to be the largest rural development of PassivHaus standard homes in the UK.

The homes require little heating or cooling and 50 per cent of the homes will be affordable.

Planning documents state the scheme is a mix of houses and apartments, private affordable rent, shared equity and homes suitable for first-time buyers in various sizes built using traditional local materials.

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New and existing green corridors will link the community to surrounding habitats and tree-lined roads, cycle paths and pedestrian connections are proposed, many of which will connect to the centre of Woodstock.

Cars will be parked in parking barns which could also incorporate hub facilities for ‘hot desk’ office working, home delivery lockers, fast electric vehicle charging and electric cycle hire, it says.

Woodstock Town Council strongly objects to the proposals, stating the number of homes exceeds the WODC Local Plan and the effect of the greater density of homes will negatively impact Blenheim Palace, a World Heritage Site.

They also say the town's infrastructure, including schools and the GP surgery, will not be able to cope.

Thames Valley Police object to the parking barns which, they say, do not provide security for the cars and may allow undesirable intruders to lurk. Many footpaths between gardens also raise concerns for the security of homes.

Oxfordshire County Council's Transport Officer also comments on the straight roads which encourage speeding.

Blenheim is already constructing 300 houses at Park View and has submitted plans for 250 homes on Banbury Road.

"Even if the proposed developments for Woodstock comply with the housing numbers indicated in the Local Plan, the number of dwellings in Woodstock will increase by 600 over the next few years," states the town council.

"The present number of dwellings is in the region of 1,500."

Members of the Campaign to Protect Old Woodstock are also concerned about the increase in local traffic on the busy A44 and the danger to cyclists and pedestrians at pinch points and on narrow pavements.

There are also concerns about the loss of a recreation area and wildlife habitats in fields behind Hill Rise.

Andrew Rein, founding member of the campaign, said: "If you strip away from Blenheim's application all the gloss and spin of their glossy brochures you are left with an application for planning permission that is seriously flawed.”

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Blenheim believes the development could be a model for other landowners as part of the climate change agenda.

Blenheim Property Director Roger File said: "Our goal is to create long-term, high quality new homes that benefit their surrounding communities and are built in a sustainable and environmentally positive way, which helps to address both the climate change and fuel poverty agendas."

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