VILLAGERS from Oakley have voiced their opposition to plans to build 107 homes.
As reported in The Gazette, Gleeson Developments has applied to the borough council for outline permission to build the homes with associated landscaping, open space and car parking, on land west of Beech Tree Close.
More than 100 people from the village met on May 14 to discuss the proposals, before a spokesman for the newly-formed action group presented their views to Oakley Parish Council’s planning committee the following evening.
Dr Ian Prescott, a retired managing director, of Barn Lane, said Gleeson had failed to properly engage with residents and said they should have submitted a full planning application because of the site’s position in the Church Oakley Conservation Area.
The father-of-three added that Oakley’s village design statement advises that “no further pressure should be placed on the present infrastructure unless suitable improvements are included when necessary.”
Dr Prescott said the proposed access point for pedestrians at Cedar Lodge is “severely dangerous”, with a narrow bend, poor visibility and no street lighting.
He added: “With the additional footfall and traffic volumes, the chances of an accident between a car and a pedestrian rise over 100 times.”
He also pointed out potential problems with the sewage system and flooding issues.
Oakley borough councillor Rob Golding also voiced his objections at the meeting, labelling the application “premature” because it had been submitted before the final details of the Local Plan have been agreed, and this will determine where 150 homes should be built in Oakley.
He added: “There’s no doubt that pre-determining 107 houses out of 150 would undermine the entire neighbourhood planning process.”
Cllr Golding also pointed out that when creating the Local Plan, council officers had stated that the site at Beech Tree Close was an “inappropriate location for large-scale housing development” because it would extend the village into the open countryside.
Cllr Tom Favell, chairman of the planning committee, said councillors had met on several occasions to look at the plans, adding: “Having reviewed, to the best of our abilities, and listening to your arguments, it’s our opinion that the council objects to this proposal.”
The reasons given were because of the development’s location in the conservation area, traffic problems and the density of the development.
Cllr Favell said: “We believe the density should be considerably lower in the conservation area.”
He added: “I would like to sum up by asking the developer why didn’t they wait until our neighbourhood plan was in place so we can have a view from the village about where and how we want development?”