The director for Campaign to Protect Rural England Oxfordshire has praised the council for standing its ground over a planning appeal for 117 home in Banbury.

A government planning inspector last week <6/1> backed Cherwell District Council’s decision to reject the controversial plans for Crouch Hill.

The council had thrown out Gleeson Developments Ltd's application for planning permission for the site on the outskirts of the town in March.

CPRE Oxfordshire director Helen Marshall said: “It is good to see such a sensible decision from the planning inspectorate and well done to Cherwell District Council for standing their ground. This site is an important landscape feature, providing a rural backdrop to the town, as well as being of cultural importance in relation to the Civil War."

The plans proposed developments on the 10.5 hectare land south of Broughton Road including up to 117 homes with parking.

On Tuesday, January 6, inspector Jennifer Vyse refused the appeal concluding that the plans would have a “significant adverse impact on the character and appearance of the part of the district.”

She said: “In my consideration the site is still seen as an essential component of the rural setting of the hill and is very sensitive with a low capacity for residential development.

"I am in no doubt that the erection of up to 117 dwellings on the lower field would constitute a considerable intrusion into that setting.”

Cherwell District Council rejected plans originally calling it a "sporadic and unsustainable" extension of the town's boundary.

Cherwell’s lead member for planning, councillor Michael Gibbard, said: “The site was not thought suitably practical on landscape grounds and it is pleasing to see the inspector has supported that view.

“Any housing on that hill would be very visible and out of keeping. We are delighted that the inspector seemed to agree with us as it is a special landscape site and worthy of keeping.”

The original plan received 33 letters of objection, including an objection from the Campaign to Protect Rural England Oxfordshire group.

Mr Gibbard added: “It is so pleasing to find an inspector that has recognised the value of the landscape. As an authority we are aware of our requirements to meet Government housing targets but our ethos has always been to provide the right homes in the right locations while preserving the open countryside and preventing urban sprawl.”

Gleeson Development Ltd was not available to comment.

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