FORTY-SIX new homes will be built on a green space in Bicester despite objections from residents and councillors.
A residential development on land off Tangmere Close and Scampton Close, Skimmingdish Lane, was approved by Cherwell District Council’s planning committee on Thursday.
The stretch of open space, effectively bounded by the Bicester bypass, was earmarked for recreation use in the 1996 Adopted Local Plan.
Among those objecting at the meeting was Bicester Town councillor James Porter. He said: “We are supposed to be promoting sustainable development and places with extensive green space, and walking and cycling ways. We are also championed as a garden town. Although it hasn’t been manicured and managed, this area is a very live recreation space heavily used by local people.”
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His objections were backed up by Bicester councillors Lawrie and Rose Stratford, as well as councillor Nigel Randall for Adderbury.
The application was still approved. The new homes, 30 per cent of which will be affordable, will be two storeys high.
Originally the applicant had wanted consent for 71 homes, but this was later revised.
Alex Hayles, representing agents Savills plc, told the committee that some green space would be kept. He added: “The development will make a valuable contribution to housing in the district, and also the provision of affordable housing.”
Ahead of the planning meeting a total of 21 letters had been received responding to the proposed development.
Tangmere Close residents Emma and Ian Schultz were among those to write to the council’s case officer, Linda Griffiths.
Mrs Schultz said: “There’s lots of wildlife out there. You see all sorts of lovely creatures like owls and red kites – lots of people go out there walking with their dogs.
“And there’s an awful lot of traffic around. It’s going to be a dangerous exit and entrance to the development.”
Alongside the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Oxfordshire Badger Group had registered its disapproval on the grounds that the patch of green space was a wildlife corridor.
Spokeswoman Julia Hammett said: “The Oxfordshire Badger Group feels the plan to develop the parcel of land at Skimmingdish Lane is a loss of a natural open space for residents and the loss of an area, which is part of a linear park, forming a vital wildlife corridor for badgers and other animals.”
The application was jointly submitted by British housebuilding companies Persimmon plc and Taylor Wimpey plc on Thursday, May 1.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “Our proposals for a new residential development off Skimmingdish Lane in Bicester have been recommended for approval by Cherwell District Council. We have addressed any technical issues raised during the extended consultation, including moving our site access at the council’s request.
“The development, which will provide 46 new homes, is also included in Cherwell District Council’s latest five-year housing land supply position. The council’s ecology officer, and Natural England, has seen the plan and raised no objections.”