A DEVELOPER has been asked to stop building at a new housing estate near Bicester because planning conditions have not yet been satisfied by Cherwell District Council.

Housebuilder Mulberry Homes started construction work at the beginning of November at its latest development in Launton.

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Situated on Blackthorn Road, the estate called Launton Mews will be home to a range of two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom houses.

The project was approved on appeal, subject to conditions, after being refused by the council back in 2017.

Some of the conditions relate to existing and proposed ground levels, vehicular accesses, landscaping, bin collection layout, tree pit detail and a bridge over a ditch on the site.

Oxford Mail:

Some of the plans submitted to meet these conditions must be approved before building can start, such as proposed ground levels.

Mulberry's proposed ground levels are too high and have therefore been refused, but construction has already started.

As the housebuilder has not yet satisfied all of the requirements, the council has now asked it to stop construction work by the end of today before more enforcement is imposed.

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A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of the ongoing development which has planning permission subject to conditions. The developer has submitted details but not yet satisfied all of those conditions.

"Very recent refusal decisions by the council (including for condition 4) have led to the developer being asked to voluntarily cease work within 48 hours (from Wednesday 25 November). This would provide an opportunity for the developer to address the council’s concerns and would avoid the need for more formal enforcement action.

"Council officers wish to ensure that the requirements of the planning conditions, including those relating to ground and floor levels, are met before work continues.”

Oxford Mail:

Launton resident David Clayton has expressed concerns that Mulberry may have started changing ground and site levels already and that raising them would impact the village's flooding problem.

He said: "They have not secured discharge of the conditions mentioned and appear to be in such a hurry as to avoid any enforcement action by the local planners. If you think that raising the levels on site will not adversely affect flooding conditions in Launton, then think again."

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When the proposal was put to the council three years ago, it received criticism with the main problem being that it would be an ‘unnecessary development’ of greenfield land forming part of the open countryside.

Residents were also against the plan with 175 letters of objection submitted.

Concerns included the fact that there was an increased flood risk and drainage issues in the village, the development would lead to increased traffic, would not be in keeping with the character of the village and would be too large.

Despite this, the developer appealed the decision and it was later approved by a planning inspector in 2018.

The inspector, Kenneth Stone, was satisfied that, ‘designed with care’, the housing estate would not be ‘unduly assertive’ or ‘excessively intrusive’ enough to undermine the beauty of the countryside.

Mr Stone also said that additional traffic would not result in material harm to highway safety and there was no evidence to demonstrate that there would be significant inconvenience or hazard.

Mulberry Homes was contacted for comment but failed to respond before this paper went to print.