COUNCILLORS have joined together in objecting to a planning application for a retirement village.

The councillors hope that West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) will refuse an application by Inspired Villages for the 160-unit in Freeland.

More than 250 objections have been penned on WODC’s online planning portal, with just three in support.

Oxfordshire county councillor Liam Walker, together with district councillors Alaa Al-Yousuf and Merilyn Davies, said in a joint statement that the site is not part of WODC’s Local Plan.

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The statement read: “We endorse the objections submitted by more than 250 residents and the parish council, and will demand that the planning decision makers at the district council stand firm and defend the integrity of the Local Plan, which has deliberately excluded this site on the basis of its unsuitability for development.

“Residents expect the Local Plan to provide them with certainty and protection from large speculative developments.”

Mr Walker’s own objection comment – among 255 on the council website – said Freeland is ‘the wrong place’ for the proposed development.

The comment read: “Freeland does not have the facilities needed to sustain this type or size of development.

“I am fully supportive of the need for more care facilities for our elderly population, but Freeland really is the wrong place for this.

“This type of site would be better suited in one of West Oxfordshire’s many larger connected communities.”

Freeland Parish Council reported it is ‘unanimous’ in its objection, with parish clerk Lisa Smith saying the ‘scale, location and type of development are inappropriate’.

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Jamie Bunce, chief executive of Inspired Villages, said: “We are dedicated to bringing forward schemes which not only address the chronic shortage of housing for older people across the UK, but which are designed and built to respond to local community needs.

“There is a significant unmet need in the whole West Oxfordshire district for homes that are especially designed for older people, and the over 65s population in the area is set to increase by 38 per cent by 2035.

“Our proposals at Freeland have been designed to address this critical shortage of specialist accommodation for older residents, whilst also delivering a range of new facilities including a village club house and shop, wellness centre and transport to surrounding retail and leisure outlets – all open to the local community.

“To ensure our proposals best respond to local needs, we have met with local politicians and parish councillors to gain feedback and began engaging with planning officers at WODC in December 2018, making representations to the Salt Cross Area Action Plan.

“We have also undertaken extensive engagement with local residents over the past year to ensure local priorities are reflected in our design.”

The application, for land on the west side of Wroslyn Road, can be viewed on the WODC planning pages, using the reference number 21/02627/OUT.