COUNCILLORS went against the advice of planning officers to back more than 120 objections to an enlarged farmhouse being relocated closer to a village to the north-west of Banbury

Permission exists to replace the current bungalow and farm buildings with a two-storey, five-bedroom house, open store and stables on the same plot but applicant Finlay Scott wants to move 300 metres closer to the south of Hornton. 

The argument for relocating centred around “noise and disturbance arising from the Wroxton motocross track”, allowing the house to be “better screened” by tress in lower-lying land than the previously-approved plot.

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The proposed new site sits above the village which itself rests in a valley.

John Offord, chair of Hornton Parish Council said that villagers ‘strongly object’ to building on “productive agricultural land outside the curtilage of the village” and that the location runs the risk of infilling – future proposals to build homes in the gap between the new house and the village.

“The risk is magnified as the applicant owns the land between the new site and the village, a strong potential financial motive,” he said. 

Peter Frampton, an agent for the applicant, said that the land had been ‘actively’ farmed throughout the 14 years of his client’s ownership and that the site of the old farmhouse would “be returned to agriculture”.

On the prospect of infilling, Mr Frampton said: “That circumstance clearly does not apply to this proposal. This fear… with respect, is unfounded and misconceived.” 

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However, councillors on Cherwell District Council’s planning committee were concerned by the potential for setting a precedent for stretching the boundaries of villages. 

Planning chair councillor George Reynolds said: “I think it comes down simply to the policies of this council.

“I disagreed at the time with the replacement of a bungalow and barn buildings with a much larger building when the initial permission was given for the original site but I could see the arguments for it. 

“In this case, I can see why there is a request to move the farmhouse nearer the village but having said that, if this had been an application for a farmhouse just there it would have been turned down. 

“There are many appeals where buildings on the edge of villages, especially category C villages, have been turned down by the Inspectorate as extensions of the village.

“I have to come down to something I believe in, that we must respect the planning policies of this council unless there are really strong reasons not to do so.” 

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Seven councillors, including Mr Reynolds, voted to reject the plans with four abstentions and two votes against saying no.


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