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Parish plans legal battle over homes plan in Ambrosden
A PARISH council is seeking legal advice over whether it can call for a judicial review after plans for 45 homes were approved at an appeal hearing.
Last month, planning inspector Ian Radcliffe backed the scheme by the Trustees of the Norman Collission Foundation to demolish Ambrosden Court, off Merton Road, Ambrosden, and redevelop the site.
Cherwell District Council’s planning committee had rejected the proposals last July.
Following the reversal of the veto, a parish council spokesman said: “The village is horrified by the decision.”
The parish council has now agreed to seek legal advice over whether it can overturn the inspector’s decision. It will appoint a barrister, hoping that the district council will fund a judicial review.
Mark Longworth, chairman of Ambrosden Parish Council, said: “Many of the villagers living near the site have been shocked and dismayed at the planning inspector’s verdict.
“The inspector ruled that the council’s lack of a five-year land supply overcame the material harm the scheme would have otherwise caused.
“The parish council contacted three different planning specialists to find out their views on the appeal decision. While all confirmed that we could not challenge the appeal because of the lack of a five-year land supply, it has become clear that there are a number of technical issues on which it may be possible to make a challenge.”
Mr Longworth said a legal case would be based on concerns over access to the site and the cumulative impact of housing on the village.
A Cherwell District Council spokesman said it was unaware of the parish council’s legal move and was unlikely to fund a judicial review.
The Trustees of the Norman Collission Foundation declined to comment.
Mr Longworth said: “These issues include the assertion by the planning inspector that it would be possible to walk over private front gardens to overcome insufficiently wide footpaths, and the failure of the inspector to review the cumulative impact of recent permissions affecting the parish, including 1,900 homes at Graven Hill, Ambrosden, and 90 houses at Springfield Farm. This is a 340 per cent increase in houses in a small parish of only 700 homes.
“The approvals of 82 homes in Arncott in the past two years put even more pressure on the facilities that Ambrosden provides – such as schools and a doctors’ surgery – and should have also been considered.”
He said the parish council supported a smaller development at the site, and would expect Cherwell to fund any judicial review.
The 1.63 hectare site was given planning permission in 2010 to demolish existing buildings, alter the access and build five new homes.
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