‘Victory for local people’ as 121 homes plan with hundreds of objections refused

Proposals to construct 121 homes, an 80-bed care home and green space to land at Bayswater Farm on the outskirts of Headington was submitted to South Oxfordshire District Council in January with the application outcome being announced on Thursday.

Land at the Sandhills site near Barton formed part of a “strategic allocation” in the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035, with the total 110 hectare area being expected to deliver around 1,100 new homes up to 2034.

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But refusal of the 121 home plan has been met with relief.

Barton and Sandhills ward councillor Jabu Nala-Hartley said: “I think it’s a testimony to the people of Barton and Sandhill.

Oxford Mail: Jabu Nala-Hartley.Jabu Nala-Hartley. (Image: Contribution.)

“The campaign to have this development stopped has been going on for a while.

“Credit goes to the campaigners.

“It’s a victory for local people because their environment is safe for now.”

Ms Nala-Hartley, an Oxford Socialist Independents councillor, had previously said she was against the plans to build at Bayswater Farm, with “environmental grounds” forming the basis of her objection.

Oxford Mail: Proposed development.Proposed development. (Image: South Oxfordshire District Council.)

The applicant had insisted the development would create access to existing Green Belt land through delivery of new footpaths across the site.

A planning paper added: “The substantial area of open space will include an extensive network of routes which connect into the wider pedestrian and cycle network.

“It will also promote interaction between the new and existing community, as well as health and wellbeing.”

But objector Michael March said: “I can see no justification for concreting over Bayswater Farm Field now when it has resisted repeated developers’ attempts to do so over the past 65 years or so.

Oxford Mail: Ms Nala-Hartley at the Bayswater Farm site.Ms Nala-Hartley at the Bayswater Farm site. (Image: Contribution.)

“And the reasons that have been given for refusing permission for development are as valid today as they ever were, if not more so.”

Mike Rowley, who is a Labour councillor for the ward, has also said he is pleased the application has been refused.

Mr Rowley added: “The problem was always trying to arrange road access.

Oxford Mail: Mike Rowley.Mike Rowley. (Image: Oxfordshire County Council)

“I don’t think there would have been road infrastructure to bear the extra traffic so I’m happy with the outcome.

“There was very strong objection from almost everyone I spoke to in the Sandhills area.”

When asked how his views on the project tied in with the city council’s insistence that Oxford “needs homes”, Mr Rowley said the development at Bayswater Farm in particular was “not appropriate”.

The Labour councillor added: “Oxford does need houses but that doesn’t mean any speculative developer can put any development anywhere.

“I am not in favour of speculative developers coming in and exploiting that need for homes.”

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