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  • Writer's pictureCllr Liam Walker

Retirement village plan is refused

Today (Monday 30th May) the uplands planning committee at West Oxfordshire District Council refused the application from Inspired Villages to build a 160-unit in the village of Freeland in West Oxfordshire.

Freeland & Hanborough District Councillor, Alaa Al-Yousuf, attended the meeting to speak on behalf of residents in his ward.

He addressed the meeting saying, "The background is that this site was deemed unsuitable for development and therefore excluded from our Local Plan which we adopted in September 2018. Prior to that, there was a pre-application consultation at which our planning officer's conclusion was that an application would be recommended for refusal. A second pre-application held in January 2021 resulted in the same conclusion, i.e: an application would be recommended for refusal."

Cllr Alaa Al-Yousuf continued, "On behalf of the people of Freeland, I wish to deliver three messages. First, I hope you have listened carefully to Amy Jackson's (from Friend's of Freeland group) eloquent statement. Second, to fellow members, please refuse this application in unambiguous terms to upload the plan based system that is our only safeguard against speculative developments. And third, to officers, we thank you for your hard work and urge you to do whatever it takes to win the likely legal fight ahead and to ensure that we have a sound Local Plan with at least 5 years of housing land supply. We do not want a repeat of the messy legal wrangling over the Local Plan in South Oxfordshire District Council and the way that the applicant won its case in Sonning Common."

In October last year local councillors joined forces to encourage residents to submit objections to the application with County Councillor Liam Walker echoing concerns made by local residents.

Cllr Liam Walker said, "I am really pleased this application has been refused and the integrity of the Local Plan has been strengthened by the councillors voting for this option. Freeland does not have the infrastructure needed to support such a large scale development as can be seen from the hundreds of objections from local residents."

"I really want to thank Cllr Alaa Al-Yousuf for his hard work alongside the Friends of Freeland group and many other residents who have been involved. This is a major step forward."

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