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Controversial estate sites back on agenda after recount
PLANS for large housing estates around Carterton are set to be reconsidered after a “misclassification” of military homes in the town.
West Oxfordshire District Council had hoped hundreds of new homes could be built on the site of former Ministry of Defence houses in the centre of Carterton.
But it has emerged the MoD homes had been classed as private, not military, so any new homes built on the MoD land would not “add” to the district’s housing stock.
This means controversial plans for a 1,000-home estate on north, east or west of Carterton and north of Witney are now back on the table.
Brize Norton residents have presented a petition to the district council opposing a large development.
Campaigners against the sites around Carterton have said relying on a “misclassification” as evidence was “perilous” and open to challenge.
The district council is currently considering its core strategy, a blueprint allocating sites for 4,300 homes in the district to meet its housing needs until 2026.
The council’s cabinet will meet at 2pm today at its Woodgreen offices to discuss the implications of the new information.
In a report to the cabinet, strategic director Andrew Tucker says: “In view of the fact that the 600 occupied houses were counted as private dwellings, rather than service accommodation, they have already been included in the demographic projections and their redevelopment and replacement cannot be seen as contributing towards the overall housing target, as to do so would in effect be ‘double counting’.”
He said the council could add 200 homes to its housing stock by redeveloping the military sites, but this was far short of the up to 900 it had hoped for.
The council will hold a new public consultation into the core strategy in August or September.
The council hopes to formally adopt the strategy in autumn next year.
Hugo Harris, of campaign group Stop Carterton West, said: “The core strategy will ultimately be scrutinised at public inquiry and any interpretation by West Oxfordshire District Council that relies on unsafe evidence will be subject to legal challenge.
“Reliance on an earlier misclassification as evidence upon which to draft a core development strategy would be somewhat perilous.”
Brize Norton Parish Council chairman Keith Glazier, who is against development north and east of Carterton, cast doubt on the figures used to count private homes.
He said: “The figures would appear to have be taken from the rates, which would not give a good indication of population in the town.”
He added: “I firmly believe that the stated aimed population of Carterton can easily be reached by development of brown field and existing housing sites within Carterton.”
He has presented a petition to the district council, signed by 300 Brize Norton residents, against development north or east of Carterton.