Housing estate plan for Witney's Burford Road is no laughing matter

Sir – I’m sure many people were surprised by the article in last week’s Witney Gazette, about the proposal to build 270 homes off Burford Road, in a field immediately behind the Windrush pub.

Indeed if the article had been published a day earlier, many would have presumed it was an April Fool.

One neighbour I spoke to, who has had previous experience working in a planning department, tried to reassure me with his opinion that: “They will never get planning permission.”

Unfortunately he is misguided. The company behind this proposal, Gladman Developments, has a track record of bypassing local planning application judgments in cases where local councils, in this case West Oxfordshire, have failed to draw up plans for housing through consultation with residents, therefore we are vulnerable to developers who can appeal directly to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.

My personal objections are as follows:

The field concerned is a part of the floodplain for Witney and was recently flooded

Increased traffic in this part of Witney. How much more housing can Witney sustain without extensive improvements to the road system?

West Oxfordshire should look to more brownfield sites if it is trying to fulfil its future housing requirements.

How can it possibly be justified to lose one of Witney’s finest views, indeed the only view from high level of the River Windrush.

There’s an insinuation that it would help first-time buyers but if previous developments in Witney are anything to go by, the prices asked will be far out of their range.

The fields are home to an extensive eco-system, including badgers, deer, foxes, snakes, herons and even otters. Two of those are protected species.

R Lee (Mr), Burford Road, Witney

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