Councillors reject a controversial development in Sutton Courtenay

Sutton Courtenay

Councillors have rebelled against their own council policy as they reject a controversial development in Sutton Courtenay.

On 1 March, Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee thwarted Redrow’s plan to build 200 homes in Sutton Courtenay, despite the site’s inclusion in the council’s Local Plan Part One.

Councillors argued the site’s location next to a waste facility posed ‘disgraceful’ contamination risks, siding with villagers and the Sutton Courtenay Action group, who have fought hard against the proposed homes off Hobbyhorse Lane.

A majority of six councillors to five rebuffed the application during a dramatic planning committee meeting, despite the fact that the same land is earmarked for up to 220 homes in the council’s Local Plan.

The decision conflicted planning officers’ recommendation to approve the application and prompted an official ‘cooling off period’, which gives council leader Matthew Barber power to bring the application back to committee.

Committee members questioned why the site was ever approved by the planning inspector to appear in the Local Plan, slating health risks, poor access and confusion over land ownership.

Anne Morgan-Smith, who is among villagers leading the campaign against the development, said: “We have been working hard towards this result for a long time, countering the developer arguments again and again.”

“It is right that the application was refused by the planning committee. We now will have to see what the development manager’s intervention means.”

Read more in the Abingdon Herald.