Local MP pledges support for campaign against Gladman houses

MP John Howell has pledged to work with Reading East MP Rob Wilson to support the CAGE campaign against 245 unsustainable houses in the Chilterns landscape close to Emmer Green. His support came in a week when South Oxfordshire District Council confirmed the application will probably go before their planning committee on the 17th or 24th May.

At the meeting at Bryant’s Farm, John Howell heard that if the houses are built they will place an intolerable burden on local schools in both Reading as well as South Oxfordshire, where primaries are already struggling to cope with an influx from Reading’s hard-pressed schools. The site would be in the catchment of Shiplake C of E Primary which is already unable to meet demand.

Local health centres have also recently indicated they are unable to cope with hundreds more patients from the development. Dr Ronay of Sonning Common Healthcentre commented to Emmer Green Residents Association that she was ‘most concerned about the strain this development would cause on infrastructure and services locally’. She said that in addition to the strain placed on the health centres, cross border issues would mean some Reading health support services would not be available to the new residents, 40% of whom would be in social housing.

Mr Howell was driven along the narrow lanes around Eye & Dunsden parish. CAGE campaigners pointed out that commuters could expect even longer delays because of the development as it would choke local roads along the route to Sonning bridge.

There’s still time to make your views known on the Gladman application. Just follow this link to comment on the SODC website.

Local planning and roads news

Henley Road collapsing at between ‘Botany Bay’ and Playhatch roundabout

We have heard today from Oxfordshire highways manager David Bullock of a serious deterioration of the A4155 Henley Road between the house called ‘Botany Bay’ and the Playhatch roundabout. The road surface is moving and an embankment failure is possible. In order to relieve the pressure on the road, one-way working with traffic lights has been introduced, with manual control at peak times. Unfortunately, this arrangement is likely to continue whilst a permanent repair is being planned and carried out. The shifting of the road will continue to be monitored in the meanwhile and OCC are working as rapidly as they can to rectify the problem.

Great House temporary car park

The parish council has received a number of complaints about a newly installed car park for the Great House at Frizer’s Farm. A planning application for one year’s use has now been submitted and will shortly be visible on the SODC website. This scheme follows the Great House withdrawing from a plan to build a car park on the Mill island, adjacent to the backwater bridge opposite the Furleigh river bank. The withdrawal was in response to considerable objections being raised at the last meeting of the parish council. A shuttle mini-bus will run to the hotel, dubbed a ‘community park & ride’. Once a planning application is received, the parish council will make its views known to SODC, the planning authority. The Great House is working urgently to find an alternative location on the Sonning side of the river.

Gladman application for 245 houses in Dunsden

The planning officer reports that this contentious application is not likely to go to committee until the end of April or later. Work is being done to deal with Oxfordshire objections about the lack of school places and the results of an archaeological survey which revealed Roman and prehistoric remains. The Parish Council opposes the scheme and is hoping for a good turn-out by the public at the committee meeting. Comments are still being received by SODC.

Tarmac gravel extraction

Soil stripping and the building of a conveyor across Spring Lane starts in April, with gravel extraction beginning towards Shiplake around six months later later. Tarmac are expected to announce a local event later in the year at which they will explain the work. The parish council and Sonning Eye Action Group will monitor the work closely. The consent notice for the work is here.

Where should Wilfred go?

The Wilfred Owen Association has generously offered to give Dunsden a sculpture by Anthony Padgett of the famous WW1 poet Wilfred Owen who lived here 1911-13.

The Committee of the Wilfred Owen Association favours a position where it can always be seen. The church, parish council and village hall committee favour an indoor position because the green is already cluttered and because of the risk of crime.

The result of this poll will be considered when the Wilfred Owen Association makes a final decision later in the year. Please vote online now and share your view!

Snowdrops at All Saints

This periodic event at All Saints Church, Dunsden provides a good opportunity to see inside the church where the young Wilfred Owen was assistant to the Rector. For more information see the church website.

Sunday 26 February, Church Open Day, 10 am to 5pm

  • Guided tours of the church and grounds
  • Live music and readings
  • Learn about the Wilfred Owen Trail
  • Refreshments, including mulled wine,
    tea, coffee and home-made cakes
  • Large off-road car park
  • Free entry

Last chance to comment on Gladman plan

You have until 20 January to post your comments on SODC’s website about the Gladman plan to almost triple the number of houses in our parish. Just click on this link to record your views. Every comment helps!

A group of local parish councils and residents’ associations is completely opposed to the scheme, which they see as ‘unsustainable’ according to Government guidelines. There has been strong opposition from people living in Emmer Green, who can see the development wrecking an attractive landscape as well as placing an intolerable burden on local services.

The Henley Standard reported local opposition to the scheme recently.

Reading Borough Council planning officers have recommended councillors vote against the scheme. A decision will be taken at the planning meeting on 11 January.

Thames Water has said they see the scheme posing a threat to local water supplies.

The final decision will be taken when SODC votes on the scheme on February 1st. We hope to see as many people as possible at the planning meeting on this date.

 

County Councillor publishes objection to Gladman plan

Councillor David Bartholomew has lodged his objections to the Gladman Developments plan for 245 houses in Eye & Dunsden parish.

Register your views on the SODC website now.

Objection

  1. The county boundary was revised in 1977 to reflect the actual boundary of the built-up area of Reading. This proposed development straddles urban Reading and rural South Oxfordshire thus compromising the county boundary and destroying the clear distinction between urban and rural areas.
  2. The development would cause severe harm to the rural character of the area.
  3. The development would clearly be part of Reading in practical terms, but would fall into the Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council and Eye & Dunsden Parish Council areas of administration. This would present serious issues in terms of funding and management of resources for all councils concerned.
  4. There is little employment in the immediate area and it is highly likely most residents would need to cross Reading Bridge or Caversham Bridge to get to work directly or via the mainline railway station. Most of this travel would be by car. Reading Borough Council has already identified both these bridges as being used well beyond their capacity and the increase in congestion would be substantial, conflicting with the objectives of sustainable development.
  5. This area is not scheduled for major development in the SODC Local Plan.
  6. The Sonning Common Neighbourhood Plan has been ‘made’ and while this site isn’t within the area of the plan, it is immediately adjacent to it, so should be taken into consideration. The rural character of the site is as important to Sonning Common residents as it is Emmer Green residents.

Playhatch Road raising details released

After a recent public meeting held in Dunsden Village Hall, Oxfordshire County Council’s Highways Department has released a series of drawings showing in detail the plans for raising the Playhatch Road. They include details of over 50 3m wide conduits, which would be placed beneath the raised road from just before the Sonning Eye mini-roundabout to the roads junction with the A4155 Henley Road.

The road would be raised by up to 90cm and the plans have been developed in conjunction with the Environment Agency. If £7m funding is secured from the Government, work could start next summer.

Sonning Eye Action Group members have recently expressed their concerns about road raising between the Sonning Eye mini-roundabout and the French Horn hotel. Their concerns include the potential for impact on properties bordering the B478 and the lack of a more holistic solution addressing the capacity of the floodplain as a whole.

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