Council rejects plans for 540 homes in Yarnton over flood risks

A council has rejected a proposal to build up to 540 homes to the north of a village due to flood risks.

Merton College's application for affordable properties on a site near Yarnton, Oxfordshire, had been recommended for refusal at Cherwell District Council (CDC).

Its planning committee turned down the plans, with 16 votes against and two abstentions.

Chairman George Reynolds said everybody knew flooding was "a major problem".

Merton College submitted an application for affordable properties on 9,000 sq m (96,875 sq ft) on a site near Yarnton, Oxfordshire, in October 2021.

But residents raised concerns plans did not take into account "existing flooding issues" affecting the village.

The application said it wants to deliver "a host of benefits for the local community, over and above the housing required to meet identified local need".

'Foul flooding'

But 16 councillors voted to accept the officer's recommendation to turn down the proposals.

The committee chairman George Reynolds said that "everybody is well aware" that flooding was "a major problem" in the area.

"And everything will be done to ensure the development does not increase the risk of flooding in Yarnton," he said.

Robert Davis, of real estate advisor Gerald Eve who represented the college, said: "It's not the responsibility of any applicant to address pre-existing issues.

"We sought to assist throughout this process having liaised with the council, the Flood Defence Group, Thames Water, the lead flood authority.

"The development itself will improve, it will not worsen the current situation."

But David Thornhill, from the Yarnton Flood Defence Group, disagreed and said the "foul flooding" issues the village had experienced "can only be assumed to get worse".

"This foul flooding issue is already causing issues of health and safety and lack of immunity for Yarnton residents," Mr Thornhill said.

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