Sonning Common villagers celebrate victory over controversial development plans


Sonning Common villagers celebrate victory over controversial development plans

Plans to build up to 95 new homes within Sonning Common, South Oxfordshire, have been overthrown after local residents, alongside South Oxfordshire District Council, won an appeal hearing.

A decision was reached last week after a four day Public Inquiry which heard the developer, Gallagher Estates, appeal against the District Council’s planning refusal of the Kennylands Road development. The hearing also saw local residents support and defend their robust Neighbourhood Development Plan. ET Planning was appointed to represent Sonning Common Parish Council as a Rule Six Party, and submitted evidence and provided reassurance as to the significance and validity of the Sonning Common Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Emily Temple, Director and Founder of ET Planning said: “In recent years the Government has introduced neighbourhood planning to give local people a voice. Local residents who have a shared vision, can determine where new developments are most appropriate, what type of housing they should be and how many should be built.

The Neighbourhood Development Plan in this case was extremely robust having gone through a thorough public consultation which passed a referendum with 94% support. The result of this case is extremely pleasing as not only did it reward the dedication and commitment of the local residents, but it also promotes the significance and value of neighbourhood development plans”.

South Oxfordshire District Council originally refused the Gallagher Estates development plans back in March 2017 on the grounds that it did not accord with the Sonning Common Neighbourhood Development Plan, and that the plans would also have an impact on the setting of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Gallagher Estates consequently appealed this decision putting forward an argument that the development would bring about affordable housing in the area, and it would also help the Council meet it’s obligations towards a five year supply of new housing. However, despite applying the tilted balance in favour of the development, the Inspector determined that the Neighbourhood Development Plan be given the greatest weight, as the most up to date Development Plan document.

The Inspector also noted that whilst the Neighbourhood Development Plan had made provision for 26 new homes on this particular site, they had in fact outlined other, more appropriate areas for development, in line with the South Oxfordshire District Council’s development plan. The Plan allocated sites for 195 new homes, 57 more than the District Councils plan of 138, displaying a clear plan-led strategy devised by the local residents, conforming to government policies.


If you are an individual or part of a local community group, and would like support addressing development in your area, please contact ET Planning. ET Planning is able to provide formal representation at Public Inquiries as a Rule Six Party.

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