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The Benson Neighbourhood Plan was prepared against the background of an emerging Local Plan, during a time where South Oxfordshire District Council was unable to demonstrate a five year housing land supply and it needed to contribute to growth as a larger village.
We have supported this ambitious plan, whose aim was to allocate land for 400+ new homes on three sites around the northern edge of the large village of Benson in order to the deliver a new relief road. The homes were additional to those already approved in the village and to the expectations of the emerging Local Plan. The community wanted to achieve this aim to tackle a longstanding and worsening problem of traffic through the tight streets of their historic village.
The relief road would only happen if they allocated the housing land. The plan has very recently been made, following a successful referendum.
Our role was to help the steering group understand the planning context and realities of delivering change through development. We advised them on the preferred spatial strategy and its key components and then on their draft policies, which covered many more aspects of change in and around the village. Finally, we undertook the Sustainability Appraisal for the project, using that analysis to inform changes to the final policies.