Wallingford retirement village and CABI HQ ‘inappropriate invasion’

Hulton Park

29th October 2012

We have written to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, to ask him to rethink a decision to build a retirement village and care home near Wallingford which was approved by South Oxfordshire District Council’s (SODC) Planning Committee last week.

We are disappointed by SODC’s decision which flies in the face of the wishes of local residents. They have branded the plans as an entirely inappropriate invasion of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and contravention of national planning policy guidelines.

The planning application was made by the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI), who propose to demolish their existing HQ offices on the site, build new state-of-the-art offices nearby and sell adjoining land to provide space for the retirement village.

Arnold Grayson, Chairman of CPRE Wallingford, says: “This is the wrong place for a 64-bed care home, and 46 retirement homes with 49 extra care units. It is stuck out in the countryside too far from the town and will have a major impact on an unspoilt and tranquil area. Access to the A4130 would be a problem for residents and the proposed design of the retirement homes does not blend in with existing local properties. It’s totally inappropriate.

We are also concerned that the District Council’;s independent assessment of the financial aspects of the development has not been available for comment and are taking advice as to whether this should have led to the adjournment of the hearing.

The District Council themselves have said that such a siting would not normally be considered. It seems we are witnessing a practical demonstration of the Government’s insistence on pushing the economics of development in spite of the designation of land as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

We strongly encourage people who object to the proposals to write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, asking him to review the decision.