We have objected strongly to an application for the construction of an access track, 66 metres long, across Baulking Common, near Faringdon in Oxfordshire.
Miss Jessica Reid has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for consent under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 to construct a track across the common. This would run between Baulking Lane and plots with planning permission for two semi-detached cottages at Middle Green Farm. The Planning Inspectorate determines such applications on behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The common is a broad, attractive village green to the west of Baulking Lane and important to the setting of the village.
We argued that the track would spoil the natural setting of the green and would suburbanise the pleasant surroundings.
We consider that there is no justification for creating a new driveway over the common. The applicant herself noted that an option was to use the existing driveway at Middle Green Farm and create a new road at the rear of the yard across from the properties. This would avoid having to put any new vehicular access over the common, but the applicant rejected it mainly because ‘of the detriment to property value’.
We also point out that the Secretary of State’s own policy guidance states that a paved vehicular way over a common is unacceptable unless it is the only practical means, which it is not in this case.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘We shall fight the unnecessary suburbanisation of this lovely common, which is proposed largely to maintain a property value. All commons are important, but this common is especially valuable for its natural beauty and for public enjoyment. It seems that the applicant prefers to depreciate the common rather than the adjoining property. It must not be sacrificed for private interests.’