Plans for 95 homes alongside commercial space on 3.7 hectares at Faringdon have been deferred amid arguments over whether the land should be taken out of employment use.

Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee put off the decision over whether the former Rogers Concrete site at Sandshill should be redeveloped for the homes and 1,350 sq m of business space.

Site owner Obsidian Strategic says it had marketed the land, part of a wider site now being redeveloped by Bloor Homes, but found little interest.

Local office landlord and developer Sarah Allen-Stevens said at the August 18 meeting that she had been working with Greencore Construction to bring the firm to Faringdon and made an offer to Obsidian for the site, which is allocated for employment use, with Greencore as one occupier.

She said the marketing of the site had been ‘poor’.

She added: “If this is the last site in Faringdon, if that’s taken away as an employment site, where else will businesses go in Faringdon go?”

However, Tim Burden, director of Turley, representing Obsidian, said the offer had been £1.7 million below the cost his client had already spent acquiring and securing the site.

He argued the site had been marketed for employment use for two and a half years with no success while the scheme proposed would create 250 jobs.

He added: “The reality is this site will not come forward in its entirety for employment-only use.

“This (scheme) provides a significant quantity of employment in Faringdon, more than has been proposed in the last 10 years.”

Mr Burden said Covid had further changed the employment market due to different ways of working.

Councillors voted unanimously for the deferral.

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