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Displaying items by tag: Planning - CPRE Oxfordshire
Thursday, 29 November 2012 10:07

Wrong on housing, wrong on the countryside

Planning minister Nick Boles is wrong on housing, wrong on the countryside. His call to increase the urbanised area of England is provocative and unnecessary, and casts a shadow over at least 25% of our undisturbed countryside.

Published in News archive

Oxford: Our worst fears for Barton Nature Park are confirmed.The Planning Inspector's report on the Barton Area Action Plan has been published, the Park will be lost to housing development.

Published in News archive
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 10:25

Objection to new homes in Ashbury

We have written to Vale of White Horse District Council (VWHDC) to register our objection at plans to build 17 new homes on land to west of the Idstone Road, Ashbury (application number P12/V2060/FUL).

CPRE often supports small developments in villages when the proposals are appropriately sited, as they can help to boost rural communities. But this proposal is not one of them.

This application proposes to build on greenfield agricultural land. We think that this is undesirable in every way in this historic landscape, just outside the Ashbury Conservation Area. The development would be outside the village built envelope, on a steep site and very visible from the west, and access would be difficult.

VWHDC's own conservation officer noted, in recommending refusal, that the development would 'extend the built up limits of the village on to an exposed site extending into the countryside', whilst ' not relating to the existing form of the village'.

No thanks.

Published in News archive
Friday, 30 March 2012 09:41

Thrupp Lane

Thrupp Lane residents suffer from hundreds of massive and heavily laden vehicles squeezing, rumbling and clattering down a lane that (except for the tarmac) is unchanged since pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles carved it out hundreds of years ago.

Published in News archive

The Growth and Infrastructure Bill currently going through Parliament is an attack on the planning system and environmental protections.

Published in News archive
Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:58

Land not sand at Pinewoods

Hanson plc has been wanting to extract sand from a site in the Vale of the White Horse for years. The 69-acre site of agricultural land west of Pinewoods hamlet extends north from the A420 almost to the Longworth to Hinton Waldrist village road.

Published in News archive

While we are big supporters of recycling and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill, that doesn't mean we automatically support waste management companies in expanding their premises.

Published in News archive
Monday, 12 November 2012 13:03

Fewcott wind turbines application

In November 2008, Bolstertone plc announced a proposal to build a £10m wind farm on farmland between Fewcott and Fritwell, near Bicester, consisting of four 125 metre (400 feet) turbines, a control building and access, adjacent to the M40, close to Cherwell Valley Services.

Bolsterstone considers Fewcott to be a good location, claiming that it has good wind speed, no problems with aviation or communications links, is close to a grid connection, is an accessible site, not in a designated protected area, and there would be limited visual impact.

We opposed the proposal, arguing that not only would it be an unacceptable blight on the surrounding countryside, but wind speeds are too low for the turbines to produce enough electricity to justify the damage caused. In January 2009, we submitted our comments to Cherwell District Council on Bolsterstone's planning application, calling for it to be refused.

In April 2009, Cherwell District Council’s planning committee voted unanimously against its own officer's recommendation, and refused approval.

In November 2009, Bolsterstone appealed the decision and it went to a Public Inquiry in the spring of 2010. We were represented at the Public Inquiry, where we made our case against the proposed wind farm.

In July 2010, however, the planning inspector gave the go-ahead to the wind farm. He acknowledged that there would be a degree of harm caused to the landscape, the built environment and local villages, but concluded that this would be outweighed by the benefits.

Both we and local campaigners were extremely disappointed at the outcome. We see this as a major test of policy on wind turbines in Oxfordshire and are extremely concerned it will pave the way for other large turbines in the open countryside, and a flood of similar applications up and down the M40.

Unfortunately, the only way forward now would be to take this to the High Court, which is an expensive route to take, especially for a charity like CPRE and the other objectors, when there is no guarantee of success.

Published in News archive
Thursday, 08 November 2012 11:14

Village green preservation: a change in the law

A Village Green or Town Green is, to most of us, a green, open or undeveloped space within a settlement.

Published in News archive
Monday, 01 October 2012 10:53

Neighbourhood plans

The Localism Act, which came into force in November 2011, introduced provisions for neighbourhood planning. But what’s it all about and what does it mean for communities in Oxfordshire?

There are three main elements to neighbourhood planning:

1 Neighbourhood Development Plans – these are very localised versions of Local Plans and will include polices on the development and use of land.
2 Neighbourhood Development Orders (NDOs) – these can grant planning permission for a certain type of development, in a certain area. The permission can be unconditional or subject to approval by the relevant planning authority, which in this case could be the parish council.
3 Community Right to Build Orders – these are a special type of NDO that can be prepared by a community organisation. They will grant planning permission for a specified development in relation to a specified site.

What is a 'neighbourhood' and who is responsible for neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood plans can only be prepared by the relevant town or parish council or, where neither of these exists, a ‘neighbourhood forum’ designated by the local planning authority. Once a plan is drawn up, it must be submitted to the local planning authority to ensure it complies with regulations. It is then put forward for Independent Examination by the Planning Inspectorate. Finally, the plans must be approved by more than 50% of those voting in a local referendum. Presuming it gets through all these stages, the local authority must adopt it as part of the local development plan.

Who pays?

The local planning authority must pay for the Independent Examination, the referendum and any administration associated with processing the plan.
However, the costs of developing the plan itself have to be met by the parish or town council, or neighbourhood forum.

The opportunities & challenges

Theoretically, this puts decision-making back into the hands of local people. Neighbourhood plans could bring communities together around a positive vision for their area and a clear plan for sustainable development. If it works as the Government hopes, these plans will feed strongly into Local Plans.
But things are never as simple as they seem!

Firstly, neighbourhood plans will have to conform with the strategic elements of the Local Plan, including housing and economic development requirements. In turn, Local Plans have to be in conformity with the National Planning Policy Framework So, it seems it will be OK for local communities to say ‘yes’ to development, but ‘no’ is still not a valid response.

Secondly, neighbourhood planning could cost local communities a great deal, both in terms of time and money, with figures of anywhere between £17,000 and £70,000 being thrown around. Advice and support from external consultants can quickly push costs up.

So, while preparing these plans might prove a useful exercise, expectations must be realistic about the work involved and the degree to which communities can set their own agenda.

Local planning authorities will have an important role to play in this as they will need to support communities through the process. However, with scarce resources, it is not clear how planning departments will cope with any significant influx of plans, especially when their priority may be on getting Core Strategies in place within the 12 month deadline set by the National Planning Policy Framework.

What’s happening in Oxfordshire in 2012

To encourage take up of neighbourhood plans, the Government has identified a number of Front Runners to receive grant funding of £20,000. In Oxfordshire these are: Banbury, Chipping Norton, Faringdon, Thame, Woodcote and Wroxton.

Geoff Botting, Vice- Chair, Woodcote Parish Council says: "My advice for communities without planners on tap is to organise the project, to build expertise and evidence, and include the community from Day One."

Hilary Sherman, Deputy Town Clerk of Faringdon Town Council says: "Early on we took the view that the plan should be driven by the townspeople as a whole rather than merely ‘consulting’ with them. This has been remarkably successful."

Astrid Harvey, who is working to support the Chipping Norton Neighbourhood Plan, says: “Building momentum and sustaining enthusiasm in the town for the Neighbourhood Plan is challenging. We are very grateful to the 400 households who completed a residents' questionnaire, and to those who attended our workshops and focus groups. What they told us is helping to build a clear picture of the sort of town we need to plan for."

Published in News archive
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