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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.

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

Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:58

Land not sand at Pinewoods

Written by Local Group Web Manager: Jane Tomlinson

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.

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.

CPRE calls on the Secretary of State for Transport to set out the right policies on rural transport.

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.

Dieback disease: 20 ash trees planted earlier this year to celebrate CPRE's 80th anniversary have today been destroyed

Monday, 12 November 2012 09:02

Quiet lanes

Written by Local Group Web Manager: Jane Tomlinson

Quiet lanes are designed to pay special attention to the needs of walkers, cyclists and horse riders, and reduce the problems caused by the volume and speed of traffic and the presence of heavy lorries.

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

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