Villagers Urged to Fight Housing Plans

Long Wittenham residents are being urged to step up the fight against plans to build 36 homes off Fieldside on the site of the old Challis Farm. In December or January South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee is expected to discuss the proposals by development promoter Kler.

The parish council says it conflicts with its proposed Neighbourhood Plan because it does not provide the community facilities outlined in the NP – a new school, village hall and shop – which are necessary if the village is to improve community facilities for all age groups.

Road safety access on to Didcot Road for vehicles and pedestrians and environmental concerns are other issues worrying villagers. Earlier this year more than 80 villagers objected to the original application and a similar number re-affirmed their concerns when objections to the company’s second application closed on 6th October.

Leading the opposition to the proposals is Mike Duff who has staged two public meetings. He says that the time is fast approaching when villagers opposed to the plans must step up to the plate and demonstrate their feelings to the district council.

At the parish council’s November meeting Mr Duff said: “The Kler application will be discussed by the district council in the very near future and we must be ready. If we view this as an unwelcome and unnecessary blot on our village landscape then we must show the depth of feeling.”

“We need to lobby members of the planning committee and be prepared to show our opposition outside the council’s offices before the meeting. We need a co-ordinated plan. Our district councillor Sue Lawson supports us but needs our backing to make a strong case to planning committee members.”

He said letters and emails do not have to be long but have to be to the point and address an issue of planning not simply “I don’t like it.” A placard demo has been suggested. The many texts for the placards need deciding and the placards need making. Demonstrators need briefing.”

A short prototype video has been prepared to show the existing traffic danger near Fieldside and needs to be edited and distributed. Sheets hung between 6m high posts and positioned in Site 1 might give a photographer the chance to illustrate the proximity and scale of housing on Fieldside. Mr Duff said someone skilled with Photoshop might edit a photo of the hedge along Didcot Road, remove the hedge and paste in scenes of a modern estate.

Mr Duff said Kler had no interest in the future of the village. He said: “It is a development promoter that finds sites, gains permission and then sells them on, presumably to the highest bidder. The highest bidder will seek to make a return on the investment, not enhance the lives of current or future villagers.”

More details on how to offer support or suggestions in the fight against the Kler proposals from Mike Duff on 01865 407788 or email: duff.mike@btinternet.com

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