More than seventy people packed into Long Wittenham village hall last Thursday evening (21st June) for a meeting called by the parish council to discuss the revision of the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) and to report progress on the Community Hub.
The meeting also examined the Kler plan for thirty-six houses at the corner of Fieldside and Didcot Road and the Lagan Homes proposal for twenty-nine houses off the High Street adjacent to Bodkin’s Field.
Villagers were brought up to date with progress on the revision of the NDP by parish councillor Peter Rose. He said that the NDP was being revised with allocation of sites because of the disappointing result at last November’s public enquiry. The draft NDP is complete and we are awaiting completion of the supporting Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) which examines environmental factors. The Plan and supporting documents will then be presented to SODC before it goes through a series of statutory consultations leading to the final referendum.
Mr Rose said: “It’s important that the NDP is approved again as this will give the village added security against developers making applications outside of the Plan. We expect the referendum will be held towards the end of the year. In the meantime we have the benefit of the current adopted NDP. In addition, SODC has now returned to a five-year housing land supply which brings back planning policies that were set aside last year and left us more vulnerable to speculative planning bids.”
The latest draft of the revised NDP is here.
Councillor Steve Brown gave an update on the progress of the Community Hub which includes a new school, pre-school, village hall and between forty and forty-five houses. He said: “The village hall working group has produced a brief based on visits to other village halls. We would like a foyer, main hall with 100 seats, two meeting rooms, a consulting room, office, a large kitchen and servery for social events. Indoor sports could be held in the hall or in a shared facility with the school’s main hall in the evening.”
Chris Brotherton a partner in Thomas Homes, the parish council’s chosen developer, said he was pleased with progress and was now waiting for approval of the outline plan from the diocese and Oxfordshire Council Council. Once this is in place, detailed planning can commence.
Download a draft plan of the site here.
There was great concern at the latest plan by the Kler group for its development along Fieldside. To comply with the planning inspector’s ruling following the public enquiry, problems with the main road access have to be resolved before houses can be built.
Kler’s plan is to locate the access road further out into Didcot Road which would mean re-aligning the road and moving it nearer the homes on the other side. The plan would also involve diverting underground gas, electricity and water mains.
Steve Brown said, “The road would extend out 1.4 metres and much of the grass verge opposite would be lost. The amount of work involved would be very disruptive for residents and there would be a major impact on the village for many months.”
The parish council will consider the plan at its meeting in July and residents were urged to make their own comments on the plan on the SODC website.
On the Lagan Homes issue, district councillor Sue Lawson told the meeting that SODC planners were still examining the proposals and as yet no decision had been taken. It will go before the planning committee at which the parish council will be able to object.