The Coronavirus pandemic has brought many local government issues to a halt, including work on Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDPs). The Parish Council had hoped that its re-drafted plan would be ready to go before the village electorate later this year but now the council is pinning its hopes on 2021; due to Coronavirus the government has stopped all referendums taking place until May 2021.
Last year the council was encouraged by progress on the NDP but then Historic England ordered an archaeological assessment of the Community Hub site, part of which was then scheduled. Building on scheduled land which shows evidence of important archaeological finds is forbidden.
Now the council and its developers, Thomas Homes, are having to re-draw part of the proposed Community Hub site to accommodate Historic England’s concerns. The landowner is aware of the changes proposed and now the council has to approach South Oxfordshire District Council for its thoughts on the new proposals for the development. The parish council hopes however that the changes will be seen as ”minor alterations”, which will enable the NDP to be completed.
Parish councillor Peter Rose, chairman of the NDP Steering Committee, said: “The scheduling by Historic England is unfortunate and we have been very unlucky with all the barriers that have been put in our way. Our NDP is the longest running in South Oxfordshire, but hopefully now we will be able take it to its conclusion and provide the village with much needed new facilities.”