The Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) is finally back on track. It hold’s the unenviable record for the length of time an NDP has been in examination.
A major delay has been Historic England’s (HE) decision to schedule a large portion of the land as an historic monument on the site where the Community Hub is to be built.
The scheduling prompted a re-think in the Parish Council’s design for the site to avoid using any of the scheduled land. There was then a lengthy discussion between the county council’s chief archaeologist and the archaeologist representing the council’s developer, Thomas Homes, concerning further investigation of the site. The process has taken well over a year, but the latest archaeological report was submitted recently. Thomas Homes’ advisers say the findings should not prevent the NDP from proceeding.
Parish councillor Peter Rose, the chairman of the NDP Steering Commttee said: “Now we need to update the latest draft of the revised plan to include all the changes both locally and nationally that have taken place since we last submitted our plan. At the same time Thomas Homes will be updating its plans.
“Unfortunately because it has taken so long to get to this stage, we will almost certainly need to go back to square one which means undertaking two consultations before we can hold a public referendum. There is no need to change the substance of the NDP, nor amend any of its policies. The changes are all of a technical nature”.
Cllr Rose has asked the council’s planning consultant, Andrea Pellegram, to undertake the work and negotiate with South Oxfordshire District Council and AECOM, the government agency which writes environmental, archaeological and technical reports. The Parish Council has applied for further grants to pay for the work and has received a positive response from Locality which pays AECOM on behalf of the council.