During the development of the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP), draft plans for the Hub were sketched out by Thomas Homes to ensure it was feasible to build the project which would be cross funded by new homes. The Parish Council held several public meetings where plans for the proposals were displayed and residents were able to give feedback and support for the draft proposals.
The NDP was adopted by the village in September 2017 after an amazing level of support at the referendum. South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) then formally adopted the NDP and it became part of Local Planning Policies as a “made” plan in October 2017.
The NDP promotes the Hub as one of the key policies.
Following adoption of the NDP, Thomas Homes began negotiations on an Option Agreement for them to buy the necessary land from Mr Weavers. Their option is subject to Planning Consent and includes all of the obligations to build the Hub as part of the overall development. The Option was completed in Spring 2018.
In Spring 2018 a Village Hall Working Group was formed to look at local village halls and make recommendations for the design and layout of our village hall. The group’s “Strategic Brief” can be viewed on the Plans and Documents page.
The current school is jointly owned and managed by both Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education. The Parish Council has been working with both Authorities ever since the Hub idea was put together.
To help with funding the community facilities the Parish Council has negotiated that approximately half the current school site will be used for new homes and profits will go towards the Hub. The other half of the site will become a new village open space in accordance with the NDP.
Both OCC and the Diocese confirmed their formal support for the project at the beginning of September 2018.
A village meeting was held on 11th April 2019 at which Thomas Homes presented plans and designs. It was hoped to hold another meeting in 2019 but a detailed archeological survey of the Hub site and surrounding fields revealed significant finds which led to Historic England scheduling part of the site in March 2020.
A proposed new layout avoids building on any of the land scheduled by Historic England. The village hall and school sites have been moved from the east to the south of the development and the school playing field will extend south towards the southern boundary of the field. We were advised to discuss these changes with the county archaeologist before considering re-submitting the plan to the examiner. These discussions are ongoing. However, it is likely that our developer will need to undertake further archaeological excavation before the county archaeologist (and therefore Historic England) will approve the new plans.
The extra archaeological work was carried out in April 2021 and the report on the findings was completed in mid May. The latest findings should not prevent the Community Hub from going ahead. As at June 2021, the developer, Thomas Homes, is working on a new set of plans.