On 6 December, the Uplands Area Planning Sub-Committee for West Oxfordshire rejected the planning application for 70 houses on land east of Barns Lane, known locally as ‘Cole’s Field’ in the village of Burford (17/00642/OUT), despite the development being recommended for approval.
695 objections to the scheme were raised, largely based on the grounds that Cole’s Field is entrely within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), in a Conservation Area and in the Upper Windrush Valley Target Conservation Area.
Burford Parish Council, the Cotswold Conservation Board, and CPRE were amongst those that objected to the proposal.
NNGO member, Responsible Planning in Burford (RPiB) were delighted with the outcome, but are mindful it is not the end of the road and now wait for news of the almost inevitable appeal.
Find out more:
See: Responsible Planning in Burford Facebook
‘Beauty betrayed‘, published by CPRE National Office this month, is a major new report into development in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
It shows there has been an 82% increase in new housing units given planning permission in England’s 34 AONBs in the past five years, despite repeated commitments by the Government to ‘maintain national protections for AONBs for the benefit of future generations’.
This represents almost 15,500 housing units since 2012, while the number of housing planning applications has more than doubled in that time
Of the eight AONBs under most pressure, three are in Oxfordshire – the North Wessex Downs, the Chilterns and the Cotswolds. The latter tops the list with 62 housing schemes coming forward over the last five years.
Find out more.
In Phillip Hammond’s Budget Report last week, he said that the Government has agreed an outline Housing and Growth Agreement with the Oxfordshire Growth Board.
This deal would provide councils with £215m over 5 years, with £60m for affordable housing and £150m (£30m pa for 5 yrs) for infrastructure. It also includes £5m for capacity funding, including progressing the Joint Spatial Plan for the county.
Rather a drop in the ocean compared to the £8.5billion funding gap outlined in their own recent Infrastructure Strategy!
In return, our local authorities have committed to providing the 100,000 houses by 2031, as outlined in the Oxfordshire SHMA 2014. This is despite the new proposed OAN methodology showing that the current figures grossly over-exaggerate local need.
We haven’t seen anything of this deal until now – we certainly didn’t vote for it – and yet it seems, in true Growth Board fashion, to have been already agreed (subject to the councils individually signing it off).
CPRE Oxfordshire is calling for a public inquiry into the Ox-Cam growth corridor and Expressway, so that decisions are open and transparent.
In a report published last week, the National Infrastructure Commission backed the Oxford to Cambridge Growth Corridor of a million more houses, and job creation to justify them. Meanwhile Highways England will begin work this month to decide the route that the Expressway, which supports this growth corridor, should take.
Both these issues are highly contentious, but the intention is nevertheless that both should be decided behind closed doors. It is essential that there is a statutory public consultation and Public Inquiry into both, so that at the very least justice will properly be seen to be done, says CPRE.
Dr Peter Collins, Chairman, CPRE Oxfordshire, said:
“The public rightly expect such life-changing and long-lasting decisions to be made with full transparency. The Expressway and growth corridor would completely change the character of Oxfordshire and there must be absolute openness when considering how any potential economic benefits could possibly outweigh the enormous environmental damage.”