Parish Council vacancies March 2017

There is currently one vacancy on the Parish Council.

If you would be interested in joining the Parish Council please write to the Parish Clerk expressing your interest. For more information or to discuss the vacancy please contact the Parish Clerk.

To qualify as a Parish Councillor you must be over 18 and one of the following;

  • A local government elector in the parish
  • An owner or tenant in the parish for the last 12 months
  • Have worked in the parish for the last 12 months
  • Have lived within 3 miles of the parish boundary for the last 12 months

Closing date for applications – Monday 10 July, 2017, 10:00

Mrs. Hilary Skaar
Parish Clerk The New House, Duns Tew. Bicester, OX25 6JR
01869 340269
dunstewparishcouncil@aol.com

MCNP March 2017 update

Kirtlington refusal

Cherwell District Council’s Planning Committee took the unusual step of going against the recommendations of their own officers’ report on February 16th. A scheme for 10 dwellings at Mill Lane (shown below) was refused outline planning permission by unanimous vote of the Committee’s elected members. Kirtlington Parish Council had objected, and MCNP had also submitted a letter of objection.

The officers’ report listed numerous aspects of the proposal that were admitted to cause harm to the village, but it was claimed that there were benefits that outweighed these harms. The elected members, however, could find no benefits to the village and completely agreed with the list of harms. Some of the interesting points used to support their refusal were:

  • The site was agricultural land outside the village settlement area
  • The access road was from a bridleway which had restrictions on the type of traffic permitted
  • There was no affordable housing proposed, and yet the site was deemed “suitable” for 11 or more dwellings, which Council policy set as the threshold for requiring affordable housing
  • The development failed to integrate with the village
  • In view of the progress of the Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan, in which Kirtlington were major participants, approval would be premature.

Dorchester preparing new overall scheme

We understand from the Dorchester Group, associate members of our Forum, that they are preparing to submit an outline planning application for the remaining elements of the Heyford Park scheme. This follows the abandonment last year of a jointly-commissioned “masterplan” with Cherwell District Council, after the Council received advice that such a masterplan would have to be regarded as a variation to the approved Local Plan.

So instead, it has now been decided that an application from the developers will be made to fulfil much the same purpose – an important opportunity for consultation on the next stages of development at the site which is, in many ways, the reason for the existence of our Neighbourhood Plan. We greatly welcome this move and look forward to seeing the outline proposals.

New plan policies and a public meeting

Following the success of our January engagement meetings around the neighbourhood plan area, we have taken on board the many comments made by those who attended. As a result, we have now adopted some of the new policies that we mentioned in the last Update – including ones on light pollution, protection of trees and hedgerows, and adequacy of technical infrastructure. The latest full list of policies is now on our website. See the list here.

One of the messages we received at the meetings was a wish to have another opportunity for public discussion once the Plan has progressed further. We are therefore proposing to hold the bi-monthly meeting of the neighbourhood plan Forum in public on May 17th 2017, with most of the meeting given over to issues which visitors may wish to raise.
Please put the date in your diary – more details in the May Update.

Touring the neighbourhood

You may have been surprised one day last month to see an ominous looking black minibus (above) driving slowly around the neighbourhood. In it were members of the Neighbourhood Plan Forum who were showing consultants AECOM the lay of the land, and pointing out some of the key features, important views and so forth that we are keen to protect for the future. The minibus hire and the report itself are funded by Locality grant, and AECOM’s draft report will be with us in April. It will underpin several of our policies, including some of the new ones mentioned above.

Revised timescale

We’ve taken advice on the timing of the various stages we still have to go through to completion of the Neighbourhood Plan. As a result, here are some of the new milestones we are now working to:

  • Independent “health check” of the draft Plan documents by 3rd April
  • Publish pre-submission version of Plan; six-week public consultation period 30th April to 9th June
  • Submit further revised Plan to Cherwell DC 9th August
  • Statutory consultation by CDC to October
  • Independent Examination November
  • Referendum February 2018

Let us know what you think about any of the news mentioned here or any other aspect of the Neighbourhood Plan. Email us at info@mid-cherwell.org.uk

MCNP December update

After months of work by Forum members we now have 24 draft Policies that we hope reflect the major concerns of our community. Read them on the MCNP website here.

You need to know that there are many constraints on what we can say in neighbourhood plan policies, and on how they are written. We have to work within the the existing statutory framework at national level: we cannot oppose “sustainable development”. We must also comply with Cherwell’s Local Plan 2011-2031, and we have already received advice on adjustments that needed to be made. Nevetherless, the policies as drafted address many of the important issues. Some others, that do not comply, have been moved to our non-statutory Community Action Plan.

Once we have feedback from the community, there may be more changes to the Policies, in the run-up to formal submission of the Neighbourhood Plan. So please let us know what you think.

Leaflets are being distributed to every address in the 11 parishes of our Neighbourhood area. They invite you to attend one of nine local meetings in January, where you will be able to see and discuss the details of the draft Neighbourhood Plan. We look forward to seeing you at one of these meetings:

  • Saturday, 14th January, 14:00-16:00, Reading Room, Upper Heyford
  • Sunday, 22nd January, 10:00-12:00, Village Hall, Ardley
  • Tuesday 24th January, 19:30-21:00, Village Hall, Steeple Aston
  • Wednesday, 25th January 19:00-21:00, Nicholson Orchard Barn, North Aston
  • Thursday 26th January, 19:00-20:30, Village Hall, Somerton
  • Saturday, 28th January, 10:00-12:00, St. Mary’s Church, Lower Heyford
  • Saturday, 28th January, 10:00-13:00 at Heyford Park Community Centre
  • Saturday, 28th January, 15:00-17:00, Village Hall, Kirtlington
  • Monday, 30th January, 19:30-21:00, Village Hall, Fritwell

PLEASE PUT ONE IN YOUR DIARY NOW!

Housing

October’s Update focused on housing. We had news of consultation on Oxford’s overspill, and updates on projects in Fritwell and Deddington. Here’s the latest news on each of those developments

Work has started on David Wilson Homes site at Deddington, where 85 houses are being built. A repeat application by the developers to extend this to 99 houses was again refused by Cherwell DC at its Planning Committee on 24th November.

Oxford Overspill

As we reported previously, Cherwell planners issued a district-wide invitation for suggestions for sites on which houses could be built to assist with Oxford’s “unmet housing need”.

The responses are now in, and Cherwell have published all the sites submitted with a minimum size of 2 hectares (to accommodate up to 100 homes). These are now up for consultation. Over 200 submissions were made, capable of accommodating many more houses than the 4,400 that Cherwell plan to take.

Three sites have been suggested for Steeple Aston,
all on the western side of the village. Two further sites have been suggested for Middle Aston, and there are more sites proposed at Ardley, Kirtlington, Upper Heyford and Heyford Park. The “Great Heyford” land at Lower Heyford is also on the list.

In their consultation paper, Cherwell have divided the District into nine separate areas (A – I). “A” is most suitable and “I” is least suitable. In our neighbourhood plan area, Steeple Aston, Middle Aston and Kirtlington are “I”, while Upper Heyford and Lower Heyford are “F” and Ardley is G.

The consultation is open until January 9th 2017. You can see all the detail of the sites at www.cherwell.gov.uk
and go to Planning Policy – Public Consultation

Fritwell Scheme Withdrawn

The planning application from CALA Homes for 34 new houses in Fritwell has been withdrawn following objections from the Parish Council, many local residents, and from ourselves – the Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan Forum. We hope that the scheme will be resubmitted with a mix of house sizes that is more suited to the needs of the local community.

What happens next?

We are now at the stage where our draft policies are public and ready for discussion at the January engagement meetings, so that you and others in the community can confirm (or otherwise) that we are still on the right track. Final submission of the Plan is now proposed for April 2017, with the Referendum in the late summer.

Bloxham’s Neighbourhood Plan has recently achieved a 97% yes vote. We’re aiming for the same result.

The Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan

What is Neighbourhood Planning?

Pressure on planning and development has increased dramatically in recent years and will continue to do so. As a result, in the last Parliament the Government decided to give local communities a say in how development proceeds in their areas. Neighbourhood planning is a community right introduced under the Localism Act 2011. It enables communities to shape development in their areas through the production of a Neighbourhood Plan. Plans can then become part of the District Council’s Local Plan and the policies contained within them are then used to determine planning applications. They cannot be used to block development that is already part of the Local Plan, but they can be used to shape where that development will go and what it will look like. Neighbourhood Plans require specialist expertise and are expensive to produce and are well beyond the means of smaller communities such as Duns Tew.

What is the Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan (MCNP)?

In order to enable smaller villages and communities to benefit from a Neighbourhood Plan that would otherwise be unaffordable, eleven villages, of which Duns Tew is one, have come together in association with the Dorchester Group (Owners and Developers of Heyford Park) to produce a Neighbourhood Plan for Mid-Cherwell.

The MCNP is administered by the MCNP Forum, which is made up of representatives of the participating villages and the Dorchester Group.

This initiative could play an important role in shaping the future of our local villages by determining, with statutory force, what development might be welcome and what might not be. The engagement of local people is essential to the process and you will shortly be hearing about local meetings in all the villages. In the meantime, please look at the Neighbourhood Plan website and or ask to be kept updated by email.

Why is Duns Tew involved?

Duns Tew is classified as a Category C village, which means the only development permitted is in-fill or conversions. However, the Parish Council felt it important to become part of a wider community that shares the same concerns. The Parish Council has been working very closely with the Dorchester Group since early 2014 to ensure Duns Tew is at the forefront of the decision making process and to try and protect the village from speculative development. The aims and objectives of the Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan, and a list of all the eleven villages participating can be viewed on their website: www.mid-cherwell.org.uk

Community Engagement

The Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan has to be compatible with Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan. Work has already begun and is scheduled for completion by April 2017. For it to succeed and represent the views of all residents successfully, each village is currently arranging “Community Engagement” meetings throughout 2016.

Parish Council vacancies

The Council regret to announce the resignation of Cllr Jon Scotchbrook for personal reasons. Jon has been a stalwart member of the Council for 7 years looking after the Play Area, Footpaths and organising the Village tidy up.. He has been the guiding force behind the refurbishment of the Play area and will remain a member of the sub-committee in a private capacity until this project had been completed.

There is therefore a further vacancy on the Parish Council with the possibility of another one after the March meeting.

If you would be interested in joining the Parish Council please write to the Parish Clerk expressing your interest. For more information or to discuss the vacancy please contact the Parish Clerk.

To qualify as a Parish Councillor you must be over 18, and one of the following;

  • A local government elector in the parish
  • An owner or tenant in the parish for the last 12 months
  • Have worked in the parish for the last 12 months
  • Have lived within 3 miles of the parish boundary for the last 12 months

Closing date for applications – 6th March 2017, 10:00

Mrs. Hilary Skaar
Parish Clerk
The New House, Duns Tew. Bicester, OX25 6JR
01869 340269
dunstewparishcouncil@aol.com

Village Emergency Plan

HELP REQUIRED

The village has a simple Emergency Plan that outlines a series of common sense procedures, identifies key individuals and resources, and provides a list of useful contact numbers.

What it lacks at present is a list of those with medical skills, any doctor, nurse, or trained First Responder who would be willing to add their name to the key individuals list.

In addition we need to identify those who would be willing to offer up equipment for use in an emergency, such as a generator, tractor, or digger.

The only requirement is to allow your name and a contact number to be added to the Emergency Plan list, which is currently limited to members of the Parish Council only.

So if you are willing to help or even to be part of the Emergency Response Team, please get hold of Charles McBean or any other member of the Parish Council with your details and what it is you are willing to provide.

— Duns Tew Parish Council

Mid Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan (MCNP)

Thanks to those residents who attended the MCNP meeting on Monday 4th April. The Parish Council felt it was a very successful evening with many worthwhile questions being asked leading to hopefully a better understanding of the Plan.

Our thanks to Peter Weston for his help and for looking after the bar. Also our thanks to Russell for helping to wash up – as they say “every little helps”

It is intended to have a follow up meeting in Mid June (date to be advised). We should have made considerable progress to report back to you by then, including:

  • numbers and percentages of views expressed in Feb/Mar on the key issues for the neighbourhood
  • the revised list of objectives for the neighbourhood plan (as further modified by topic working groups meeting this month)
  • results of a housing needs survey across the neighbourhood (which has just been approved by Locality, and will be carried out in May)
  • results of various actions by the working groups, collecting evidence, and corresponding with or meeting with various external bodies

Three Parish Council vacancies

The Council regret to announce the resignation of Councillor Rebecca Cooper, who will be moving to Sussex at the end of April. Beccy has only been a member of the Council for a short time but her enthusiasm and work for the Council has been much appreciated.

We now have three vacancies on the Parish Council due to the previous resignations of Fiona Gilje and Simon Keeping.

If you would be interested in joining the Parish Council please write to the Parish Clerk expressing your interest. For more information or to discuss the vacancy please contact the Parish Clerk.

To qualify as a Parish Councillor you must be over 18 and one of the following;

  • A local government elector in the parish
  • An owner or tenant in the parish for the last 12 months
  • Have worked in the parish for the last 12 months
  • Have lived within 3 miles of the parish boundary for the last 12 months.

Closing date for applications – 10:00 on 18th May 2015

Mrs. Hilary Skaar – Parish Clerk
The New House, Duns Tew. Bicester, OX25 6JR
01869 340269
pfsfin2@aol.com

Speedwatch scheme

The Council is considering joining the Speedwatch scheme in partnership with Thames Valley Police. We need volunteers to carry out checks and collect data. The Council will provide the necessary equipment and the police will provide training. A minimum of two people are required to carry out each exercise. It should not take more than two to three hours on days and times to suit the volunteers.

Anyone who would like to Volunteer for this please contact the Parish Clerk