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.
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 email@example.com