Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

September 2015

This months News



Leys Field

As I am sure you all know, outline planning permission was granted for 15 houses on Leys Field.  53 members of the village attended the committee meeting at Kineton School, and I leave you all to your own opinions on how this meeting was conducted.  However, I include here the letter the Parish Council has sent to Stratford District Council.

Oxhill Parish Council

For the direct attention of Paul Lankester, Chief Executive, Stratford on Avon District Council

Cc        Robert Weeks, Nadhim Zahawi MP


Ref:  14/02168/OUT

Since the announcement of the Stratford on Avon Core Strategy, Oxhill Parish Council and its residents have been pro-active in supporting new housing development within the parish.  We have firm ideas how and where we would like this development to take place, which is to continue the linear development of the village, and specifically to exclude the area of land within the triangle, considered to be the ‘green lungs’ of the village.  This is all referred to in our Parish Plan, accepted by Cabinet.

I refer to the Planning Committee decision of 29 July 2015 on the above application to build within the triangle of land specifically excluded in the Parish Plan.  It was felt by all the residents who attended the meeting, that the committee was careless, cursory, and lacked quality.  As a major application we consider a site meeting should have been obligatory, and was indeed requested by myself, especially with such substantial opposition from the Parish Council and the vast majority of the residents, 53 of whom turned up in person on the evening.  It appeared that only one committee member had actually visited the site.  Such a major application should have been managed by a senior planning officer.  We are asking the question, was Sarah Luckham qualified to do this?

Why does Stratford District Council devote resources to considering and approving Parish Plans and then completely ignore them when planning applications are decided?  Our Parish Plan was not taken into material consideration as it should have been.  One councillor did not even know Oxhill had completed a Parish Plan, let alone that it had been accepted, and seemed shocked when told we had an 83% return.  The fact that he was unaware of this surely suggests he had not read the Committee Report, or indeed the full application, or the 56 stated reasons for objection.   Surely this was unprofessional?  He voted in favour of the development.

The Chairman was ingratiating to the Stansgate representative and congratulated him on his presentation before the debate and the planning decision, and therefore was not impartial.

There were questions concerning access to the field and when the Chairman asked the Planning Officer what the width was, she replied that she did not know.  There followed what can only be described as a farce, when two planning officers shuffled plans, produced a six-inch ruler, and tried to measure from a not-to-scale plan.  In any event it is not clear if this was indeed the correct map of the site entrance, as the access map contained in the on-line planning application is in fact for Bishops Itchington and not Oxhill.

The Chairman also seemed to be confused about the definition of backland development, and when a planning officer clarified this, which supported our objection, he decided he preferred his own interpretation and went on to support the application with the comment that the field was ‘not backland and was ripe for development’.  There were further comments that ‘it is only 15 houses’.  This development is in fact more than a 10% increase in the size of the village in one application.

During a meeting with planning officers at Elizabeth House to finalise our Parish Plan, myself and my deputy chairman were informed that these fields were backland and were not suitable for development.  In the Appeal to the land to the rear of Fithers Field (APP/J3720/W/14/3001907) on 29 June 2015 the Planning Inspectorate dismissed the application, one of the grounds being ‘it would introduce a backland form of development, encroaching into an open landscape, at odds with the predominantly linear settlement pattern’.  Exactly the self same comments apply to this estate-type development in a ridge and furrow field.  It shows a lack of consistency in the planning process and the Council’s decision.  Perhaps you could explain this?

Taking all these points into account, we are seeking judicial advice and therefore appeal against the decision made by the Planning Committee.

Yours faithfully

Grenville Moore

Chairman – Oxhill Parish Council

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Last modified: September 01, 2015