All posts by Lucy Brittain

Message from Oxfordshire County Council requesting no bonfires during Coronavirus pandemic

Please do not light garden fires during the current coronavirus pandemic. The Household Waste Recycling Centres are closed for the time being and we need you to hold material for now.

As well as the danger of the fire spreading uncontrollably, there are people in the community living with serious respiratory problems, which could be made much worse if the sufferer is exposed to smoke from bonfires.

Instead please compost your garden waste where possible, and stack or bag up rubbish for disposal when the current emergency is over.

Conservation Area Appraisal Consultation Meeting 23rd July 2018

Pyrton Parish Council, with the assistance of South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC), has produced a draft conservation area appraisal for Pyrton.  We are proposing to revise the existing conservation area boundary.

You have an opportunity to comment on the appraisal during a public consultation period running from 11 July to 5pm on 22 August 2018.

There will be a meeting regarding this in Pyrton Village Hall on Monday 23rd July at 6.30pm with Samantha Allen, Conservation Officer from South Oxfordshire District Council.

The purpose of the appraisal is to define the special architectural or historic interest of the conservation area.  It will support SODC’s duty to consider the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of Pyrton when determining planning applications.

As well as being a material consideration in planning decisions, conservation area designation also affects the following:

  • Some works need planning permission (reduced permitted development rights). This includes demolition works. For more information click here.
  • Works to trees that have a trunk diameter over 75mm when measured at 1.5m from ground level. These works require notice to be given to council at least six weeks in advance of the works. For more information click here.

Viewing the appraisal

You can view the appraisal on SODC’s website.

Hard copies of the documents are available to view at St Mary’s Church, Pyrton. The documents are also available to view at SODC’s office, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Abingdon, OX14 4SB during usual opening hours.

How to submit your comments

Your views are important to SODC and will help them to prepare the final version of the appraisal, so please have your say in one of the following ways:

Please note that you must provide your name and address for your comments to be considered. All representations and related documents will be held securely by SODC for a period of six months after the appraisal is adopted.

All responses received will be available for the public to view and will be shared on SODC’s website. If you are responding as an individual we will not share your contact details, however your name may be displayed; if you are responding as an organisation we will display your name and contact details next to your response.

Thank you in advance for your participation in the consultation. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact SODC by calling their Customer Service Team on 01235 422600.



Consultation on Redevelopment of PYR1 – 16th November 2017



Beechcroft Developments Ltd are holding a public exhibition to display ideas for the potential redevelopment of the above site to provide a care related development. Representatives from Beechcroft and their consultants will be available to answer any questions regarding the redevelopment.

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SODC’s Local Plan ‘Second Preferred Options document’


South Oxfordshire District Council’s (SODC) Local Plan sets out how development will be planned and delivered across South Oxfordshire to 2033. The recently released ‘Second Preferred Options Document’ (read it online: or see a hardcopy at Watlington Library) continues to include a proposal to build a strategic development of 3,000 homes on Chalgrove airfield, creating a town the size of Thame or Wallingford.

To cater for the traffic generated development the document provides an extensive list of suggested improvements to road infrastructure, including a bypass around Watlington.

Even if you responded to the last Local Plan consultation, we urge you to respond again by the deadline of 17th May (e-mail or write to SODC planning policy, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Abingdon OX14 4SB).

John Cotton, the leader of SODC, in his foreward to the Local Plan states that ‘your response to the consultation is crucial’ and ‘it is our desire to let more of the decisions be made by communities for themselves.’

For further information and notes on this document see ‘Local News’ / ‘Local Plan update’

An e-briefing on development from John Howell, April 2017

Our Planning System is Plan led and Issues around planning are often raised with me especially over development and infrastructure. In this briefing I will explain some of the key questions being raised and what I have been doing to help improve the planning system in Parliament.

There is little doubt that we need more housing but the way in which development is happening in relation to our towns and villages is of concern. I have personally pledged to push for infrastructure in line with development and am pleased to see that in the latest draft Local Plan in South Oxfordshire the council makes this a key policy area. There is also clear evidence that where a community has a Neighbourhood Development Plan they are more involved with the planning system.

I have been actively encouraging every community to develop a Neighbourhood Plan either on its own or, where small communities are concerned and geography is appropriate, to work with neighbouring communities. Once adopted a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) becomes part of the suite of Planning Policy documents against which applications are determined and has the same force of law as the Local Plan. They give communities the opportunity to play a much more proactive part in the process. It is, of course, important to note that a NDP is not a trump card and it must work together with the web of other Plans – local and national. What it does not do is give rights to individual communities to make plans and take planning decisions in isolation. It is a shared responsibility between district and community.

As I helped develop Neighbourhood Planning, and was instrumental in helping to change planning regulations to give them further help, I am pleased to see them coming to fruition and giving communities a real say in the system. This was the intention. There are now some 2000 across the country. Some say that they are a lot of work but it is important to note that they do not have to be all embracing ‘mini local plans’. The first NDP in the country had just two policies which addresses issues not contained in the district Local Plan. The second in the country was the Thame NDP which in contrast is a very comprehensive document. It is all about what is needed in each locality. As we heard at the conference I held with SODC and parish councils, I am delighted that SODC is giving NDPs full support and I remain happy to speak to communities wishing to embark on the process. My message is – if you have not already started now is not too soon.

A NDP is all the more important now that SODC has ‘lost’ its five year land supply figure – a measure of housing deliverability. Without this it is easier for developers to get applications through and the council has less control over where development goes. More recently, I helped change the regulations to ensure that where a District Council loses its five year land supply, a community with a Neighbourhood Plan which allocates sites for development will only have to operate under a three year land supply figure rather than five. SODC has a three year land supply and a NDP would therefore carry full weight.

Judgement made in the High Court clearly shows Neighbourhood Plans anyway carried very significant amounts of weight in the planning system even where the district council had lost its five year land supply. This means that a Neighbourhood Plan would have had the strongest of influences in helping to decide on planning applications.

It is good news that over 30 communities in South Oxfordshire and Cherwell are now preparing a NDP. In Thame and Woodcote we have examples of ‘front runners’ – those developed early in the process and helping the learning. Both Thame and Woodcote are now benefiting from a much closer working relationship with the district council planning department in reviewing applications as they are submitted. In communities such as Henley they are now beginning to see this improved relationship develop and to share in the decision making process.

Central and Local Government roles
Planning is and should be a local matter. Gone are the days when housing numbers were set nationally. Government provides guidance for planning authorities and it is the District Council that knows better than anyone sat in Whitehall what is needed in any village across the county.

The task of an MP in central government is to make the planning system fair within the law. This I have been doing as I set out on my web-site at this link. The changes I am currently seeking to introduce would have a profound effect on our communities in giving them more security over the future and I am pleased that some are being introduced as part of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill and some others in the Housing White Paper.

There is some belief that the Government introduced a law allowing developers to go to appeal or that it has made it impossible for councils to appeal decisions. This is a false rumour and if you look at the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 you will see there the same right of appeal for the applicant against a decision of a local authority to refuse a planning application. The ability to appeal a decision, therefore, goes back to at least 1990. In addition, Councils are still fully able to challenge appeals and at a recent meeting with Parish Councils I have obtained a promise from John Cotton, the Leader of SODC, that he will always challenge appeals where there is a good legal case.

A question has been raised as to whether there could be a moratorium on planning decisions on large developments until there is a Local Plan in place. I think this would be difficult to achieve but would be willing to raise this with Government and in Parliament.

I have long said that the cumulative effect of applications and permissions already given should be looked at. The principle which currently applies of looking at ‘each application in its own right’ has its limitations when looking at large developments. It leaves no room for seeing the implications on infrastructure of all types. NDPs do go some way in helping with this but often the issues are wider. I have pledged to push for infrastructure in line with development and have done just that since. I have asked the National Infrastructure Commission to meet with me with a view to looking at Oxfordshire as a project. Usually the Commission only looks at national infrastructure.

SODC Local Plan Consultation
Currently South Oxfordshire District Council has a consultation open on its Local Plan to 2033. I was able to visit the last of their ‘drop in’ events in Henley at the weekend and had the opportunity to discuss the Plan with planning officers. If you missed these events copies of the exhibition boards can be seen on the SODC website. The consultation is open until 17th May and I would encourage everyone to take a look and respond.

SODC’s Local Plan Update

SODC received around 2,000 responses to their ‘preferred options’ document which detailed where new housing might go across South Oxfordshire.  This included the suggestion of a large housing site of at least 3,500 houses on Chalgrove Airfield.

In this Autumn’s edition of ‘Outlook’ SODC state that they are ‘still working through these comments, and they will help us choose which sites are best to put in the Local Plan which we aim to submit to a government inspector next year’.  Before then they need to undertake the following tasks…

  1. Preferred options part 2 consultation 
    Early 2017 they will ask us what we think about a range of detailed planning policies including those that help in deciding planning applications and the types of infrastructure necessary to support new housing and jobs such as roads, parks and schools.
  2. Submission consultation
    Once they have amended these policies, they will add them to the Local Plan along with the details of the main housing sites we have identified for the district.  They will then ask us what we think of the whole package  – our comments will go to the planning inspector along with SODC’s Local Plan.
  3. Examination
    The government planning inspector will examine SODC’s plan and may decide to hold hearings to make sure they followed a satisfactory process to create the plan and that they have listened properly to local concerns.
  4. Adoption
    If the Local Plan is concluded sound by the inspector it can be adopted and the policies can be used to determine planning applications in South Oxfordshire.

Pyrton Neighbourhood Plan ‘Call for sites’ consultation

Dear all,

Pyrton parish is in the process of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan in order to establish a positive vision for how it would like its community to develop sustainably in the future.

As part of this process the Pyrton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is writing to landowners in Pyrton to encourage them to submit sites that they consider are both suitable and available for development for consideration by the parish.   This will enable the parish to make appropriate provision to meet its future housing needs. Please note that for land to be considered ‘available’ in this context, a landowner must be willing to entertain the potential for their land, or part of their land, to be developed.

Following the receipt of submissions, the Steering Group will undertake an assessment of each of the available submitted sites against a range of criteria in order to determine their suitability for development.

To assist with the site assessment process, any information that can be provided in relation to the available sites would be helpful. We have therefore prepared a ‘call for sites’ response form, available to download below, in order to gather a range of information about each site, which we would be grateful if respondents could return by the deadline provided below. In addition to the information requested through this form, it would also be useful if a plan could be submitted with the extent of the available land outlined.

Please note that the deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 15th July 2016 and they should be emailed to or posted to either of the following addresses:

Luke Vallins, Terence O’Rourke Ltd, Everdene House, Deansleigh Road, Bournemouth, BH7 7DU

John Curtis, Lothlorien, Pyrton, OX59 5AP

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

The Pyrton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

160603 248401 Pyrton NP call for sites response form_arial