Chalgrove Airfield Development

1. SOUTH OXFORDSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL’S LOCAL PLAN, 2032

South Oxfordshire District Council have chosen Chalgrove airfield as their preferred site to meet the housing need of Oxford and propose to build at LEAST 3500 HOUSES there before 2032. They have chosen this site above others because it is a brownfield site (the majority of other sites erode the green belt around Oxford).  To see an image showing the relationship of the airfield to Pyrton Parish boundary click here…pyrton parish boundary

Please take the time to look at the document for South Oxfordshire’s Local Plan, 2032…

https://consult.southandvale.gov.uk/portal/south/planning/pol/poj2016/poj2016

2.  HOMES AND COMMUNITIES AGENCY

HAC (Homes and Communities Agency), took ownership of the Chalgrove Airfield site from the Ministry of Defence in July 2016.  To see their documents click here…http://chalgroveairfield.gva.co.uk

3.  INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIRED FOR DEVELOPMENT OF CHALGROVE

HCA have stated that the cost of new infrastructure could be in excess of £100m.  See the following article from the Oxford Mail…

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/14747235.Government_agency_could_spend___39_significantly_more_than___100m__39__on_infrastructure_at_new_town_near_Oxford/

HCA have had meetings with Watlington and surrounding communities and suggested that part of the new road infrastructure could include an ‘edged street’ around Watlington, as shown in their diagram below

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-13-51-20

http://www.watlingtonnp.org.uk/Watlington-Neighbourhood-Plan/UserFiles/Files/HCA%20Meeting%20041016.pdf

LOCAL OPINION OF SODC’S PREFERRED SITE OPTION

A report commissioned by Oxford City Council concluded that the city’s 15,000-home overspill would be best addressed through urban extensions on green belt sites close to the city. This report found that an urban extension to the north of the city in the neighbouring Cherwell district, providing 2,800-3,600 homes, and an urban extension to the south of the city, at Grenoble Road, providing 5,500-7,500 would be the most sustainable and readily deliverable options for addressing the city’s housing need. For more information please read the following article:

Councils clash over distribution of Oxfordshire’s housing growth | Planning Resource[1]

Tony Williamson who had 26 years experience on Oxford City Council (and 15 years on the County Council) before he came to Watlington in 1989 commented ‘I have now been been in touch with Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, who tells me that there are 3500 families/applicants on Oxford City Waiting List. However the content of the Waiting List has changed since my day. The number coming in from rural areas is now very little. Most are coming from multi-occupation properties in the City, which are dominated by migrants and young professionals employed in Oxford.

What I think has not changed is that some planners and ultra-conservationists think that the dreaming spires and Green Belt are all that matters in Oxford, whereas the City Council has responsibility for both conservation and for the vibrance of a major University, Health, Shopping and Commercial centre serving the County and far beyond. This life needs employees, many of whom are not highly paid and need to live within range of their work. A Chalgrove or Harrington development will not meet this need, whereas Grenoble Road, and other close possibilities would.’

In a statement on its Facebook page, Chalgrove Parish Council said it believes that the proposal “would have catastrophic effects on the community, ultimately destroying the character and life in our great village and also those in the surrounding areas…Chalgrove is not averse to growth, as shown by the fact that our population has grown tenfold over the past 60 years from 300 to 3,000. However the parish council believes that village life would not be sustainable with such a vast increase in population. It would also bring traffic chaos to our area and surrounding villages.’

At a presentation (21/7/16) given by the Homes and Communities Agency (who are now responsible for Chalgrove Airfield) and SODC at Chalgrove Village Hall, John Curtis (Chairman of Pyrton Parish Council) noted that ‘the residents of Chalgrove are distraught at not only the prospect of the development of the Airfield but specifically the stated fact that the decision to make Chalgrove Airfield SODC’s preferred choice appears to have been taken by John Cotton with little or no briefing of or involvement by our elected representatives. Much was made by the audience that Grenoble Road is the preferred choice of the Oxford City Council as it is contiguous with Oxford and so benefits from all of the existing communication links whereas Chalgrove has no such links with Oxford or access to the M40 suitable for the massive increase in traffic which would result from the building of 3,500 homes and the inevitable but unmentioned fact that the majority will be commuters.’

Steve Harrod, South Oxfordshire District Councillor (Chalgrove and Watlington) believes that the preferred options are actually in conflict with the Local Plan objectives in a number of areas.