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Begbroke and Yarnton
Green Belt Campaign

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Cherwell District Council want to build 4,400 houses, the majority  on the Green Belt surrounding the villages of Begbroke, Yarnton and Kidlington. The largest number will be built on two sites between Begbroke and Yarnton. BYG is campaigning to save our Green Belt.

A Positive Step for Our Campaign


26 February 2021

The latest, encouraging, news from the Begbroke & Yarnton Green Belt Campaign (BYG) is that a High Court ruling is allowing a judicial review to go ahead of Cherwell District Council`s Local Plan Partial Review. The Plan, initiated in 2015, proposes the building of 4,400 houses on Oxford`s Green Belt to the north of the city, including over 2,000 around Begbroke and Yarnton.

The Honourable Mrs. Justice Lang, sitting in the Planning Court of the Queen`s Bench on 11 February, directed that the Cherwell Development Watch Alliance, of which BYG is a founder member, could proceed to a full court hearing with the application it made to the court last year for a Planning Statutory Review of Cherwell`s proposals.

This was the first, crucial test of our fundamental claim that the adoption of its Plan by Cherwell is unlawful, and that it should therefore be quashed or sent back for a complete review. Now that it is in the courts and out of the hands of Cherwell District Council and Oxford University`s landowners, it seems at last that someone is actually prepared to listen to us!

Defending the Plan are Cherwell and the Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick. Four other parties, as landowners in the target Green Belt, have an interest in the Plan going ahead and are jointly supporting the Defendants: Oxford University and the university colleges of Christ Church, Exeter, and Merton.

The key issue is the level of housing need claimed by Oxford which, as a neighbouring authority, Cherwell has agreed to help meet.

In the judge`s view, we have `presented arguable grounds which require full consideration`. The date for the full hearing is yet to be set but is likely to be some months away.

Although this is not an indication of the final outcome, we are delighted and feel that our efforts to date and all the support we have been given by residents and the Begbroke and Yarnton parish councils, as well as others, has been justified.


Thanks to everyone who has supported us so far.


Giles Lewis

for Begbroke & Yarnton Green Belt Campaign; Cherwell Development Watch Alliance.

Cherwell Council Ignores Residents and Approves Local Review Plan


The 7th September was a dark day for local democracy as Cherwell District Council led by Barry Wood pushed through adoption of its local plan Partial review (Oxford's Unmet Need). We thank all the local Councillors – Carmen, Conrad, Ian, Katherine and Maurice for speaking up for us and voting against.  All the affected Parish Councils have been magnificent on our behalf. Sadly, all our efforts were ignored.

Summing up,   Cllr Colin Clarke, Lead member for Planning confirmed that the council “always accepted the local plan would not be to the liking of everyone and I acknowledge that the residents of Kidlington, Begbroke and Yarnton would be affected by these proposals”.

Yes, it’s true.  Cherwell Council set out to deliberately ignore the fierce opposition from local and national campaign groups. They have betrayed the trust of every local resident who took part in the public consultation. Not a single modification – not one – was made to the plan as a result of public feedback. They did, though, add even more houses in the Green Belt to accommodate the 400+ houses the Planning Inspector thought might blight the setting of Blenheim Palace.  So, for example, the Yarnton site to the west of the A44 will be extended further into the Green Belt, as will the land behind Water Eaton Lane which will now be developed almost all the way to Kidlington roundabout. The ‘Kidlington Gap’ will effectively be closed.

All of the 4,400 extra Oxford City homes will be located in the Green Belt. It seems doubtful that any of the ‘affordable’ houses will be available for Cherwell residents as they are being reserved for the City Council and the University. The proposals will however transform Begbroke, Yarnton and Kidlington from self-contained settlements within, and protected by, the Oxford Green Belt into outward extensions of Oxford.

Cherwell Council has abandoned our rural communities to be engulfed into Oxford’s Sprawl. The treasure that is the North Oxford Golf club and its thousands of mature trees will be lost, all to provide housing for the university’s expansion.  [The Club is in Cherwell District not Oxford City as might be expected.] The Council’s press release has the gall to claim that “The Plan will bring significant benefits to the south of Cherwell district" allowing us to "readily connect to Oxford and access its services and places of work".  Improved transport links???? Closing Sandy Lane and Yarnton road is never for our benefit.

Barry Wood, Leader of the Council went so far as to say the public were deluded to believe they could influence planning decisions via the democratic system.  Planning decisions, he again claimed, are actually a QUASI LEGAL matter.  In fact that is simply an abdication of his and his Council’s responsibilities to its electors.

The Begbroke & Yarnton Green Belt Campaign, Kidlington Development Watch (to whose Linda Ward I am grateful for the copy of this announcement) and the Cherwell Development Watch Alliance amongst others have therefore been working to put together a legal challenge. We believe that the adoption of the local plan is flawed and hope that it may be overthrown via Judicial Review.  At the time of writing, we are fine tuning the case with the help of a top barrister. We have pledges to fund most of the legal fees and are campaigning to raise the rest. Yes, it’s a costly long shot but it’s the only redress left to us. Once our Green Belt is gone, it is gone forever. Please support us for the sake of future generations.

Visit or for details.

Giles Lewis.

CDWA Website

CDWA have set up their own excellent website. Please visit it via the link below.

Inspector's Report

Attached for information, the Inspector's Report.  Any feedback greatly welcomed.

Fund Raising to Mount Legal Challenge to the Cherwell Plan


Weʼre raising £5,000 to mount a legal challenge to the Cherwell plan to build 2,500 houses on Green Belt land in and around Begbroke and Yarnton.


Begbroke and Yarnton Greenbelt Campaign have now set up a Justgiving page for those who might find this a more convenient way to donate.  

Detail of Where Our Council Wish to Build on Our Villages


The latest plan – coming up for adoption very soon - is the Cherwell Local Plan Pt 1 Partial Review and allocates sites for 4,400 houses in the Green Belt around Kidlington, Begbroke, Yarnton and North Oxford.

The document originally submitted can be found at:



This was then changed (at the request of the Government Planning Inspector) to remove an allocation at Woodstock with the houses being redistributed to the other sites closer to Oxford. The maps showing the individual sites can be seen below or by following the link below (which will download a 4.7MB pdf document),and scrolling to page 45 (where you will also find the full decode of the coloured areas.

Map 54.jpg
Pink is new planned housing!
Map 56.jpg

Pink is planned new housing!

Letter from our  Chairman

Dated 28 July 2020

Dear Resident,


We’ve reached the final stage in our exhaustive – and so far, unsuccessful – battle to stop Cherwell District Council building 2,500 houses around Begbroke and Yarnton, closing Sandy Lane in the process.

The Government Inspector is imminently releasing his final Report on the plan for consideration and almost inevitable adoption by the Council, probably in August. This follows the sham consultation process, during which our concerns have been blithely ignored, despite ‘unprecedented’ opposition (the Council’s own words) to the plan.


Begbroke and Yarnton Greenbelt Campaign (BYG) and Cherwell Development Watch Alliance (CDWA) mounted expert evidence - funded by our parish councils and residents - demonstrating why the Plan is not sound.

This is a bad development Plan. Our last chance to stop it is in the courts. For that we need money. Both village parish councils have again kindly voted us significant sums, but we need more.


The plan will:

  • Destroy the distinct identities of our two historic villages, merging them into one conurbation nearly three times their current size;

  • Snarl up the traffic on the A44, to and from Oxford;

  • Sever Begbroke and Yarnton from Kidlington and its services;

  • Build exclusive houses for university staff and London commuters on our local Green Belt, providing very little, if anything, for the local community.


If you would like to donate towards this final and expensive attempt to protect and preserve our two communities, please either send money direct to the BYG bank account (details below) or send a cheque, made out to Begbroke and Yarnton Greenbelt Campaign, to BYG, Cobweb Cottage, Spring Hill Road, Begbroke OX5 1RX.

Thank you once again for your support.

Giles Lewis

Chair, Begbroke and Yarnton Greenbelt Campaign


PS: Please spread the word and encourage others to donate. We are often surprised by the fact that many people we meet don’t know about the housing threat, in spite of several leaflet drops over the past few years.




Begbroke and Yarnton Greenbelt Campaign, Lloyds,

Sort Code 30-99-08, Account  Number 22765768

Giles Lewis.jpg

Letters to Prime Minister and SofS

Our Chairman, Mr Giles Lewis, sent the following letter to the Prime Minister.  A letter from the CDWA sent to the Hon Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing and Community from CDWA is also attached, (click the buttons to download the letters):


The CDWA letter to the Secretary of State for Housing and Community, about the Oxford and Cherwell District Local Plans, was endorsed by local Member of Parliament Layla Moran, by County councillors, by all local District councillors, by all local parish council chairs, by Oxfordshire planning professionals, by all five local community groups including BYG, and by other local organisations opposing the Plans.


The letter makes a detailed request for the Secretary of State`s intervention in these Plans to protect the Green Belt, as repeatedly promised by the Conservative government.

Oxford Times Picks up on letter to PM


NEWS: Cherwell District Council is consulting on proposed Main Modifications to the Partial Review of the Local Plan. The Modifications arise from the planning inspector's post-hearing note that requested the removal of the Woodstock site (PR10) from the plan and the 410 houses re-distributed elsewhere. In effect, Cherwell are removing even more Green Belt in order to accommodate houses already in excess of a truly objectively assessed housing need for Oxford. Responses to the  consultation must be received by Cherwell no later than 11.59pm on Friday 20 December 2019.

"One thing is certain: there is NOTHING in [site PR8 - Begbroke]  for the benefit of local residents. All they can expect is severance from their local services; local traffic chaos; loss of Green Belt amenity; destruction of their ancient separate identities; and ten years of disruption." – Read Giles Lewis' address to Cherwell District Council, 22 July 2019

On 10 July 2019 The planning inspector published a "post-hearing advice note" which served to demonstrate, as far as the demonstrably flawed 'Oxford's unmet need' numbers are concerned, just how broken the planning system really is!

The Examination in Public was held from 5-13 February 2019. BYG, and the umbrella group, Cherwell Development Watch Alliance (CDWA) participated and submitted a number of statements both before and after the hearings.

A Preliminary Hearing took place on 28 Sept 2018. Representatives from BYG attended. We contributed to a written submission on behalf of the Cherwell Development Watch Alliance (CDWA).

On Monday, 26 Feb 2018 Cherwell District Council voted in favour of submitting the Plan to the Planning Inspectorate.

BYG Consultation Response: Read the BYG Response to the Cherwell District Council Proposed Submission Plan Consultatio


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Campaign news

Campaign news now has its own dedicated page! Latest news includes:

Oxford Mail
15 June 2017 
Oxford Times
15 June 2017

Oxford Times

15 June 2017


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BYG is an association of concerned residents of both Begbroke and Yarnton who share a common aim of protecting Green Belt land surrounding the villages of Begbroke & Yarnton from encroachment by housing or other built development.  Cherwell District Council is proposing to build 4,400 houses in and around the villages of Begbroke, Yarnton and Kidlington in support of Oxford City Council's alleged 'Unmet Housing Needs'. We also work with Kidlington Development Watch and CPRE Oxfordshire.

With the exception of financial help from Begbroke & Yarnton Parish Councils, BYG has been primarily self-funding. However, in order to continue to  make the best response we can to Cherwell District Council's plans, as well as continue our campaign of awareness-raising amongst our two villages, we need to raise money. If you wish to donate then please do so, either via our fund-raising site or directly (drop us an email).


Join the BYG Campaign

The Begbroke & Yarnton Green Belt Campaign (BYG) is an "unincorporated association", formed to promote and encourage for the benefit of the public the improvement and protection of the countryside and the protection of the Green Belt from encroachment by housing or other built development, in particular the Green Belt land surrounding the villages of Begbroke & Yarnton and related areas.


As an Association we have members. If you agree with the above aim of the Association it is very easy to join BYG. Simply tell us your name, email address, street and village,  and confirm that we may hold this information for the purposes of maintaining a membership list and contacting you.

In any case, we encourage you to subscribe to our email updates. Add yourself to the email list by sending a blank email to Please also follow us on Twitter and engage with us on Facebook.


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Success! Request to join BYG sent. Thank you for your interest in our campaign to protect our Green Belt.

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