Begbroke and Yarnton Green Belt Campaign
Areas under threat adjacent to Yarnton & Begbroke
The area in red are sites selected by Cherwell District Council for a proposed new settlement comprising 2,480 houses. The map has been modified from that published by Cherwell District Council to make the scale of the development clearer. The original is available on page 91 of "Partial Review of the Cherwell Local Plan 2011-2031
(Part 1): Oxford's Unmet Housing Needs. Proposed Submission (Draft for Executive)" [PDF], <http://modgov.cherwell.gov.uk/documents/s35415/Appendix%201%20Partial%20Review%20of%20the%20Local%20Plan%20Proposed%20Submission%20Document%20-%20draft%20for%20Executive.pdf> (19 June 2017). The full set of documents considered by, and approved by, the Cherwell District Council Executive on 19 June 2017, are available via <http://modgov.cherwell.gov.uk/ieIssueDetails.aspx?IId=15456&PlanId=0&> (including a video webcast of the meeting itself).
The formal consultation on the Partial Review of the Cherwell Local Plan, which closes on 10 Oct 2017, is available at https://www.cherwell.gov.uk/planningpolicyconsultation.
Our Green Belt
The Green Belt serves to maintain the identity of settlements by preventing urban sprawl and merging of towns and villages. Without the Green Belt Oxford city could expand without control, consuming historic villages like Wolvercote, Yarnton, Begbroke, Kidlington and Woodstock. Without the Green Belt the villages themselves could coalesce into a single settlement. At present each village is distinct and either surrounded by, or part of, the Green Belt. There is a "Kidlington gap" between Oxford and Kidlington as well as Green Belt fields between Kidlington and Begbroke, and Begbroke and Yarnton.
The purpose of our Green Belt reflects national policy. The NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework, para. 80), clearly states that the Green Belt exists to:
Check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas.
Prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another.
To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment.
To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns.
To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.
Unfortunately, Cherwell District Council's plans will do exactly what the Green Belt is designed to prevent: an urban conurbation in effect from Oxford through to Woodstock. Cherwell District Council are not proposing to build on the Green Belt, but rather to remove large areas of land from the Green Belt in order to enable developers to build on the land as they might on any other non-Green Belt land. Removing (or adding) Green Belt land can only be undertaken through a revision of the Local Plan and can only be justified by demonstrating "exceptional circumstances". We do not believe that Cherwell District Council have demonstrated sufficient Exceptional Circumstances exist to justify removal of the Green Belt, and especially not the particular Green Belt sites proposed.
See further, NPPF, <https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-planning-policy-framework/9-protecting-green-belt-land>.