For Immediate Release: BYG, the Begbroke and Yarnton Green Belt Campaign has demanded that Cherwell District Council immediately suspend the current public consultation on their controversial development plans to build 4,000 houses on Green Belt land around the villages of Begbroke, Yarnton and Kidlington.
The demand was made by BYG in an emailed letter to the Leader of Cherwell District Council, Mr Barry Wood, on 1 August 2017 as a result of the grossly unreasonable timing and duration of the Consultation; and because BYG discovered key documents to be missing from the evidence base underpinning Cherwell District Council's development plans that are currently subject to a six week public consultation process that started on 17 July 2017.
The missing documents include a high-level Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (HELAA), key to understanding how the new housing plans have been developed, and six appendices relating to infrastructure improvements in the north Oxford/A44 corridor area.
The planned housing development would more than double Yarnton and Begbroke, and result in the merger of these villages with Kidlington to form one large conurbation. In addition, two further development sites lie between these villages and North Oxford and threaten to breach the `Kidlington Gap` which has been a battleground between developers and local residents for over 30 years.
Chairman of BYG Mr. Giles Lewis said: “To have key evidence missing from the public consultation is not acceptable and the Campaign calls on Cherwell District Council to immediately suspend their consultation process. We also want reassurances from Cherwell that further evidence is nether missing nor will be added during or post this consultation period; and that we will have sufficient time to proceed with the Consultation when it is restarted upon provision of the missing documents.
“This latest situation really adds insult to injury. Residents have only been given the minimum six weeks for consultation that is being run over the summer holidays, despite the fact Cherwell’s plans will alter our villages and the surrounding countryside for generations to come.”
Layla Moran MP (@LaylaMoran) is also calling for an extension of the time allowed for the public to give their views on the draft Cherwell Local Plan.
She said: "With over 2,000 pages in the consultation document, it is just ridiculous to hold the consultation over the six weeks of the summer holidays. And now we hear about some additional documents that were missing and need to be included as extras. The proposals in this plan will affect a large number of people in the area. It is highly unsatisfactory that the public are expected to rush through reading this large amount of material and then make comments on it, whilst many of them are on their summer breaks. I think that Cherwell District Council need to reconsider their timescale to allow for the widest possible participation by the public in their planning."
Notes to Editors
1. The Begbroke and Yarnton Green Belt Campaign was formed by a group of residents of these two historical villages in opposition to Cherwell District Council plans to build 4,400 houses on the Green Belt land.
2. More information about the Campaign is available on our website, www.ourgreenbelt.uk. The Campaign also supports a Twitter feed, @greenbeltby and a public Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/bygbc/.
3. Contact the Chair of the Campaign, Giles Lewis via email@example.com in the first instance.
4. Figure 1. The missing HELAA document from the Evidence Base -- How imminent is imminent?