Cherwell District Council's plan to develop Green Belt must be withdrawn
Cherwell District Council's plan to develop Green Belt land north of Oxford is unsound and unlawful, says Chairman of the Begbroke & Yarnton Green Belt Campaign (BYG), Giles Lewis which today filed its Representations on the Cherwell Proposed Plan Consultation via its lawyers.
“Our Association has taken expert planning and legal advice. It indicates that Cherwell's Proposed Submission Plan, published in July 2017, to put 4,000 houses on Green Belt around Begbroke, Yarnton and Kidlington is fundamentally unsound and the process of preparing it fatally flawed.”
“The evidence suggests that Cherwell, in its haste to accommodate Oxford's so-called 'unmet housing needs', rushed its Plan preparation, leading to unacceptable deficiencies, short cuts and legally inadequate consultation,” continued Mr. Lewis. “The result is a hasty and massive proposed release of our local Green Belt without sufficient justification, and without examination of other reasonable options. It is unlawful and really quite shocking.”
“The importance of Green Belt – recognised in the National Planning Policy Framework – requires planning decision makers to undertake really robust assessments of the evidence base because such land can only be released from the Green Belt if exceptional circumstances are demonstrated,” said David Hinde, solicitor and Secretary of BYG. “In fact, Cherwell`s Plan patently fails to do this. It has numerous flaws, inconsistencies and sources of bias that we contend invalidate its conclusions and disqualify it as a reasonable basis for decision-making.”
“Indeed, there are major constraints to development resulting from the already crushing over-capacity on the A44 corridor. The modelling work done by Cherwell on planned infrastructure improvements cannot be relied upon and would fail to remedy the existing problems; let alone demonstrate how the development can result in anything but a drastic increase in congestion in highway traffic around the three villages and on the northern approaches to Oxford. This will cause gridlock.”
Mr. Lewis concluded: “In the very detailed response that we have submitted to Cherwell, we are calling on them to withdraw their Plan before it goes to the Planning Inspector and to reconsider their proposals. Our findings show conclusively that it is not fit for purpose and is legally non-compliant and procedurally unsound.”
A copy of the response made by BYG to the Proposed Plan Submission consultation, including reports from transport and planning experts, is available here. Giles Lewis may be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
BYG is an association of very concerned Begbroke & Yarnton residents who are passionate about protecting their villages from the urban sprawl and traffic chaos that would result from Cherwell District Council`s Proposed Submission Plan, July 2017.