Grainger is re-submitting its application to SODC. This will prompt another round of consultation. The application, therefore, will not come before SODC’s Planning Committee for a number of weeks – perhaps months.
So there is no Council meeting for us in January.
We are told that Grainger is revising its plans to be compliant with the council’s Landscape Officer’s report. This called for a “green infrastructure link” along the north of the site adjacent to the public footpath.
So we can expect Grainger to move a few tree stumps and ditches around in a vain attempt to mitigate the damage their plans will cause. But rearranging the deckchairs on their titanic will not resolve what’s inherently wrong with their plan. Cathie Scotting, the Council Officer dealing with the case has said “The purpose of the amendment is not to provide or maintain ‘a green gap’ as (I am sure you will agree) this can only be achieved with little or no housing.” We could not agree more Cathie.
What does this mean for our Campaign?
East Hagbourne Parish Council is working hard to get a Neighbourhood Plan in place but it is a time consuming process. A Neighbourhood Plan will not guarantee our victory but it will enhance our protection against speculative developers. The extra time this re-submission brings is helpful.
In a similar vein we can expect Didcot’s Garden Town to evolve from vision to plan over the next months. Sufficient delay could see the Green Gap locked in by policy as Didcot’s ‘green lungs’. This would be helpful for us, and potentially fatal for Grainger.
And we get another chance to have our say. Stand easy for the council meeting but sharpen your pencils for the next round of consultation. This is welcome. After all it’s a pleasure to tell the world how much we want to Save the Green Gap.