Author Archives: Mind the Green Gap


It's been a busy couple of weeks. The three appeal parties – Grainger, SODC and Mind the Green Gap – have shared their Proof of Evidence with the Inspectorate and each other. 

You’ll be pleased to hear there’s no big surprises. The fundamental reasons behind the unanimous refusal of the application are still as valid today as they were in May. Despite their thousands of words Grainger’s scheme remains unwanted, ill-conceived and harmful to town and village alike. 

SODC have promised today (23rd December) that the ‘proofs’ are uploading to their website and will soon be in the public domain. When they are we’ll be sure to share the link with you along with some commentary. You can then judge for yourself if the Appellant has proved their case. 

The Appeal begins on January 10th. We all then get our chance to see off Grainger for good. What a happy new year that will be. 


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Last weeks meeting was a success. Around 80 packed the Pavilion to hear about Didcot Garden Town, the Green Gap Appeal and East Hagbourne Neighbourhood Plan. 

Gerry Brough, head of the Didcot Garden Town team presented their emerging plans – it was refreshing to see a planner out of his office and amongst our community. It's true to say we gave Gerry a bit of a bumpy ride as residents robustly challenged why the Garden Town boundary includes a large swathe of East Hagbourne parish. People expressed their concern – the words ‘land grab’ were used. 

After some time Gerry clarified his position. He said the boundary had been drawn to give the Garden Town plan influence over the future of this strategically important area. He went on to say the Garden Town team would be making a representation to the Planning Inspector to set out their view of development on the Green Gap. This pleased the audience. Lets hope it pleases the inspector too. 

Its Gerry’s job to deliver a viable plan. Its our job to hold him and his team to account. To this end please take the time to input your views into their consultation. Let them know what you think. Let them know what you want.

You can give your view here

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Hear what the Garden Town planners have to say and more at an important public meeting concerning the future of both East Hagbourne and Didcot. 

 Monday 5th December, 7.30pm at East Hagbourne Pavilion.

Didcot Garden Town 
The Didcot Garden Town boundary includes a large part of East Hagbourne. Why? The Garden Town team will explain how their proposals may affect us all. You can get a preview of the Garden Town plans and comment on this website

Green Gap Appeal 
The January Appeal hearing is imminent. Hear about how appeals work, the strategy to beat Grainger, and what you can do to help.

East Hagbourne Neighbourhood Plan
The East Hagbourne Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has been extremely busy drafting polices for the Plan. Hear an update on its progress

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The plans for Didcot Garden Town are emerging. SODC, The Vale of White Horse and their consultants have launched a website and began a consultation process. This is another opportunity for us to let plan-makers know what the Green Gap means to our Town and Village. And a chance too to build further evidence for our Appeal that the community reject coalescence of Town and Village.

So log onto the Garden Town website and fill its map with comments.

Let the planners know that the Green Gap is valued landscape. Let them know that joining town and village is harmful and can never be undone. Let them know why we should Save the Green Gap.

Overstepping Boundaries?

When you log on you’ll notice the map is not quite familiar. It shows a boundary for the Garden Town that includes the north eastern area of East Hagbourne, including the Green Gap and the area to the east of it promoted by Nurton. The Garden Town team’s literature sets out a rationale  of sorts:

“The boundary cuts west across the Parish of East Hagbourne, including the land which is currently subject to a planning appeal. This area has been purposely included within the boundary so that its use can be carefully planned as part of the Garden Town Vision – whether it’s to be developed or maintained as open space. It is important to remember that the Garden Town Boundary does not indicate the developable area of Didcot. It will also include areas to be retained as open space and indicate where new green infrastructure should be introduced”.

Should we find solace in these words? The intent may be benign but the result may not. SODC is spending a lot of taxpayers' money defending an appeal. The basis of the appeal is that Didcot and East Hagbourne are distinct settlement hierarchies separated by the Green Gap. The map incorporates the Green Gap into Didcot and reduces the settlement of East Hagbourne to the conservation area. There is therefore no gap anymore. This is precisely Grainger’s argument.

There are multiple ways that the ‘Town’ plan could protect the ‘Garden’. Creating confusion and conflict at this critical time is perhaps not one of them. 

So you may want to tell the Garden Town Team what you think of its boundary too.

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The Big Gap Quiz and Auction night raised £4,558 towards the Green Gap Fighting Fund. Amazing! 

Thank you to everybody that took part in the quiz. Thanks too to those generous folk that donated auction items. And a very special thanks to Darren, Ruth and the staff at the Fleur de Lys East Hagbourne for being such great hosts. 

The Fighting Fund has now raised almost £9,500 which when combined with the Parish Council’s pledge of £5,000 means we’ve smashed our target. Blimey!

The campaign is one step closer to victory. 


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Darren and Ruth at the Fleur de Lys are very kindly hosting Mind the Green Gap's fundraising quiz, curry and auction night on Monday 17th October. The fun kicks off at 6.45pm. 

It's only £10pp including curry so why not help raise money whilst having a giggle and good grub!

It will be lots of fun. There's prizes to be won and an exciting auction with great lots to bid for including a holiday in Devon!

You can form a team or come as an individual.

Email Ruth at [email protected] to book your place.

Please indicate:

  • team name
  • number in team (1-6 max)
  • curry preference – meat or veggie

Book Early to Avoid Disappointment!

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We need your help to keep the Green Gap green. We’re raising money to help us fight Grainger’s appeal against the unanimous refusal of their application by SODC.

Every £25 we raise will help ‘save’ a little piece of Green Gap. We’re attempting to raise £12,500 in just 4 months to help us save it all.

If you want to know how your money will help, how you can donate, and how much we have raised so far go to the Donate page.

Thank you!

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Last week we applied for what is called Rule 6 status in Grainger’s Appeal against the unanimous refusal by SODC’s Planning Committee of their planning application.

We have done this following encouragement from the legal counsel we took and after consultation with SODC and the Planning Inspectorate – the body who will be managing the appeal process.

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