Members of the public are encouraged though to submit comments on Grainger’s Statement of Case document. Or make any new observations that they have not made previously. For instance you may want to comment on your experience of the Planning Committee meeting so that the Inspector can understand better why the Planning Committee refused the application (there's reminders of this memorable event on your YouTube page).
We have until 2nd September to do this.
There are two ways to send your comments to the Inspector.
Click on this link to go the relevant page on the Planning Portal Website. Then click on the 'Make Representation' button and follow instructions.
The Planning Inspectorate,
Room 3/O Kite,
Temple Quay House,
2 The Square,
Bristol, BS1 6PN.
You should quote the appeal reference number (APP/Q3115/W/16/3153639) and enclose 3 copies of your letter. The Planning Inspectorate will not acknowledge your comments but will make sure they reach the Inspector.
SODC Planning Committee Meeting
Wednesday 18th May
6pm, Didcot Civic Hall,
Britwell Road, Didcot.
SODC have confirmed that this is the day the Planning Committee will sit to make a decision on Grainger’s speculative application to build up to 170 dwellings on The Green Gap.
The Planning Committee consists of Councilors who have been elected by residents. Whilst they are obliged by law to keep an open mind and consider all applications on their merits, they are ultimately accountable to the local people who voted for them.
We’d like to make sure they are reminded of the feelings of the local people by packing Didcot Civic Hall to the rafters. The unity amongst the people of East Hagbourne and Didcot has been overwhelming. However, we need to ensure that this is demonstrated on the most important occasion at all.
We intend to lay on buses to take people up to the Civic Hall. If you'd like a seat on the battle bus please email Justine. And we’d love for there to be homemade signs and banners that tell everyone what we think.
If plan to come along on the 18th please send Andy a quick email. This will help us plan things for the big night.
It is worth letting you know about what happens at the Planning Committee meeting itself. East Hagbourne Parish Council is granted 5 minutes to address the Committee. So is our local district Councilor, Jane Murphy. All other objectors are granted a total of 5 minutes in total.
We know that many people have received an invitation from SODC inviting to speak at the meeting. The letter is at best a little light on detail and at worst misleading. For example, it fails to mention this 5-minute limit or that speakers are cut off after the 5 minutes has elapsed.
Our strategy is to work with EHPC and Jane to use the full 15 minutes most effectively to present our case. Not least as the Planning Committee can only accept “sound planning reasons” which inevitably means the debate needs to be somewhat technical.
As a result we humbly propose that Mind The Green Gap is nominated to speak on behalf of all objecting residents. Obviously, if there are particularly planning points you wish us to convey then tell us and we will build them into the presentation. We hope you agree that this is for the best.
Let’s take over the Civic Hall on 18th May and save the Green Gap.
Reasons to Refuse
The Campaign will write to each member of the Planning Committee in the week preceding the meeting. We'll set out clear and unequivocal reasons why Grainger's application should be refused.
Our documents and a short introductory film are on the Refuse page of the site.
Grainger has resubmitted its plans to SODC. SODC has re-openned the consultation.
Following pressure SODC has extended the deadline for submission to Monday February 15th 2016.
- Grainger’s revised documentation is are in the two folders dated 2016-01-15 here.
- You can comment on Grainger's proposal here.
- You can see the Campaign's objection letter here.
Grainger has reacted to comments made by SODC and OCC officers.
- The access road layout has been changed. Its new bollards, widened splays and signage will significantly urbanise New Road and require additional trees to be removed.
- The addition of a new loop road on the South of the estate is designed specifically for access to and from Nurton’s development.
- Grainger has moved open space from one side of the development to the other. They still plan for 170 houses at the same high density.
- The creation of a ‘green corridor’ to the North is presented as an new asset. It is not. An open access amenity already exists.
- Oxfordshire County Council has confirmed that bus subsidies will be cut. There may, therefore, be no busses stopping at either of the two bus stops they propose.
- Grainger have made no effort to consult with the community about these changes.
- If you don’t think the new plans address your original concerns, object again. State that the new plans do not address your original objections so they still stand.
- You could do number 1 and also get 'into the weeds’ of the revised proposal. This is what we’ve done. So you may find one or two pointers in our objection.
- You could object for the first time. (Where have you been?!). If you want to ensure your objection carries the most weigh possible, please feel free to mail us or look at the previous guidance notes below.
South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) will decide if Grainger can build their estate. It is vital that you take part in their consultation. Please do so as soon as possible.
The deadline for objections was officially 6th November. However, for the time being it appears comments are still admissible.
By Post – Write to Cathie Scotting, SODC, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, OX14 4SB. Quote reference P15/S3228/O
Online – click on the 'Comment Now' button on SODC's site. (Please note that the web form used to comment will time out after a few minutes, and it will not save what you have written. It is a good idea to write your objection first. Then either cut-and-paste what you have written into the web form or upload it as a file.)
All comments are made public after a day or so on SODC's site. SODC have moved the comments made during August's EIA consultation to this site. This is helpful, but you are advised to comment again to ensure that your views cannot be ignored. Please see below for how you might build on what you said previously.
Tips and pointers - be sure to be heard
You will no doubt have your own views on the proposal. Those views are absolutely valid. However, to make sure they count in the process they must be directly related to planning policies. To help you, here are some pointers.
If we haven’t mentioned a concern that you have, get in touch and we’ll review the policy for you. If you would like us to have a look at your objection before you send it please email a draft to [email protected].
Remember, the council can only take note of those objections that make clear planning arguments.
- Worried about this scheme not being appropriate for the area? Explain why! There is a fundamental policy reason for this - the site is “unplanned” and not allocated for development in SODC’s plan. Make sure you say that the application conflicts with SODC Policy CSS1.
- Worried that it doesn’t deliver sufficient economic, social or environmental benefits? Explain why! This would make the development unsustainable. Make sure you say that the application conflicts with SODC Policy CS1.
- Worried about the impact on the landscape? Explain why! SODC has policies in place to protect the district’s countryside from adverse developments. Make sure you say the application conflicts with SODC Policy CSEN1 and G2 & G4 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan.
- Worried about Traffic and Road Safety? Explain why! You might have concerns about the volume of traffic and road safety issues. You may think that too many new car trips will be generated because of a lack of other options. Make sure you say the application conflicts with SODC Policy CSM1, CSM2 and T1 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan.
- Worried about urbanisation and the merging of Didcot and East Hagbourne? Explain why! This is also called coalescence. SODC has policies to protect distinctive settlement types and their character and not to damage the attractive landscape setting of the district. Make sure you say the application conflicts with Policy D1(vi) & C4 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan.
- Worried about flooding? Explain why and be specific! For example, the Applicant and SODC underestimate the problem of water ‘run off’. As it stands, Grainger only has to avoid creating more ‘run off’ than at present. Make sure you quote NPPF paragraph 100.
- Worried about light pollution created by a development of 170 houses? Explain why! Light pollution is orange glow around urban areas, glare, and the spilling of light beyond the boundary of properties. The effect is to create an impression of an urban area. Make sure you say the application conflicts with Policy EP3 of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan.
- Worried about the impact on East Hagbourne? Explain why! In the Plan, small villages are permitted to have small infill sites of up to 10 houses. Make sure you say the application conflicts with SODC Policy CSS1 and CSR1.
- Worried about pressure on schools and other local services? Explain why! Grainger will try to relieve the pressure by making what are called S106 and CIL payments. If you are concerned make sure you say the application conflicts with SODC Policy CSI1.
Be aware that Grainger has invested in creating a series of documents designed to refute any and all of the above. So be specific and take issue with their reports if you can.
See below for links to the reports and the policies mentioned above.
Please note that the council will not consider objections based on Grainger’s motives or the profit that they may make. They will also disregard concerns about possible future development of the site and the effect on the value of neighbouring properties.
- Grainger's Plans on SODC's site.
- A summary of SODC's Policies from Core Strategy 2012. This is an extract from the below document.
- SODC's Core Strategy 2012.
- South Oxfordshire Local Plan. This plan is superseded by the above, but some of its policies carry through and are still relevant.
- National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This guidance forms the basis for planning policy for local authorities.
Write to your local Councillor
In addition to Objecting via SODC's consultation you may want to write to your local councillors. In plain English and your own words let our local politicians know what you think.
Local SODC's councillors are:
There is a comprehensive list of all local councillors here.
Write to your local MP
You may want to cc our local MP so that he is kept abreast of the situation.
MP for Wantage
Ed Vaizey MP Office,
Vale and Downland Museum,
Wantage OX12 8BL