SHIELD Press Release 3rd October 2017

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Chalgrove Airfield Action Group

Press Release – 3 rd October 2017

SODC Full Council Meeting, Thursday 28th September 2017.

Members of Chalgrove SHIELD attended the full Council meeting held to enable District

Councillors to vote on South Oxfordshire District Council’s Local Plan 2032. The meeting

followed the earlier scrutiny meeting and the Council cabinet meeting.

Several members of the public had registered to speak, including SHIELD, the Chair of

Chalgrove Parish Council (Ann Pritchard), the Chair of Cuxham and Easington Parish Meeting

(Ian Goldsmith); the Chalgrove Ward District Councillor (David Turner), and representatives

from Rofford, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, and the Haseley Brook

Action Group and Save the Green Belt from Culham.

Strong planning-related arguments were raised by all speakers, covering issues such as

sustainability, infrastructure, transport and traffic, flooding and deliverability. In respect of

Chalgrove, deliverability is a real concern; despite owning the freehold of Chalgrove Airfield

for almost a year and a half, the Homes and Community Agency have still not managed to

reach any agreement with the leaseholder, and as such the site is not deliverable. Despite

this, the Council voted down amendments that would have removed Chalgrove and/or

Culham from the Strategic Sites.

An amendment raised by the Leader of SODC, Cllr. John Cotton, was passed. This referred to

changes in Government Policy, which suggest that the total number of homes needed may

have been overestimated by 20% in South Oxfordshire and up to 50% in Oxford City. The

Amendment only allows full council debate if these changes “negatively” impact SODC. If

they positively affect SODC, i.e. require lower numbers of homes; any decision will be made

by Cllr Cotton and his Head of Planning alone, not the full Council. An amendment to this to

allow Council a voice was voted down by the Conservative majority. Cllr. Cotton further

stated that, even if the housing requirement were slashed to levels that meant neither

Chalgrove nor Culham were required, he would still push ahead with the two sites.

The Local Plan was voted through by a significant majority; despite Councillors clearly having

reservations, and in one case describing themselves as “shackled”, they followed the

Conservative whip. SHIELD and the other members of the public who were present were

hopeful that we would have had a meaningful debate, and Councillors would have voted

democratically according to their conscience. However, the whip issued meant that the

Council fell into line behind the Leader of the Council, and the required box was ticked.

The Local Plan will now go forward to an Examination in Public, with a Government

appointed Planning Inspector. We are confident that the Inspector will recognise the many

shortcomings of the sites and the process followed so far, and will rule against their inclusion.

About the Chalgrove Airfield Action Group Following the announcement of Chalgrove Airfield being South Oxfordshire District

Council’s preferred option for a New Town, the Chalgrove Airfield Action Group formed with the primary purpose of

supporting Chalgrove’s response to the consultation. Our mission now is to help Chalgrove and surrounding villages and

hamlets to find sustainable alternatives to excessive local development. We want to ensure that our elderly residents and

children not only have access to affordable homes, but also have somewhere to live that provides a safe environment without

excessive and unnecessary traffic and associated pollution.

For more information please contact press@chalgroveshield.org.uk

chalgroveshield.org.uk press@chalgroveshield.org.uk facebook.com/chalgroveshield

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