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 email@example.com
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