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Why the Group has been formed [show details]
Planning rules have changed in the last few years
Planning rules are governed by the National Planning Policy Framework – written by the Government. It states that each area should have a local plan and if there isn’t a local plan in place that all development should be approved until housing targets are met.
The current housing target for the Vale was defined in 2007/2008
This was before the recession and assumed that 16,000 jobs would be created in the Science Vale (Harwell, Milton Park and Culham) by 2016. The District Council together with the other Oxfordshire authorities are about to commission a new Strategic Housing Market Assessment to assess the whole housing market area and can’t finalise the local plan until this is complete. We are however told by Councillors that the figures won't change much.
The main comments from any Councillor are:
The National Planning Policy Framework says that it wants to achieve sustainable development and that there should be a presumption in favour of sustainable development. It says that “planning must be a creative exercise in finding ways to enhance and improve the places in which we live our lives”.
Minimise journey lengths
The NPPF talks about “improving the conditions in which people live, work, travel and take leisure” and “moving to a low carbon future” linking work places and homes with cycle ways, public transport and footpaths. 10 miles to Harwell or Milton park is a long way to walk and there will not be sufficient public transport.
“Planning policies should aim for a balance of land uses within their area so that people can be encouraged to minimise journey lengths for employment, shopping, leisure, education and other activities.”
The Local Plan proposes 5,500 new homes in Wantage and Grove, with jobs in the Science Vale at Milton Park and Harwell and schools available by 2029.
In theory, there will be schools and shops and leisure facilities when the Airfield is built but the Developers haven’t even applied for planning permission yet so this could be years away but the District Council keep on approving housing applications without the infrastructure being available.
They argue that Schools, Roads and National Health services are the responsibility of the County and nothing to do with them and that Thames Water is responsible for drainage.
They are abdicating responsibility for sustainability and approving uncontrolled development. This has to be stopped. Without infrastructure there should be no more houses.
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