FINAL SODC Consultation Period

Last week South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) endorsed their draft Local Plan which includes the proposal to build 3,000 houses on Chalgrove Airfield. This signals the start of the process moving to an Examination in Public (often referred to as a ‘Public Enquiry’) in the first half of 2018.

SODC will publish their Final Draft Local Plan on 11th October and this Plan will be virtually identical to earlier proposals and will include the flawed proposed New Town in Chalgrove, alongside large sites in Culham and Berinsfield.

We can all respond to the final consultation stage. As ALL responses at this stage in the process will be shared with the Inspector appointed to consider the Plan, it is the most important stage and it is critical that we all individually respond during the 6-week period from 11th October. The timeline from now is expected to be as follows:

  • 11th October: Publication of final draft Local Plan;
  • SHIELD will hold drop in sessions on 4th & 5th November to help responses;
  • October & November: Meetings across Oxfordshire hosted by SODC;
  • 22nd November: Close of the consultation and deadline for our responses;
  • December: SODC will submit proposals to Government;
  • Spring/Summer 2018: Independent Inspector will hold an Examination in Public and come to a decision regarding the Plan including the proposed New Towns.

Please be ready to write your letters during October and November. This is a critical stage in demonstrating the undeliverable and unsound nature of the Council’s plans.

This process follows a series of Council meetings that have taken place over the last 3 weeks. SHIELD has attended and spoken at these meetings and the arguments we presented included:

  • Questioning the selection of the site on the grounds of sustainability, infrastructure, transport, traffic and flooding
  • Questioning the deliverability of the site, given that Martin Baker (current lease holders on the site) have not reached any agreement with the HCA to date.

The Council’s involvement in the process has hence almost concluded. SHIELD is preparing to have a presence at the 2018 Examination in Public and still believe that we have a strong set of arguments to present. We will work with our Planning and Legal advisers to ensure that the unsound and non-compliant parts of the current plan are highlighted.

SHIELD will be holding drop in sessions at the Chalgrove Village hall where we will be on hand to help answer any questions you have, help you in your response to the plan and be available to help you through the process.

  • Saturday 4th November – 10:00 to 16:00
  • Sunday 5th November – 10:00 to 14:00

There are also a number of SODC drop in sessions around the area, detailed below:

  • Sat 14 October, 10am to 2pm – Wallingford St Marys Church
  • Thurs 19 October, 4pm to 8pm – Culham Primary School
  • Sat 21 October, 10am to 2pm – Henley Town Hall – Council Chamber
  • Mon 23 October, 4pm to 8pm – Chalgrove Village Hall
  • Tues 31 October, 3pm to 7pm – Didcot Cornerstone
  • Tues 7 November, 3pm to 7pm – Berinsfield Church Hall
  • Thurs 9 November, 3pm to 7pm – Wheatley, The Merry Bells Village Hall
  • Mon 13 November, 3pm to 7pm – Thame Town Hall
  • Fri 17 November, 3pm to 7pm – Chalgrove Village Hall

We will provide a further email update in 2-3 weeks and welcome the continued support of local people which can be best provided by:

  • Responding to the October/November consultation;
  • Encouraging friends and neighbours to respond to the consultation;
  • Considering providing financial support to our campaign which is now drawing upon significant legal and planning advice from well-respected professionals.

REMEMBER, this is NOT a done deal and now is the time to rally together to submit all our responses on the proposed plans.