SHIELD Update 21st July 2020

Following on from our latest newsletter we wanted to give you an update on what we are currently working on.

Firstly, we are focusing on the Examination in Public of SODC’s draft Local Plan, which has already started. The Examination in Public is being conducted online via Microsoft Teams, so everything is remote currently. The format is quite conversational, but you have to know your subject really well – and that is what we are working on now. We have submitted formal representations in respect of the Spatial Strategy, Sustainable Transport, and Climate Change, plus of course the Strategic Site of Chalgrove Airfield. The timetable for the EiP is available on the SODC website, and the sessions can be seen live on the SODC YouTube Channel ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3M8_wOZlNY ). We’ve been watching some of the activity so far, and we are encouraged that the Inspector is taking our submissions seriously, along with the general concerns about the Local Plan itself.

For Chalgrove, the most important date is July 28th – that is the day when the Airfield will be discussed. It was scheduled for half a day, but with the concerns over the site it has been changed to a full day – and we are encouraged by this as it gives us plenty of time to state our case. Clearly the Inspector has concerns about this site otherwise the schedule would not have changed. SHIELD will be speaking, along with Chalgrove Parish Council, representatives of some of our neighbouring Parish Councils, our District Councillor, other local residents and interested parties, plus developers representing other sites, along with SODC and Homes England. The most important contributor, however, will be the legal representative from Martin-Baker, who will make the case for them needing to be able to use the entire airfield for their business.

As far as a decision on the Local Plan is concerned, it is very likely that we will not get a full response from the Inspector until towards the end of this year, but we are hopeful that we will get an indication of any main modifications required. We very much hope that these modifications will include the removal of the Airfield from the Local Plan – and we will keep you posted.

Secondly, we are working on the outline planning application recently submitted by Homes England in respect of Chalgrove airfield. Initially, SODC allocated three weeks for responses, giving us the same time to review the documentation as if you wanted to build a new garage on your property. Obviously this was going to be very difficult given the amount of documents that are in the application, but common sense has finally prevailed after a lot of requests from Parish Councils and District Councillors, and the result is that we now have an extension to 1st September. This is really good news, for two reasons – firstly because we can actually take more time over these documents to do a better job of responding to them, and secondly, because we can concentrate on the draft local plan Examination in Public.

It remains critical that everyone who can respond to the planning application does so. We will be adding to our website over the next few weeks with ideas for you, but the key points remain – keep it factual rather than emotional; make sure you use as much detail as possible, and make sure it gets to SODC before 1st of September.

Remember – if you have already objected in the past, those objections are still relevant, but previously they were submitted to SODC in regard to the Local Plan – this is a completely separate matter, so you really need to object again, and you can use those previous objections again; there is very little in the Application that is different to the Local Plan. If you do have time, have a look at the planning application, try not to be daunted by the sheer volume of documents, and pick something at random to review. We’ll be reviewing them all as well, and will share what we find.

If you have any questions please email us at contactus@chalgroveshield.org.uk