To be or not to be (in Chalgrove)…

I’m not naturally a “village” person; I’ve usually preferred to be in an urban environment, and yet Chalgrove has been my home for more than 19 years. I came here with my partner when we were looking to buy our first house. At the time he was working near Heathrow so needed to be near the M40. I wanted to live in Thame but he wanted to live in a village so we compromised! I agreed to live in a village as long as it had at least one shop. Chalgrove has 6: two general stores, a newsagent, a florist, a chemist and a Post Office.

 
So we moved here and here we have stayed! We were married in the local church and our children have attended the local playgroup and nursery school. Our youngest child is now at Chalgrove Primary School and our other child attends Icknield Community College. We live in a very ordinary house (not one of the pretty thatched cottages) but it is our home and we feel part of the community. Chalgrove is a living, breathing village with a range of activities and groups. It has a strong history but it is not a fossilised place. There is continual change but at an appropriate pace. When it was first announced that Chalgrove had been allocated a number of houses by SODC to be built over the next few years, it seemed in proportion with the rest of the village. Even when the number was increased from 82 to 200 that was still only 10% of the current size and so seemed manageable.

 
However, now we are faced with the prospect of 3,000 houses being built on our doorstep. If the Chalgrove Airfield development goes ahead Chalgrove would double in size. It would no longer be a village but would become a town and all the things that give it a “personality” would be lost. The new development would swamp the existing one and many of the village’s facilities would have to moved or even be lost. For example, the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group have already stated that they would not support two doctor’s surgeries so the Brook Surgery would close and a different one would open on the development.

 
I want to be in Chalgrove and see it continue to grow and change but this must be in proportion to the existing village. I do not want to be part of a huge development that has no heart or soul.