I have lived in Chalgrove for nearly 22 years and feel very strongly that the proposed development by the HCA of Chalgrove airfield should not be allowed to go ahead.
I have two children (aged 10 and 14) and they have loved growing up here. I have been involved in many things in the village over the years and both of my girls have been to our village school. We feel safe here and it has been the perfect place to bring up my family. We haven’t needed endless facilities on our doorstep; we’ve been very happy to travel short distances to anything we’ve needed, and everything we need is provided in our local area.
Chalgrove is a very special place to live. It is a very welcoming and caring village and there is a very strong sense of community here. Whilst I fully appreciate and accept that additional housing is needed, I do not believe that the airfield is the right place for the development being proposed by the HCA. I consider there to be far more suitable sites available that will service the housing needs of Oxford much more effectively. I have a number of concerns about the proposed development, not least the issues of flooding in Chalgrove and the additional traffic that will be generated on our already over stretched country roads and surrounding areas. The potential impact of both of these issues cannot to be underestimated.
There is no doubt in my mind that if this development goes ahead the life we know and love in Chalgrove will be destroyed. The high street in Chalgrove is very much the heart of our village. To think of losing the facilities we have to the New Town is just heart breaking. I have always supported our local shops and post office and to lose them would be devastating. Many may call me old fashioned and can’t understand why I wouldn’t want a supermarket, shops and cafes on my doorstep! Put simply, I love the village the way it is. If I wanted to live in a town I would have bought a house in a town. But I don’t.
I have been accused of being a ‘Nimby’ (Not In My Back Yard) but nothing could be further from the truth. It is an easy accusation to make and in my view incredibly unfair. Chalgrove and our surrounding villages have been working extremely hard over the last few years on individual Neighbourhood Development Plans. These plans have been put together by wonderful volunteers who are happy to give up an enormous amount of their own time to help address the housing shortage faced by our region. We have been allocated 200 houses by the local authority and extensive work and research has been done to establish the best sites in Chalgrove to accommodate this number of houses. In fact planning permission applications have been submitted already for 320 houses in Chalgrove.
The number of houses proposed for the airfield is totally disproportionate to the size of our village and unprecedented. It would mean our village growing to three times its current size over a relatively short period of time. I very much feel that our village and rural life should be protected whilst being balanced with reasonable sustainable growth.