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Local Plan matters September/October 2015

Response to Local Plan: next steps

As reported last month, the district council’s Local Plan for the whole of the Vale of White Horse area is currently being considered by an Independent Inspector. His report is unlikely to be available before the middle to next year (2016).

The big issues for Radley are whether the Local Plan proposals for the 4 sites shown in the map below are confirmed: namely, the 3 ‘strategic’ sites allocated for large-scale housing development in South Kennington, NW Radley and North Abingdon; and the 9.5 hectare site in South Radley which is proposed for removal from the Green Belt, opening it up for development in the future.  The Parish Council considers that these proposals are excessive, and we will continue to take every opportunity available to present our views forcefully to the Inspector. 

Proposals map

While we wait for the Inspector’s report, the parish has an opportunity to take the initiative in developing community consensus for the best options for the village if major development does go ahead, and incorporating these in a Radley Neighbourhood Plan.  The relationship between Local Plans prepared at district council level and Neighbourhood Plans prepared at parish level is explained in a note on the Parish Council website. In essence, while the Neighbourhood Plan cannot over-ride proposals in the Local Plan, it can have a real influence on where development takes place, and on matters such as design and layout, housing tenure and size mix, the provision and siting of community buildings and open space, and priorities for transport and other infrastructure.

To kick off the process, the Parish Council’s Neighbourhood Plan Group will be focussing attention on:

  1. The shape of the central part of the village, and the needs and siting of community buildings and open spaces, including the primary school, the village hall, the community shop and a possible health centre;
  2. The requirements of parishioners neighbouring the South Kennington site in relation to plans for that area;
  • The special circumstances and opportunities for development in the south west part of the parish around Thrupp Lane;
  1. Housing design, density, and tenure and size mix, to apply across the parish;
  2. Infrastructure priorities across the parish including road and other transport provision, sewerage and flood prevention.

A meeting will be held in the Church Room on Wednesday 21 October to consider how best to take these issues forward.  Anyone interested in helping with the work is warmly invited to attend.

Radley College Masterplan proposals deferred

So where does the Radley College Masterplan fit in? Most readers will be aware of the College’s plans to develop a new school, village hall and green, shop and recreational facilities in the area behind the Church and primary school, along with the development of new housing east of White’s Lane and at Gooseacre.

The College have decided to defer these proposals.  In the immediate future, they will focus instead on plans to develop 240 houses on the North West Radley site identified in the Local Plan. They are looking again at options to support the enlargement of the primary school, which remains high on their agenda.

Our understanding is that Radley College’s current position follows recent advice from Vale planners. The area to the north of Church Road is not proposed for removal from the Green Belt, and development there is particularly controversial for that reason. Consequently, the College would prefer to discuss options with the village, including through the Neighbourhood Plan process, but only once there is certainty on the status of the Local Plan after Inspection.

Public meetings in the Village Hall: 21 and 25 October. CANCELLEDThe purpose of these meetings was to explore issues and views around the College’s proposals to provide new community facilities and a village centre to the north of Church Road, close to the Church and primary school. We have cancelled the meetings in the light of the College’s current position.  However, there will instead be a meeting in the Church Room on Wednesday 21 October at 7.00 pm to develop thinking on the Neighbourhood Plan – see above.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/local-plan-matters-septemberoctober-2015-2/