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Parish Council verbal submission to Examination in Public hearing - February 2019

Transcript of verbal submission made at “Examination in Public” hearing of CDC Local Plan 20112031 (Part 1) Partial Review – Oxford’s Unmet need 
Sir, my name is Fred Jones, Chairman of Yarnton Parish Council. Last week we heard very balanced views from those in favour and those against the proposals. Many of those views were based on rules, regulations and calculations. On behalf of the council and our residents I would like to express our very real concerns regarding proposals for sites PR8 and PR9. 
Very sincerely we trust that the Oxford City calculated shortfall includes all those on their waiting list for social housing and those identified as genuine rough sleepers. 
Yarnton Parish Council very strongly opposes the use of the green belt to meet the needs of Oxford City Council. Yarnton Parish Council fully supports our neighbouring Parish Councils and other organisation’s submissions, that indicate Cherwell District Council’s reasons for building on the green belt land do not fulfill the exceptional circumstances required. We invite you Sir to reject CDCs proposal to build on designated green belt land, in particular at sites PR8 and PR9. 
Disclosure that 1000 of the proposed new dwellings at PR8 are to be held in perpetuity for Oxford University personnel begs the question who has the shortfall, the University or Oxford City Council. Oxford University's known international trawl for personnel could suggest an inflated assessment of the real shortfall figure, calculated by Oxford City Council for the benefit of not only Oxford University but also the Councils own wider agenda. There has already been considerable discussion regarding the validity of the formulae used to calculate Oxford City Councils housing needs and I would  urge the Inspector to give due consideration to the content of the independent assessment recently submitted by Cherwell Development Watch Alliance. If nothing else, the shortfall figure should display credibility by its accuracy. 
The proposed decimation of the Yarnton/Begbroke green belt areas by 50% and the subsequent, coalescence of our two villages can only significantly contribute to the destruction of the rural aspects of our two villages and close proximity to Kidlington. Policy ESD 14 of Cherwell s existing Local Plan (2015) seeks to: Preserve the special character and landscape of Oxford. Check the growth of Oxford and prevent ribbon development and urban sprawl. Prevent the coalescence of settlements.  and Assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. Yarnton Parish C would consider  that these housing development proposals directly contradict these four principals. Yarnton Parish Council seeks assurance that should development in the Green Belt be permitted then only significantly lower scale housing numbers designed to complement garden village style and with associated infrastructure allowed. The “Exceptional Circumstances” claimed in the proposal do little more than support flimsy justification by both Oxford University and Oxford City Council both of which have little or no allegiance to our two villages. 
There are serious concerns regarding the increased air pollution for our existing residents as a direct result of sites PR8 and PR9 proposals, caused by the additional traffic. This will of course be exacerbated by construction of the proposed Park and Ride at Langford Lane and additional traffic from site PR10 at Woodstock. We have previously heard from representatives of Exeter College that PR10 is not a preferred site, particularly bearing in mind that there are other suitable sites nearer to the centre of Oxford. With a worldwide drive to reduce air pollution why would site PR10 be considered suitable, without necessity. Development of the driverless car at Begbroke Science Park with some of the environmental benefits it may bring, why would it be appropriate to surround that development with considerably increased air pollution. 
Yarnton in particular has a long history of a high water table and flooding in residential streets and some homes. Close proximity to both Frogwelldown and Spring Hill ( The clue is in the names ) two areas close to site PR9 give considerable concern. In recent years councillors have assisted residents late at night baling out floodwater from their homes, flooding caused by surface water from behind 
Yarnton Surgery, Yarnton Nursing Home and in Cassington Road. Some residents in Aysgarth Road directly opposite Yarnton Surgery have installed floodwater barriers and one resident has had to reconfigure their boundary wall to stop water entering their home via the front gate. Flooding in Yarnton is a very real concern with our “Emergency Plans” predominantly addressing “flooding issues”.  Developers of the 168 dwellings at the Pixey Close/Cresswell Close estate off of Cassington Road at the planning stage acknowledged the flooding issue and “surface water holding lagoons” were installed at the building stage. These lagoons are invariably holding water. Proposed development of site PR9 is considerably closer to the source of water run off from Spring Hill and Frogwelldown than dwellings off the Cassington Road. In recent weeks, Yarnton Parish Council has received enquiries from Snap Dragon Consulting acting on behalf Merton College. The council has provided details of flooding in Yarnton together with photographic evidence. Merton College obviously acknowledge there is a flooding issue and I would ask you Sir to  take note, also. 
Yarnton Parish Council has received numerous comments from residents regarding the likely considerable additional traffic at peak times Oxford bound, generated by the proposed developments. Currently, traffic on the A44 approaching the Cassington Road roundabout will join a queue often as far back as the Rutten Lane roundabout. The consequence being that traffic leaving Yarnton village via Rutten Lane, Sandy Lane and Cassington Road will be unable to enter the roundabouts regardless of the direction in which they need to travel. The Cassington Road roundabout is a well known Oxford bound traffic pinch point only a short distance from both a railway bridge and a canal bridge. There is insufficient width for the proposed bus route to continue and nowhere in the proposal is there any indication as to how this section of road is to be managed to accommodate the additional traffic. Should it be found necessary to build any dwellings at proposed sites PR8 and PR9 Yarnton Parish Council would strongly oppose the proposal to close Sandy Lane to through motorised traffic to Kidlington.  This is totally absurd, cutting off village residents  from a neighbouring community that  provides access to  GPs surgeries, Churches of different denominations, Banks, and Shopping outlets. Any such closure would force Kidlington bound traffic to use Langford Lane or join traffic heading toward the pinch point at Cassington Road roundabout. All of which is totally unnecessary, to provide a footpath/cycle path for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users. Very laudable in intent, except  Green Lane/ Yarnton Lane leading to Yarnton canal bridge already exists. This route is currently used by pedestrians and is already tarmacked from the A44 to the Yarnton level crossing. Upgrade of the section from the level crossing to Yarnton bridge would complete the required pathways, allso discouraging the use of this section being used as a target for “fly tipping” which is the current case. Yarnton PC would suggest that Cherwell District Council Plans should proactively demonstrate consideration of their own electorate needs  and for their needs not to be ignored for the benefit of others. We have only heard today at this meeting that Network Rail is also in consultation with a proposal to also shut the level crossing at Yarnton. This will effectively stop occupants living east of the crossing leaving their homes using a motor vehicle. Yarnton Parish Council has had no communication from Network Rail regarding this possibility. I would urge you Sir to instruct that any final decision regarding the proposal to shut both level crossings should only be taken after full discussion with Yarnton and Begbroke Parish Councils. To date, the views of Yarnton residents appear to have been overlooked in favour of the proposed development. Whilst the housing may be for the benefit of Oxford University and Oxford City Council, why should; The closure of Sandy Lane to through traffic culminating in the potential isolation of both Yarnton and Begbroke elderly residents. Increased air pollution to existing Yarnton and Begbroke residents. Unnecessary development of site PR10. The very serious prospect of increased flooding in Yarnton. Certain  increased traffic congestion at the Cassington Road roundabout. The decimation of the Yarnton/Begbroke Green Belt without need. Failure on the part of both Oxford City Council and Cherwell District Council to show any benefit to existing Yarnton and Begbroke residents. 


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