Cherwell Local Plan 2011-2031 (Part 1) partial Review Oxford's Unmet Housing Need

Further progress in addressing the implication of the above proposals has taken place recently at meetings on 28th September and 5th October at which Yarnton Parish Council was represented.  Here is a brief overview of those two meetings;

28th September -  Preliminary Hearing by Government Inspector Mr. Paul Griffiths

The meeting, chaired by Mr. Paul Griffiths, was attended by approximately 120 persons having vested interest in the plan. This included Cherwell DC, Oxford City Council, Oxford CC, Parish Councils, Legal Representatives and other organisations representing public groups. The purpose of the meeting was to address 2 Agenda items identified by Mr. Griffiths as follows:

  1. ‘On the working assumption that Oxford has an unmet need of 15000 homes, is the apportionment of 4400 homes of Oxford's overall unmet need to Cherwell soundly based?’
  2. ‘Assuming the figure of 4400 is soundly based, and bearing in mind paragraph 83 of the (previous version of the) NPPF, can Oxford's unmet housing be an 'exceptional circumstance' that justifies an alteration to the Green Belt boundaries?’

With regard to item 1, there was considerable discussion regarding the accuracy of the figures. Validity of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment calculations of 2014 was brought into question by many speakers with regard to being untested and out of date. With Oxford not due to declare its Local Plan until March 2019, serious doubt was cast as to their real need in terms of numbers. With a new government formula for the calculation of housing needs being introduced in January 2019, it was more appropriate to recalculate the current needs. On behalf of Yarnton PC and residents, concern was expressed regarding the number of dwellings planned in the Yarnton/Begbroke area and the devastating effect it would have on residents and their daily lives. Your PC also voiced the opinion that to go ahead with such a far reaching plan based on suspect figures was not good  practice and to the detriment of our residents. There was a significant consensus of opinion that the apportionment of Oxford's Unmet Housing Need was not soundly based.

With regard to item 2, the vast majority of speakers vigorously opposed the use of the Green Belt and saw the 12 exceptional circumstances listed by CDC as little more than fabrication to justify the proposal. This view was supported by Yarnton PC who pointed out the huge percentage reduction in Green Belt area in the proposal for Yarnton/Begbroke. The exceptional circumstances claimed were identified as not being justified.

The Inspector, Mr. Paul Griffiths, indicated that he hoped to have reached his conclusion at the end of October 2018.

5th October - Meeting hosted by Cherwell District Council

The purpose of this meeting was to prepare work on the production of development briefs for the proposed residential site allocations. Participants included: Site Developer/Promoters, Key Stakeholders, Parish Councils and organisations with a vested interest in the proposals.

Yarnton Parish Council's participation was on the basis that ,whilst being acutely aware of strong local objection to the plan, it was likely to be more productive in the long term, should the plan be approved by the Government Inspector.

Developer's presentations outlined their proposals for all 7 proposed sites, including PR8 Land East of the A44 and PR9 Land West of Yarnton. There were numerous questions from Kidlington, Gosford and Water Eaton Parish Councils, including Yarnton PC who raised issues including: The appearance of the proposed estates should be Garden Village orientated, height of buildings, adequate provision for the management of sewage and surface water and that realigned boundaries of Green Belt should be clearly defined with both meaning and purpose. Yarnton PC representatives, Parish Clerk Lynne Whitley, Councillors Graham Thompson and Fred Jones, had the opportunity to meet with the developers for site PR9 to establish contact details for the future should the need arise.

Yarnton Parish Council


Yarnton History - Sophia Jane Lay, nee Hastings

Take a look in the Stories subsection of Yarnton Village for fascinating images and information about Sophia Jane Lay, who died in August 1972, and who lived at one time at Windmill Hill Farm in Yarnton.  These were sent by her grandson Terry Pearson.



Rogue Trade warning from Thames Valley Police

Today there has been a report of a suspicious male and vehicle in the Yarnton area in Kidlington. This male was driving around in a white truck with equipment in the back handing out leaflets advertising his company. His company is called Oakland's Tree Services and also known as Oakland's Tree Care. The male was recognised by a resident for being on Watchdog. There was a case on him by Watchdog who followed him around and found out he was preying on vulnerable and elderly people by offering his services to them. In the report he had given false advice, over charged by four times the normal amount, not finishing jobs and scamming innocent people for their money. This happened in 2013 however it seems like there is intelligence that he has returned. Please be wary and pass this information on to other neighbours. He matches the same description as a Jason Butcher, he is a 35 year old white male, stocky build, short black hair, no glasses, no facial hair and was wearing jean and a t-shirt. If you see this male please contact police via 101 straight away. 

Hayley Keeping (Police, PCSO, Kidlington)


Pot holes

Over the last 2 or 3 years Yarnton Parish Council has been trying to get the County Council to completely resurface The Garth and Cassington Road in the village. We have recently enlisted Layla Moran's help to see if she can get any further forward than us. Please see below the latest email that she has received from Oxfordshire County Council, which unfortunately looks like we will have to wait a lot longer. I know it's not at all positive but thought I would share the email so you can read the response yourself. The only advice that I can give on behalf of the Parish Council is to continue to post on Fixmystreet any issues that you see ! Lynne Robinson

Dear Mrs. Moran,

I refer to your recent email to Owen Jenkins relating to an enquiry from Yarnton Parish Council regarding the condition of The Garth and Cassington Road Yarnton, which has been forwarded to me as Group Manager for this part of the service.
As I am sure you are aware, many of Oxfordshire’s roads have suffered over the winter months and I am sure the roads mentioned in Yarnton are no exception to this. We are still seeing a significant number of existing pot holes worsening or new ones appearing, with over 6000 currently scheduled for repair. We continue also to see a significant number of defect reports being received from the public. We are however repairing some 4500/5000 per month so hopefully the numbers should begin to reduce.
The Council has to take a prudent view in the way it maintains its highway, and to this end the County Council has an Highway Asset Management Plan that seeks to balance the costly repair of roads that are already in the poorest condition with cheaper resurfacing schemes on roads that are about to fall into disrepair to prevent more costly repairs at a later date. This however still leaves many roads where pot holes are occurring to which the Council needs to react. We are however looking to invest more funding into the worst of these roads using a variety of treatments; the two mentioned are being put forward for inclusion, subject to the funding being available.
In the meantime, the local Highway Inspector has been asked to revisit The Garth and Cassington Road to ensure there are no defects of a hazardous nature. Whilst unfortunately I am not able to provide you with assurance that the condition of roads will significantly improve in the near future, I hope that the above has reassured you that the Council are actively taking steps to try and address this issue.