Author Archives: Andrew

Annual General Meeting – Monday 13th July, 7:30 pm.

One year on we are holding our first Annual General Meeting at the Long Hanborough pavilion in the Greenway Room.

Everyone is welcome to attend to review the events of the past year and look ahead to what happens next.

Refreshments (tea/coffee/biscuits) will be available.


  • Summary of HAG and its first year
  • What happens next?
  • Accounts
  • Call for new members
  • Nomination of existing HAG committee
  • AOB – Questions/feedback/ideas…

Outline Planning permission granted for Church Road development

On Monday 27th April the WODC Uplands planning sub-committee voted to support the planning officers recommendation and approved the revised application for outline planning permission to build 50 dwellings on land east of Church Road, Long Hanborough. The minutes of the committee meeting can be found here.

The committee voted 6 in favour with 3 abstentions and 1 against approval. 3 councillors were absent and none chose to arrange for a substitute in their absence. Among the absentees was our own local councillor Toby Morris, resident of Witney, though  he did e-mail the Chair of the sub-committee recommending approval of the application.

A(nother) date for your Diaries: Monday 27th April – Uplands Planning sub-committee meeting

It has been confirmed that  the revised application from Corpus Christi/Savills  for development on Church Road (14/1102/P/OP) will be heard at the next Uplands Planning sub-Committee on Monday 27th April.

The Planning Officer is once again recommending to the committee that the development in Church Road should be APPROVED.

Read the planning officers report here.

The meeting will be at:

2 p.m. Monday 27th April, Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Woodgreen, Witney

We broke all records with the attendance on the 2nd March,  demonstrating  how much Hanborough cares about its future. It’s important that we once again have a good turnout if we want the decision makers to understand the strength of feeling.

Update – 28th March 2015

Corpus Christi College Application

The Corpus Christi College application to build 64 new dwellings on Church Road was deferred at the last meeting of the Uplands Planning sub-committee. It has now been confirmed that this application is not on the agenda for the next meeting of the committee (30th March) which means that the earliest this will now be heard is Monday 27th April.

*** Trivia question “How much, to the nearest million, are the assets of the charity “Corpus Christi College” worth?”. Those that were present at the last meeting of the planning sub-committee may recall that the bursar of Corpus Christi College, John Harrison, was asked this question by one of the councillors. He declined to answer, but their last annual return, available on the Charity Commission website, gives some clues(!)***

Blenheim Estate Application

The Blenheim Estate application to build 169 dwellings on the Witney Road  was unanimously refused by the Uplands Planning sub-committee at their meeting on the 2nd of March. However, despite the committee’s decision and the overwhelming demonstration of local support for the decision, Blenheim Estate have refused to rule out an appeal. In their latest press release they state  “Pye Homes and the Blenheim Estate are considering their next steps.“. You can read their full statement here.

Planning sub-committee minutes

The minutes of the Uplands planning sub-committee meeting on the 2nd March 2015 and Appendices are now available.

Action Group – Reaction to Uplands Committee decisions

Villagers call on Blenheim Palace to respect the decision of Councillors and residents

Whilst we are disappointed that West Oxfordshire District Council have voted to defer their decision on the application from Savills, on behalf of Corpus Christi College, to build 64 new homes in the village, Hands Off Hanborough are however, absolutely delighted and very relieved that Councillors voted unanimously to reject the application from Blenheim Palace Estate, submitted on their behalf by Pye Homes property developers, to build a much larger scale development of 169 houses on the edge of the village on the A4095 Witney Road.

‘Spokesperson for Hands Off Hanborough, Andrew Elphick, commented, “Blenheim Palace would be flying in the face of overwhelming public objection and that of our Councillors, should it choose not to respect the decision reached by WODC today to refuse this application.  Any attempt at an appeal would show them to be going against the thoroughly considered judgement of both their neighbours and our elected Councillors that this is “not a suitable location” for development”.

Planning sub-committee - the view from the front.

Planning sub-committee – The view from the front.

Hanborough turn out in force for the planning sub-committee

Hanborough turn out in force for the planning sub-committee


Uplands Planning sub-committee decisions 02/03/15

This afternoon the West Oxfordshire District Council Uplands Area Planning Sub-committee met to decide the future of 2 planning applications that impact on the village of Long Hanborough.

Thank you to all who attended this meeting. c.160 members of the public were in attendance, breaking all previous records(!) and leaving Councillors, planning officers  and the developers in no doubt about the strength of local feeling.

The decisions of the Committee were as follows:

In the case of planning application 14/1102/P/OP the erection of up to 64 dwellings, public open space and ancillary enabling works together with access from Church Road on land to the East of Church Road, Long Hanborough. Submitted by Savills on behalf of Corpus Christi College.

Despite the initial motion to approve the application being defeated, Councillors were unable to agree on the reason for refusal. Following a proposal from the chair (who holds the casting vote), the committee voted to DEFER a decision on this application for one month. 

In the case of planning application 14/1234/P/OP Erection of up to 169 dwellings; with new Doctors’ Surgery, to be up to 740 sq metres in size, with around 27 car parking spaces; with access from the Witney Road, plus open space, and associated works on land South Of Witney Road Long Hanborough. Submitted by Pye Homes on behalf of the Blenheim Estate.

The committee unanimously voted to REJECT this application.

Hanborough Action Group Update 3 – 20 February 2015

Firstly, thank you for all the letters – over 600 and more every day – you have sent to WODC, who now know the strength of opposition to the PYE Homes development.

On Monday 2 March the Planning Committee of WODC will make their decision on the PYE Homes development on the South side of the A4095.

It is really important for as many people as possible to be there – it will show how much Hanborough cares about its future.

If you need a lift to the Council offices please meet at the Pavilion car park at 13:00 today.

Anyone making their own way to the offices may find the following of use: Map of Council offices in Witney. The meeting will be held in building “1” (Woodgreen, Witney, OX28 1NB).

In addition to the issues you have already raised, here are more reasons to reject these proposals:

West Oxfordshire District Council, both in its former and in the forthcoming LOCAL PLAN, has very clearly designated the fields on both sides of the A4095 as unsuitable for development. Nevertheless, PYE Homes Property Developers on behalf of Blenheim Palace Estate ignores this and continues in their determination to develop these fields; a position that disregards the strength of local feeling and the negative consequences of large scale building developments in our locality.

This determination is evident in PYE’s latest flyer, which has limited circulation, despite containing revisions that will have a profound effect on our whole community. You can read the flyer here.


PYE Homes have proposed making the surgery bigger and moving it from the centre to the edge of the village (a 1 mile round trip from its current location). PYE Homes suggest that they have worked on this plan with Eynsham Medical Group, which implies it has their agreement. The doctors are concerned about the impact that this change would have on services particularly for their older and disabled patients. We are concerned that bigger is not necessarily better. A bigger surgery is usually much less personalized, it can be difficult to staff (there are serious national shortages of staff in all health and social care professions) and for many, a more remote location is difficult to access. The housing development would significantly increase the number of patients registered at the surgery and the number of car journeys to and from the surgery on surrounding roads, which raises concerns about increased pollution and safety (there is no path on the South side so patients walking to the surgery would need to cross an increasingly busy A4095). Traffic congestion is already a major concern, not least as the A4095 is a major county artery for the emergency services. A larger and relocated surgery would also offer ‘a green light’ for further large scale housing developments in Hanborough. An outcome desired and planned for by PYE (the North side development is only on the ‘back burner’ and there may be others we have not yet seen).


The plan to achieve this requires significant loss of playground space and the school’s current sports field. The sports field would be re-located some distance from the school, an issue for security and access. There has also been no consideration given to the inevitable increase in traffic in Riely Close. This area is already heavily used by motorists, as this is the access to a new housing estate and has the recycling centre, the post office, a very busy fish and chip shop and the dentists’ surgery in very near vicinity to the school. This is already an ongoing concern for residents, a point that is ignored in the school expansion plan proposed by PYE Homes.


The increased parking space being offered at the station is of no advantage to Hanborough, as it will only encourage people to travel from further afield to the station. A one off ‘gift’ of £181,000 to support public transport is a ‘drop in the ocean’ and is intended in PYE’s own words to support ‘the wider network’. It is therefore highly unlikely to benefit the Hanboroughs directly. Also, what happens when that £181,000 is spent?

Help reject PYE Homes Property Developers plan because it is profit driven, unsustainable, undesirable and will bring no benefits to the residents of the Hanboroughs and Freeland.

A Date for your diaries: 2nd March Uplands Planning Committee

It has been confirmed that  both the Savills application for development on Church Road and the PYE Homes development on the South side of the A4095 will be heard at the next Uplands Planning Committee on Monday 2nd March.

Planning Officers are recommending to the committee that the development in Church Road should be APPROVED, but that the development on the south side of the Witney Road should be REJECTED.

Read the planning officers report here.

However, the decision on whether or not to approve these applications will rest with the WODC Uplands Area Planning sub-committee when they next meet on Monday 2nd March at 2 p.m.

It is really important for as many people as possible to be there – it will show how much Hanborough cares about its future.

Want to know more? Read our latest newsletter.

Last chance to comment *** 19th February ***

The planning application (14/1234/P/OP) from Pye Homes/Blenheim Estate to build 169 dwellings on land South of Witney Road, Long Hanborough has been revised.

West Oxfordshire District Council are inviting comments on the revised proposal to be received by NEXT THURSDAY (19th February).

It looks likely that this application, together with the Corpus Christi/Savills application (14/1102/P/OP) in Church Road, will be discussed at the next Uplands Planning Committee on Monday 2nd March.


Full details of the revised proposal can be found at but in summary, the changes include:

  • Moving the Doctors Surgery to Witney Road on the edge of the south field.
  • Using the allotments below Reilly Close as replacement playing field with covered walkway to enlarged school. Note they mention funding to support this will come from further development.
  • More land for bigger station car park (and of course a more congested A4095)

The West Waddy amended plan document states a lot of assumptions as fact – these need to be challenged, or we risk irrevocable damage being done to our village.

Where to write:

Please remember to include your name, address and the planning application reference on all correspondence.

To express your views on the Pye Homes/Blenheim planning application for the “Erection of up to 169 dwellings…”, planning reference “14/1234/P/OP – Land South of Witney Road, Long Hanborough” write to:

By email to:
By post to:
Hannah Wiseman
West Oxfordshire District Council,
New Yatt Road,
OX28 1PB

Rural Oxfordshire Action Rally (ROAR) – 11:00 Saturday 24th January

This coming Saturday (24th January) the Rural Oxfordshire Action Rally (ROAR) have organised a rally on Witney Green at 11:00. ROAR is a local independent campaign group that is looking to galvanise the residents, parish councils and action groups from across Oxfordshire who are affected by the current indiscriminate drive for large scale development no matter what the cost and impact to our local communities.

Confirmed speakers include Peter Jay, formerly an economics journalist, US ambassador and current chairman of ROAR.


This is a rare opportunity to make our voices heard and demonstrate the importance of this issue to the decision makers. The more people that attend, the more emphatic the message.

For more information about ROAR and the rally see: