Hanborough Action Group Update 2 – 14 September 2014

Welcome back!

This is Update 2 from the ‘Hands Off Hanborough’ campaign and is published by the Hanborough Action Group (HAG). If you missed it Update 1 can be found here.

The ‘Hands Off Hanborough’ campaign is coordinated by the Hanborough Action Group (HAG). composed of 16 people who are all residents of Hanborough. Our aim is to counter the planning proposals, should they be progressed in the scale and locations currently suggested, and to get the best possible outcome for the village rather than the developers and landowners who have submitted these proposals.

Current Planning Applications

Western End of the A4095 – Pye / Blenheim Palace Estates

IMPORTANT AND URGENT– Write a letter to the Council (details about who to write to below). If you attended the Pye Homes presentation at the Pavilion and completed a response or sent a postcard to Pye afterwards this does not count as an objection. The West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) Planning Committee needs to receive a letter or email from you for your views to be counted. 

Though the much larger plan for 362 dwellingsto the west of Long Hanborough has been scaled down, it is highly likely that this is not a permanent or even a long term position. The strategy to split the original plan into two may fool residents into thinking that Pye / Blenheim Palace Estates have listened to your objections. It also provides Pye / Blenheim Palace Estates with the opportunity to avoid some of the planning requirements that may apply if all the new houses proposed were considered together. For example, an Environmental Impact Assessment can be avoided if the scale of housing falls below the threshold for that requirement, which it does with the revised and smaller scale plan just submitted. The revised proposal is for up to 169 dwellings on land south of the A4095. The closing date for consultation for this application has been set for 2 October 2014. Details of the application are available on the WODC website (Planning Application No 14/1234/P/OP).

A major factor in the proposals brought forward by Pye on behalf of Blenheim Palace, is that the profits they make will go directly towards the upkeep of Blenheim Palace. Our first concern however, has to be the sustainability of our village and its community, and not the maintenance requirements or failings of a privately owned multimillion pound residence, even with the designation as a World Heritage Site; a status that Blenheim actively sought to enhance their marketability.

A note about the affordable homes plan within the Pye proposal
We are dismayed that although 49% of the housing is designated as ‘affordable’ this does not mean that it is going to be affordable for local people, or be the type of housing that local people are interested in. The 49% designation will be comprised of shared ownership (which we understand is not an attractive or desirable option to many) and rental properties. From the information we have received, it does not appear that there will be an opportunity for local people to buy a reasonably priced home without being tied into a shared ownership scheme. There is nothing in the planning application to indicate exactly how ‘affordable’ these new houses will be, or to how and to whom they will be allocated.

Church Road – Savills / Corpus Christie College
An outline planning application was submitted on 27 July 2014 to West Oxfordshire District Council for up to 68 dwellings on the east side of Church Road. The consultation window closed on 28 August 2014. Thank you all for the overwhelming number of letters and emails that were submitted to the Council, the vast majority of which were strongly against the proposal. HAG also submitted their own 60 page response. We now have the date when the Planning Committee will meet to debate and probably approve or reject the proposal. It’s Monday 6 October. The meeting starts at 2:00 p.m. in Committee Room 1 of the WODC offices at Wood Green, Witney. All members of the public are invited to attend to hear what the Councillors will have to say and what they will do.


Most importantly, WRITE A LETTER to WODC’s Hannah Wiseman to let her know your views. This will help to prevent WODC and the Developers deciding on the future of our village without your input. See the letter writing details below on how to make your letter count as much as possible. A slightly fuller letter writing guide can be found hereYou must write by the closing date of 2nd of October.

Who should I write to regarding the Pye/Blenheim proposal?

By email to:   hannah.wiseman@westoxon.gov.uk

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

 Don’t forget – You should add your name, address and quote planning reference
“14/1234/P/OP – Land South of Witney Road, Long Hanborough”

Letters to the Council that will have the most impact

In deciding whether to refuse or approve a planning application the Council are legally obliged to take note of residents views, and the amount of opinion generated.

What the Council can consider includes:

  • Increased pressure on our schools, medical services, and voluntary groups
  • Traffic problems, car parking and fumes
  • Loss of green space
  • Loss of community value
  • Undue loss of privacy or overlooking
  • Loss of sunlight or daylight
  • Effect on trees and other vegetation
  • Loss of access to any potentially important historical relics
  • Noise
  • Effects on wildlife and their natural habitat, especially regarding species in danger
  • Excessive height or size of buildings
  • Inappropriate design or layout
  • Poor landscaping, screening, or means of enclosure
  • Unacceptable or inappropriate use

The following are examples of concerns which the Council cannot consider:

  • Loss of value to your own home
  • Inconvenience or other problems caused by building works
  • Opposition to business competition

If there are others in your household who agree with your views then please ask them ALL to write to the Council as all your letters are counted, and all your views are taken into consideration. The more people that write in, the more seriously the views of villagers will be taken into consideration when deciding on the planning application.

Write from the heart, it doesn’t make your letter any less valid. Just write down your concerns or issues as you would if you had the opportunity to talk to a Councillor face to face.

What else can I do?

  • We have no professional planners on the HAG Committee. If you, or any one you know, has professional planning expertise can offer this service to us on a voluntary basis you or they would be most welcome to join us.
  • If you know of people in your vicinity who are not on our email list, or don’t use the internet, please help to spread the message by printing this off and giving them a copy. Display ‘Beautiful? We think so! Sign in your window. If you want a ‘Not In Their Back Yard’ sign in your garden please contact getintouch@handsoffhanborough.co.uk
  • Make a small contribution to support the campaign. Everything you donate and everything we spend will be independently audited and fully published on our website.

How do I donate to help the campaign?

  • Electronic Transfer to:

Hanborough Action Group
Account Number 17840768
Sort Code 30-96-26

  • Cheques:

Made payable to ‘Hanborough Action Group’. Hand deliver or post to 1c Millwood Vale, Long Hanborough OX29 8DF

  • PayPal:

See the link on the top right of this page.

Thank you Hanborough Action Group


The following channels are open for residents, interested parties and the media to communicate with HAG.

  • This website: Hands Off Hanborough.
  • A Facebook Group: ‘Protect Hanborough Villages’, where you can read announcements and take part in discussions. This is a closed group so you need to request to join it if you have not already done so. To date over 400 people have joined.
  • An email forum, hag-discuss@googlegroups.com, which enables discussions of matters relating to the Hands Off Hanborough campaign, as well as sharing ideas and gathering important and useful feedback.
  • A general contact email getintouch@handsoffhanborough.co.uk. If you know of residents who wish to join the hag-discuss email group, they can do so by emailing their name, address and phone number to this address.
  • Regular ‘Hands Off Hanborough’ Updates which are published online and sent to everyone on our email database.

HAG communication with Hanborough Parish Council

This is ongoing and developing, as together we can be stronger and more effective in resisting the urbanisation of Hanborough.

HAG communication with our District Councillors

Both Toby Morris and Colin Dingwall have been supportive and helpful to our campaign.

HAG communication with our local Member of Parliament

Many villagers have written to Mr. Cameron, but in each case only a standard reply has been received. We realise that he is not an ‘ordinary’ MP and has many pressing issues to attend to, but we note that the Witney Conservative Association has a number of staff that could respond to our concerns and provide more substantive replies.

HAG communication with the media

We have given and will continue to give radio and press interviews to local media outlets, including BBC, Oxford Times and Mail, Witney Gazette and Jack FM.