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.

A NEW DOCTORS’ SURGERY

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).

INCREASING PRIMARY SCHOOL CAPACITY

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.

A NEW CAR PARK AND INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT

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.