Councillors agree to Bodicote boundary change


A packed council chamber watched as the drawing of the boundary between Bodicote and Banbury was discussed

A new housing estate by Banbury Cricket Club will be reclassified as being part of Banbury – not Bodicote – following a decision taken at Cherwell District Council last night.  

A packed chamber at Bodicote House listened as Councillors debated a change, with one Councillor warning that in ten years time people driving in from Oxford won’t realise they’re in Bodicote as it will all be part of Banbury.

Councillors voted to accept the recommendations of their working group to redraw the boundary between Bodicote and Banbury, moving it from following Saltway, to instead include the fields around the cricket club and Kingsfield, as far south as Wykham Lane and the allotments.

Bodicote Parish Council Chair Caroline Elmitt told the meeting about the strength of feeling in the village.   She said: “There is real anger in the village about the recommendations, and in particular in Whitechapel Gardens and the Pavilions. We’re all really angry at the seizure of part of our parish and we feel we’re being steamrollered into it.

“LGR [Local Government Reform] guidance states that the views of local communities and inhabitants are of central importance, and it actually repeats this in several ways.   The 2007 act puts the emphasis on reflecting the identity and interests of local communities.   Residents therefore assumed that their wishes would be taken seriously.

“And what is the reason for the boundary change?   Well, the working group report gives Banbury 17 as the reason.

“I’ve read the local Plan 2011-31 and nowhere does it mention the expropriation of part of Bodicote Parish as part of that plan.    Indeed, the plan purports to protect rural parishes.

“And you know what it feels like to us?   This annexation by Banbury Town Council feels remarkably similar to something happening in Eastern Europe as we speak.”

Councillor Keiron Mallon had chaired the cross-party working group which put together the recommendations.

He told Councillors: “The elected members who are tasked with these reviews are usually experienced and have served on the Council for a good time because it is not an easy task.

“It takes many hours of study, many meetings and a knowledge of the rules regarding the Boundary Commission.

“They have to try as best they can, to future proof boundaries giving regards to future representation – where the new developments will go, where they will shop, go to school, gravitate towards; the traffic, the health provision.   Public transport is an increasingly large subject that we need to look at.

“That, and not to be isolated conurbations or estates.   Councillors have to rise above emotions and parish hostility.”

Around 50 villagers from Bodicote attended the meeting.    A consultative survey by the Council of those living in the affected properties had shown 127 responses rejecting the idea, with just 7 in favour and 1 having no view.

The working group had to consider this, but alongside other evidence, including the views of the Town and Parish Councils and the local plan, which seeks to target the main development in our area towards the urban conurbations of Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington.   The meeting was told the new development which ran between the Bloxham Road and Bodicote Flyover had always been viewed as an expansion of Banbury.

But Councillor David Hingley, one of three elected District Councillors for the Bodicote, Adderbury and Bloxham ward, still felt unable to support the proposal, having himself served on the working group, where he had previously voted against it.

He told the meeting: “I struggle to see precisely who would benefit from this boundary change, if it is not about the money, as we have been told in this very Chamber, frankly, why go ahead with it?

“The houses are being built, the residents are moving in. Residents say to us that they identify with Bodicote, so why impose this unwanted change on them?

“I was told it was a town extension but when you look at the map, no part of F1 [the area under consideration] directly adjoins any properties in Banbury, but does adjoin private properties in Bodicote.

“I cannot see, in the face of this overwhelming public opposition, how it matters where a particular area is designated on the local map.”

In speaking to support the proposals Councillor George Reynolds told the meeting he felt people needed to accept the expansion of Banbury, although he empathised with nearby villages.  

He said: “In 10 years time people driving in from Oxford will not realise they’re in Bodicote.   They’ll think they’re in Banbury because it’ll be all built up.

“Similarly anybody driving in along the new spine road from the Bloxham Road will be into Banbury and a modern estate which they’ll assume is Banbury.   It is very difficult for villages on the edge alongside urban areas.

“These things have to be done occasionally and it’s going to upset people. I’m happy to go along with the working groups recommendation.”

Just 11 councillors voted against the change, with 31 in favour, making the change legally binding.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

Reader's opinions
  1. Jane Slade   On   18/10/2022 at 4:28 pm

    I also remember reference to the ‘highly paid’ experienced councillors and the sweeping look given to the public as he referred to us as ‘ordinary people’. Patronising much? It just shows how undemocratic the process is. Judging from discussions outside the meeting many people will never vote conservative again. With Tory politics at a national level a disaster area the conservative majority locally will hopefully lose it’s stranglehold. For far too long it has ridden roughshod over local feeling in an undemocratic and pompous manner. Vote them out. The idea of governing for the people is not a reality.

  2. Bryan Pacey   On   20/10/2022 at 4:41 pm

    What a total load of rubbish! This is a land grab for financial reasons pure and simple. If this is to go ahead will Banbury Town Council be paying the householders in this new development for loss of value of their properties as they are now in a town not a more desirable village or compensating them for the increase in council tax? In addition, the developers must stop marketing these properties as being in Bodicote which they are still doing. The properties are not in White Post Road as they claim and all of their boards on site state Bodicote not Banbury. To go against local opinion shows a total disregard for residents. The map shows a totally unnatural boundary.

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