Keep Nethercote Rural welcomes emerging plan but still faces current threat


Land around Nethercote which is at risk

Whilst development at Nethercote isn’t in the latest proposals a speculative developer hopes to get their way at appeal

One of the local campaign groups, which has been fighting speculative greenfield development on its doorstep, has described the ideas coming out of the proposed new Local Plan as “encouraging”.   Lisa Phipps from Keep Nethercote Rural says focusing the plan on Sustainable Development is positive.

But despite the emerging Local Plan leaving the small hamlet of Nethercote as a rural location, locals still face the threat of being swamped by the construction of up to 140,000 square metres of commercial property nearby.  

A speculative planning application by Greystoke CB seeking to build on the fields east of the M40 and north of the A422 was submitted in May 2022, despite the site not being earmarked for any kind of development in the current Cherwell Local Plan.   The Council received a number of objections to the application including submissions by Oxfordshire County, Banbury Town and local Parish Councils.

The application was yet to reach the stage where local Councillors were able to make a decision, but that was taken out of their hands when the applicant lodged an appeal directly with the Planning Inspectorate.   That inquiry is set to begin in April.

Nethercote’s rural identity was also threatened in the early stages of the Local Plan consultation when fields to the southern side of the A422 were put forward for development.

Lisa Phipps from Keep Nethercote Rural believes whilst the new Local Plan is a positive move, Cherwell District Council must do more to protect rural communities and the character of the area.

She said: “Having seen the proposed draft Local Plan 2040, it is really encouraging to see that Cherwell District Council have disregarded the speculative submissions for sites East of the M40; meaning that neither Nethercote or Huscote will be earmarked for development to meet the needs of the area for the next 15 years. 

“It is positive to see focus in the plan on Sustainable Development, strengthening policies around sustainable development, climate change, air pollution and continued focus on the protection of the local environment and heritage, however, despite Huscote Farm not being earmarked for development in the current Local Plan, nor considered for the next, there remains a live planning application for large scale industrial development that is still to be determined at Public Inquiry. 

“This planning application alone highlights the need for Cherwell District Council to increase resources in order to restart their programme of reviewing Conservation Area Appraisals, which has been on hold since the pandemic.  The pausing of the Conservation Area reviews means that important historical areas such as Nethercote are not having their heritage assets assessed and documented as the Local Plan and indeed National Planning Policy requires.”

With the verdict now taken out of the hands of local decision makers, the community in Nethercote must now wait until after the Appeal process to find out whether the speculative application on land never intended for development will be allowed.

Lisa added: “It is clear that the Local Plan alone cannot afford important areas the protection needed, and so whilst we are pleased to see Nethercote & Huscote omitted from the proposed draft Local Plan, we will continue to campaign for Conservation Area Designation for the area of Nethercote, without this there is no robust protection for the important Banbury heritage of the area and the biodiversity that lies within.”

Anyone wishing to comment on the application by Greystoke CB has until January 31 to do so.   Any comments submitted to the planning team at Cherwell District Council (using reference 22/01488/OUT) will be forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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