Rest assured – any future development it will affect all of us

27/10/2021

“A lot of people may sit back and think ‘well it doesn’t bother me, I’m quite comfortable where I am’. You can rest assured with any future development it will affect all of us.”

As we told you yesterday, as part of the new local plan consultation process developers and land owners have submitted a large number of fields that they are offering for new housing to be built.   But why is this happening and who makes the decision about the number of houses and where they will be built?

We spoke to Councillor Colin Clarke, the Lead Member for Planning at Cherwell District Council.

“People needn’t necessarily be concerned that a piece of land next to them will be built upon. It may not be suitable.”, Councillor Clarke told us.

At the moment Cherwell District Council is unaware of how many houses it will be told it must build. But Councillor Clarke says we must be pragmatic and understand that it won’t be none. He said: “Realistically we’re all aware that central government puts pressure on planning authorities to develop more and more residential properties. At the moment they’re asking us to build 300,000 homes a year [across the country] which is quite a target.”

The decision on which plots of land move forward for inclusion in the local plan will be made in Bodicote House. Councillor Clarke said: “The planning officers will look very carefully at every single site that’s been put forward to see if its suitable for a variety or reasons. They will look at every aspect of that site with regard to sustainability, environment, transport and highways and the like.”

Councillor Clarke acknowledged Banbury’s infrastructure was already struggling with the number of houses the area had already been told to build. He said: “It has to be said as far as Banbury is concerned with development north, south, east and west of the town it certainly is causing issues as far as the highways are concerned with traffic.”

The dangers of not having enough housing supply in a local plan were evidenced in Adderbury recently, when the Planning Inspectorate overturned Cherwell’s rejection of an application, simply because the Council did not have enough housing to meet the government quota.

Councillor Clarke said: “If we don’t have a local plan it leaves us open to speculative development from all sorts of developers who might say ‘let’s put 500 houses on this piece of land’. Because we haven’t got an up-to-date local plan its becomes much more difficult to refuse that application.”

Cherwell’s Local Plan consultation is now underway and local people are being urged to have their say. Councillor Clarke feels its vital people don’t just leave it and make their feelings known. He said: “It is very important if you have thoughts or views with regards to the future of Banbury that you put them forward that is a top priority.

“A lot of people may sit back and think ‘well it doesn’t bother me, I’m quite comfortable where I am’. You can rest assured with any future development it will affect all of us.”

You can join in with the Local Plan consultation here.

Listen to our interview with Councillor Clarke here:


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