Thursday, 19 October 2017

Villagers won’t be sent housing survey

SONNING Common Parish Council will not be allowed to conduct a housing survey in Peppard as part of its neighbourhood

SONNING Common Parish Council will not be allowed to conduct a housing survey in Peppard as part of its neighbourhood plan.

This is despite both parish councils agreeing to work together on the plan.

Last month, they signed a memorandum of understanding that made Peppard Parish Council an official consultation body for a site on the edge of the village that was included in the plan.

But now a request by Sonning Common to distribute the survey to some residents of Peppard has been rejected by the parish council there.

Peppard council chairman David Hammond said it could create issues such as why one house received the survey but not another — roads such as Stoke Row Road and Shiplake Bottom are either on the edge of the boundary or split between the two villages.

Cllr Hammond added that South Oxfordshire District Council would treat Sonning Common, a large village, differently to Peppard, a small village, and would therefore give it less protection.

“By agreeing to put this housing survey around Peppard we’re effectively saying that Peppard should be treated like it’s part of Sonning Common,” he said.

“If this area isn’t Peppard then what is Peppard? If the district council wants to pretend it doesn’t exist then it should change its core strategy. Therefore, we’re reluctant to send this survey around that part of the parish.”

Cllr Hammond said he didn’t think the survey was well-thought out, adding: “If you send questions like ‘what do you like about living in Sonning Common?’ to someone in Peppard they will be confused. It would take a lot of explanation as to why they were being asked to fill it in.”

Councillor Barrie Greenwood, who chairs the Sonning Common neighbourhood plan working group, said he believed the decision wouldn’t affect the legitimacy of the plan.

He said: “We wanted to be able to show under examination that this aspect of the neighbourhood plan had included full consultation.

“That’s the reason we asked Peppard for its permission but we accept their response if they feel this is something that is inappropriate for its parishioners.”

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