Monday, 25 June 2018

Volunteers come forward to write development plan

MORE than 60 people have volunteered to help Goring write its neighbourhood plan.

MORE than 60 people have volunteered to help Goring write its neighbourhood plan.

Several villagers agreed to give their time following a public meeting at the village hall on Friday.

They were shown a presentation by Tom Rothwell, who has been appointed interim manager of the project by Goring Parish Council.

Mr Rothwell, a consultant who lives in Springhill Road, is to assemble the steering groups that will compile the plan under the council’s supervision.

The document will name the sites in Goring parish where 86 new homes should be built by 2027 to meet national housing targets.

It will also make recommendations on other aspects of community life, such as traffic, employment and the environment. If the final draft is approved in a referendum, the housing element will become legally enforceable as it will be written into South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning policy.

The parish council agreed to create a plan in May following pressure from residents who felt the village was under threat from inappropriate development.

They included Brandon Hancox, of Wallingford Road, who successfully stood in the parish election.

Councillor Hancox said: “We had a fantastic turnout at the meeting â?? undoubtedly everyone there was in favour of taking this forward.

“Tom will put the working groups together but it would not be right to appoint him permanently.

“The process has to be democratic and the volunteers must appoint the final roles from within their group. Our role is not to write the plan but to get the village to the point where it can stand together and decide what it wants.

“It must be written by the community and not be vulnerable to criticism that it has been imposed.

“I think we’ve achieved a lot in a short space of time. Considering that we’re all volunteers with busy working lives, I’m very happy that we’ve already got this far.”

Goring will follow a similar process to Woodcote, which published its neighbourhood plan in April last year.

Landowners will be invited to offer sites for development in the autumn and the public will be consulted on these before a draft plan is written.

It is hoped that a final draft will be ready by September next year. This will then be subject to a six-week consultation before it is scrutinised by a planning inspector. The referendum should be held by the end of next year.

Cllr Hancox said: “We’re doing everything we can to make people aware of this. We’ve just managed to deliver 1,600 leaflets to every home in Goring, which is fantastic.

“People seem thankful that this is finally being done and many are surprised that it hadn’t been done before.”

Woodcote parish councillor Geoff Botting, who is advising on the project, said: “They’ve clearly thought about this carefully and should be able to complete it quickly by learning from our example.

“They are under more time pressure than Woodcote was but they’ve got the right approach and it’s looking good so far.”

Volunteers are still being sought. Anyone who wants to help should call the parish council on (01491) 874444 or visit

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