Sunday, 20 August 2017

Villagers to dictate growth

RESIDENTS of Whitchurch who want to help write the village’s neighbourhood plan will be invited to

RESIDENTS of Whitchurch who want to help write the village’s neighbourhood plan will be invited to attend a meeting in April.

The document will name sites where new housing is considered acceptable and set policies on the type of development that is needed.

It will become legally binding if it passes a referendum.

The plan will be written by steering groups made up of volunteers from within the community and the parish council will oversee the process.

Whitchurch does not have a housing quota as it is not considered a “larger village” by South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority.



However, concerns have been raised that housing is expensive and there are no affordable properties for younger residents who wish to stay when they leave home.

Councillor Rachel Hatcher said: “The plan’s policies and the decision to adopt it will be the community’s, not the council’s.

“It is worth doing as we are a lovely village in a conservation area and people want to live here. We don’t want to prevent new development but to have some control over it.”

The parish council has also agreed to produce a community plan which will make recommendations on issues such as transport, infrastructure and the environment.

It will replace the village’s current parish plan, which dates back to 2008.

Cllr Hatcher said: “If people with a passion for particular topics can all play their part, it will be a true representation of what the community wants.”

A date for the meeting will be announced next month.



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