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Change to village boundaries unlikely
Published 24/02/14

THE boundary between Sonning Common and Peppard is expected to stay the same.

Both parish councils had asked South Oxfordshire District Council to increase the size of their parishes by taking territory from the other.

The district council responded by suggesting moving 160 homes from Peppard into Sonning Common.

This angered residents in the Peppard and councillors responded by asking for the status quo to be maintained.

Now a working group has recommended keeping the boundaries as they are, saying that although the current boundary was “unsatisfactory” it could not identify a better one within its terms of reference.

In a report, the working group said it had received a lot of comments from Peppard residents saying they didn’t want to be moved into Sonning Common.

The reasons cited including the possible impact on school catchment areas, ties to church boundaries, the impact it would have on house prices and fears that open land would be more susceptible to development in a “large village”.

The working group said it believed Sonning Common’s proposals had gone “too far” by taking in open land and housing that was “rural in character” and “more suited” to being in Peppard parish.

It also said that Peppard’s suggestions would have included properties close to the centre of Sonning Common being moved out of that parish.

Paul Harrison, who represents the Sonning Common ward on the district council, supported Peppard’s argument for maintaining the status quo.

He said: “I believe it is now important that once the consultation period begins, parishioners write in support of keeping the status quo.

“I’m aware that Sonning Common Parish Council will be putting up a vigorous campaign for a change in line with the original officer’s recommendation. Since I told them I had recommended no change, I’ve received numerous letters from their councillors in support of their view.”

Peppard councillors agreed to post leaflets to residents urging them to continue writing to the district council with their views.

Council chairman David Hammond said residents in Shiplake Bottom were planning to conduct a survey in their road to see what the general view was.

Councillor Valerie Ross said: “I think the residents, especially in Shiplake Bottom, are very much for staying in Peppard. There’s an awful lot of feeling in Peppard about this. I think that if they do get a leaflet they might actually write in again.”

Councillor Terry Ryan said: “We need to make it clear that if they do write it’s going to influence people, even though it may appear that we’re going to win this case.”

The working group recommended approval of Sonning Common’s request to move Chiltern Edge School and a small triangle of land by the junction of Kennylands Road and Peppard Road into its parish. However, it rejected a request to increase the number of parish councillors from 12 to 15, saying the village was too small to have any more.

Originally, both parishes wanted the whole of Shiplake Bottom, which is currently split between them, to be moved into their respective areas. Sonning Common also asked for properties in Blounts Court Road to be moved into its parish, while Peppard wanted to retain this area and extend it to include the stretch of Peppard Road as far as Widmore Lane.

Sonning Common parish clerk Philip Collings said: “We have submitted a letter with detailed analysis of the decision by the district council that explores our belief that there are errors in the process its working group followed in adhering to the criteria of the governance review.”

Published 24/02/14

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