Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Parishes watch with interest

WOODCOTE’S neighbourhood plan passed a referendum in 2014, the first in this area to do so. It names up to seven sites for 76 dwellings, although this number could increase.

Parish councillor Geoff Botting, chairman of the plan’s steering group, said: “Woodcote is in a slightly different position because it’s in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so is more protected.

“Our plan has delivered on most of the housing sites it promised. However, the fact that Thames Farm wasn’t in Henley and Harpsden’s neighbourhood plan raises the question of how vulnerable these plans are. If the inspector is correct then there’s a major problem. The district council is doing the right thing by going back over the figures.” Sonning Common’s plan, which passed a referendum last September, names five sites where 200 homes should be built.

Parish councillor Barrie Greenwood, former chairman of the plan’s working party, said: “The inspector’s decision is concerning. We feel his comments are based simply on broader planning policies and don’t take the neighbourhood plan into consideration. If we had been in a similar position, we would expect our neighbourhood plan to be upheld.”

David Wilkins, co-chairman of the steering group for Goring’s plan, which should go to a referendum this year, said: “We have spent two years on the process and still have every confidence in it.”

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