Monday, 01 March 2021

Parishes to work together on plan

A LIAISON group made up of Watlington and Pyrton councillors has been set up to give feedback on the town’s neighbourhood plan.

One of the key aspects of the plan is the proposed “edge road”, or bypass, which would go through five development sites and Pyrton parish.

Matt Reid, chairman of Watlington Parish Council, said it was important to have a good working  relationship with their neighbour.

He told a council meeting: “It is essentially just good manners. If something is going to happen on their land and we’re having separate conversations to them, it strikes me as being fundamentally wrong.

“It is about resetting the relationship and see what we can do together because we’ve got a lot in common.

“Nobody wants to see excessive development and one of the overriding objectives is to keep the character and scale of Watlington.

“There has definitely been a realisation that a road is coming and there will most likely have to be houses with that.

“It isn’t just a forum for Watlington but the correct forum. If we’re going to talk about doing something and it’s on someone else’s land, they need to be in that conversation from the beginning.”

The edge road would go from the B4009 Pyrton crossroads north of Watlington to Britwell Road in the south, running north of the former pig farm, where 183 homes are to be built, and then cut across to Cuxham Road and eventually join the B4009.

There have been talks about the road running from one of the sites in Watlington through another in Pyrton before joining Shirburn Road.

Developer Providence Land has been given permission to build 70 properties on land north-east of Cuxham Road and up to another 60 west of Pyrton Lane.

Councillor Reid added: “We have had issues in the past, as we all know. Many of us were elected in 2015 swearing blind there would be no road and we weren’t all that happy about 80 houses but we’ve gone on a journey with the neighbourhood plan and we are in a much different place.

“We were all perturbed by what felt like a tsunami of development coming our way and we’ve really had to think about how we can mitigate that.

“Pyrton is going through a similar journey but it’s about the inevitability of what the higher authority councils can do if we don’t join together as a unified front to have our voices heard.

“If we continue with a mindset of ‘they’ll just have to take what we give them’ then the relationship will break down and get to the same place it was before. We have to start with genuine respect.”

Councillor Roger Beattie asked why Pyrton and other neighbouring parishes were not consulted earlier.

Pairsh clerk Kristina Tynan replied: “Initially, we went to all the parishes, saying we were going to do a neighbourhood plan and would they like to be part of a bigger one and they all wrote back saying ‘no’.”

The liaison group will not make decisions but will feed back into the neighbourhood plan advisory board. Other people are welcome to attend its meetings.

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