Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Hundreds attend exhibition about new housing earmarked for village

MORE than 300 people attended the first public exhibition on Goring’s neighbourhood plan.

MORE than 300 people attended the first public exhibition on Goring’s neighbourhood plan.

The document will name the preferred sites for at least 86 new homes that must be built by 2027 to meet Government targets.

It is being drawn up under Goring Parish Council’s supervision by a volunteer steering group and is expected to go to a referendum in May next year. If it passes this, the plan will become legally binding.

Saturday’s exhibition took place at the village hall.

Visitors were asked which factors they considered most important when choosing their preferred sites for development.

They were also asked their views on the impact that new housing could have on aspects of community life such as roads, health services and Goring Primary School.

David Wilkins, chairman of the steering group, said: “We were very pleased with the number of people that attended.

“This process is all leading up to a referendum next year so we’ve engaged a good proportion of the people who are likely to vote.

“Visitors’ reactions were also very positive. They could see a great deal of work had already gone into reaching this point and understood what the ultimate aim was and what the next steps would be.

“There was a lot of concern about the impact on the quality of life in the village so we had a very active reaction to that.

“All in all we’re very happy with how things are going.”

Following the exhibition, a questionnaire will be sent to every household in Goring asking what types of new housing are needed and how their impact could be mitigated.

Once the site selection and housing criteria have been outlined, a second event will be held on March 5 at which residents will be asked to rank them in order of importance.

The steering group will then use the final criteria to draw up a list of acceptable housing sites for the draft plan, which it hopes will be written by July.

It is now inviting landowners with potential development plots to make themselves known.

The draft plan will be sent to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, which will conduct a statutory six-week public consultation before sending the document for independent inspection. If it passes this stage, the referendum can go ahead. Mr Wilkins said: “We would love to get it done sooner in order to pre-empt any developers who try to get their schemes approved before our neighbourhood plan is ready.

“Until our plan is much further down the line, it carries little weight in the planning process so we need to be quick.

“However, the earliest we can prepare a draft is July and even that will be quite a slog.

“I’m afraid some aspects of the process are also out of our hands but hopefully we can make it good enough that only minor changes will be required before it goes to referendum.”

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