Villagers unite in battle to keep the developers at bay

Andrew Elphick, front, and other Long Hanborough residents protesting about the planned development   Picture: OX68776 Denis Kennedy

Andrew Elphick, front, and other Long Hanborough residents protesting about the planned development Picture: OX68776 Denis Kennedy Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

VILLAGERS have teamed up to declare “hands off Hanborough” and fight housing plans which would increase the population of their West Oxfordshire community by 50 per cent.

Consultations are under way for plans to build 362 homes on land between Long Hanborough and Freeland and for 68 homes on a plot between Long Hanborough and Church Hanborough.

More than 140 villagers have got together to create the Hands off Hanborough campaign group, saying that new homes would overload roads, the primary school and doctor’s surgery, while bridging the gap between the three neighbouring villages.

Member Andrew Elphick, 50, said: “We don’t see them as rational or sustainable.

“The roads, schools and community facilities are full and our infrastructure is already bursting, so we don’t feel mass housing development is sustainable.

“The villages have always been regarded as separate entities with independent identities but the rural gap between them is being urbanised. We will end up with a strip of land running from Woodstock to Witney.”

West Oxfordshire District Council unveiled its draft local plan for public consultation this month. It says 9,450 homes will have to be built in the district by 2029.

Pye Homes is holding a consultation for the largest of the two developments on land owned by the Blenheim Palace estate, to the west of Long Hanborough, split between north and south of the A4095 Witney Road. It is part of the estate’s review of land it owns, as it plans to sell plots to fund a £40m maintenance bill over the next two decades.

The developer said half the homes would be affordable and there would be a “strong landscaped buffer” between Long Hanborough and Freeland.

Savill’s estate agents has also consulted with residents on behalf of Oxford University’s Corpus Christi College, which owns land to the east of Church Road.

Neither company is yet to submit a planning application.

Married dad-of-two Mr Elphick, a technology consultant, said about 40 homes are currently being developed in sites off Swan Lane and Riely Close.

He said there are about 2,400 residents in the village, but this could rise by 50 per cent if both developments go ahead and another 1,000 cars could use the the A4095, A44 and A40.

Mr Elphick added: “We’re not against development per se because we realise there’s a need for housing, but the village’s contribution has to be fair.’’

Blenheim Palace estate spokesman Daniel Hayman said: “We’re reviewing the results of consultation held recently as well as engaging with local service providers such as the doctor’s surgery and headteachers.

“We are listening to residents’ feedback and looking at ways in which we can try to address concerns.”

 

 

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Comments (9)

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4:22pm Tue 29 Jul 14

norton manor says...

they may have a point but the increasing population have to live somewhere so all these 'NIMBYS' should spare a thought for those who are struggling to get a roof over their heads and stop being selfish
they may have a point but the increasing population have to live somewhere so all these 'NIMBYS' should spare a thought for those who are struggling to get a roof over their heads and stop being selfish norton manor
  • Score: -7

5:01pm Tue 29 Jul 14

xenarthra says...

norton manor wrote:
they may have a point but the increasing population have to live somewhere so all these 'NIMBYS' should spare a thought for those who are struggling to get a roof over their heads and stop being selfish
Maybe so, but they don't all have to be crammed into the south east of England.
[quote][p][bold]norton manor[/bold] wrote: they may have a point but the increasing population have to live somewhere so all these 'NIMBYS' should spare a thought for those who are struggling to get a roof over their heads and stop being selfish[/p][/quote]Maybe so, but they don't all have to be crammed into the south east of England. xenarthra
  • Score: 7

5:01pm Tue 29 Jul 14

BigAlBiker says...

The houses would cost so much the young people could not afford them, so what's the point of building them?

West Oxfordshire is cramped as it is and before they start to build any more home they should convert the A40 to dual carriageway to at least allow people to get around.
The houses would cost so much the young people could not afford them, so what's the point of building them? West Oxfordshire is cramped as it is and before they start to build any more home they should convert the A40 to dual carriageway to at least allow people to get around. BigAlBiker
  • Score: 7

5:35pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Given that Hanborough has a railway station with a service to Oxford that takes just 8 minutes - with a return fare not far off the cost of a trip on the P&R bus - it's the absolutely perfect location to build new homes for Oxfordshire

Roads can be widened, schools enlarged and new health centres built.
Given that Hanborough has a railway station with a service to Oxford that takes just 8 minutes - with a return fare not far off the cost of a trip on the P&R bus - it's the absolutely perfect location to build new homes for Oxfordshire Roads can be widened, schools enlarged and new health centres built. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

6:00pm Tue 29 Jul 14

oafie says...

Same Nimby's with same arguments, always the same, yes there needs to be housing just not near us- What do these people suggest? That people are legally confined to their pace of birth? That only those with children get a house in a decent area? Or compulsory euthanasia? Is Mr Elphick going to keep his children at home for ever? and ensure they all live in that same house for ever, including the grandchildren?
Same Nimby's with same arguments, always the same, yes there needs to be housing just not near us- What do these people suggest? That people are legally confined to their pace of birth? That only those with children get a house in a decent area? Or compulsory euthanasia? Is Mr Elphick going to keep his children at home for ever? and ensure they all live in that same house for ever, including the grandchildren? oafie
  • Score: 0

7:33pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Oxfaze says...

oafie wrote:
Same Nimby's with same arguments, always the same, yes there needs to be housing just not near us- What do these people suggest? That people are legally confined to their pace of birth? That only those with children get a house in a decent area? Or compulsory euthanasia? Is Mr Elphick going to keep his children at home for ever? and ensure they all live in that same house for ever, including the grandchildren?
What 'these people' suggest is that new housing is built in a planned and sustainable way on sites with adequate amenities that will not overwhelm existing services - schools, roads, etc. The scale of this planned development is completely out of proportion to the village (if built it would increase the village population by over 50%) and is being proposed not to meet local housing need but to generate income for the Blenheim Estate.
[quote][p][bold]oafie[/bold] wrote: Same Nimby's with same arguments, always the same, yes there needs to be housing just not near us- What do these people suggest? That people are legally confined to their pace of birth? That only those with children get a house in a decent area? Or compulsory euthanasia? Is Mr Elphick going to keep his children at home for ever? and ensure they all live in that same house for ever, including the grandchildren?[/p][/quote]What 'these people' suggest is that new housing is built in a planned and sustainable way on sites with adequate amenities that will not overwhelm existing services - schools, roads, etc. The scale of this planned development is completely out of proportion to the village (if built it would increase the village population by over 50%) and is being proposed not to meet local housing need but to generate income for the Blenheim Estate. Oxfaze
  • Score: 7

7:43pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Oxfaze says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Given that Hanborough has a railway station with a service to Oxford that takes just 8 minutes - with a return fare not far off the cost of a trip on the P&R bus - it's the absolutely perfect location to build new homes for Oxfordshire

Roads can be widened, schools enlarged and new health centres built.
Your argument is that because Hanborough has a rail link to Oxford it should absorb the housing needs for the county? Can you predict with certainty that the people who would live there would use the railway in large numbers? Could the line cope if they did - many peak time trains are nearing capacity as it is and the single track severely limits the number and size of trains that can run. You say that roads can widened, schools enlarged etc. Given that there has been a critical need for the A40 to be dualled between Witney and Oxford for the past 40 years and with no sign of this ever being done, I wouldn't be hopeful of other major road schemes materialising any time soon. Yes, schools and health centres can be enlarged too, but this has to be in a thoughtful, planned way to meet current and longer-term needs, not in reaction to a developer's overambitious scheme.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: Given that Hanborough has a railway station with a service to Oxford that takes just 8 minutes - with a return fare not far off the cost of a trip on the P&R bus - it's the absolutely perfect location to build new homes for Oxfordshire Roads can be widened, schools enlarged and new health centres built.[/p][/quote]Your argument is that because Hanborough has a rail link to Oxford it should absorb the housing needs for the county? Can you predict with certainty that the people who would live there would use the railway in large numbers? Could the line cope if they did - many peak time trains are nearing capacity as it is and the single track severely limits the number and size of trains that can run. You say that roads can widened, schools enlarged etc. Given that there has been a critical need for the A40 to be dualled between Witney and Oxford for the past 40 years and with no sign of this ever being done, I wouldn't be hopeful of other major road schemes materialising any time soon. Yes, schools and health centres can be enlarged too, but this has to be in a thoughtful, planned way to meet current and longer-term needs, not in reaction to a developer's overambitious scheme. Oxfaze
  • Score: 3

8:49pm Tue 29 Jul 14

fantasticobella says...

oafie wrote:
Same Nimby's with same arguments, always the same, yes there needs to be housing just not near us- What do these people suggest? That people are legally confined to their pace of birth? That only those with children get a house in a decent area? Or compulsory euthanasia? Is Mr Elphick going to keep his children at home for ever? and ensure they all live in that same house for ever, including the grandchildren?
There is a solution and one that would address housing need within villages for those that wish to stay local, those that need social housing and to help villages to grow in a sustainable way. Insist that every village in this area make a percentage growth that is sensible and sensitive to the feel of the village itself. No village could argue against taking some development that is in keeping with its current size. 5 or 10% of current housing numbers would be easily manageable and absorbed. Surely sensible sustainable planning on this scale would be welcomed and not rejected out of hand. So what is stopping this happening? I suspect it's down to developers who want a few huge sites rather than numerous smaller ones because that is more economical for them.
[quote][p][bold]oafie[/bold] wrote: Same Nimby's with same arguments, always the same, yes there needs to be housing just not near us- What do these people suggest? That people are legally confined to their pace of birth? That only those with children get a house in a decent area? Or compulsory euthanasia? Is Mr Elphick going to keep his children at home for ever? and ensure they all live in that same house for ever, including the grandchildren?[/p][/quote]There is a solution and one that would address housing need within villages for those that wish to stay local, those that need social housing and to help villages to grow in a sustainable way. Insist that every village in this area make a percentage growth that is sensible and sensitive to the feel of the village itself. No village could argue against taking some development that is in keeping with its current size. 5 or 10% of current housing numbers would be easily manageable and absorbed. Surely sensible sustainable planning on this scale would be welcomed and not rejected out of hand. So what is stopping this happening? I suspect it's down to developers who want a few huge sites rather than numerous smaller ones because that is more economical for them. fantasticobella
  • Score: 11

8:42am Wed 30 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Oxfaze wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Given that Hanborough has a railway station with a service to Oxford that takes just 8 minutes - with a return fare not far off the cost of a trip on the P&R bus - it's the absolutely perfect location to build new homes for Oxfordshire

Roads can be widened, schools enlarged and new health centres built.
Your argument is that because Hanborough has a rail link to Oxford it should absorb the housing needs for the county? Can you predict with certainty that the people who would live there would use the railway in large numbers? Could the line cope if they did - many peak time trains are nearing capacity as it is and the single track severely limits the number and size of trains that can run. You say that roads can widened, schools enlarged etc. Given that there has been a critical need for the A40 to be dualled between Witney and Oxford for the past 40 years and with no sign of this ever being done, I wouldn't be hopeful of other major road schemes materialising any time soon. Yes, schools and health centres can be enlarged too, but this has to be in a thoughtful, planned way to meet current and longer-term needs, not in reaction to a developer's overambitious scheme.
Long stretches of the rail line have already been doubled. It is likely that further improvements will be made in early course.

Or perhaps the residents of Hanborough will start campaiging against rail improvements when they realise that this is what makes the area so attractive to new housing...
[quote][p][bold]Oxfaze[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: Given that Hanborough has a railway station with a service to Oxford that takes just 8 minutes - with a return fare not far off the cost of a trip on the P&R bus - it's the absolutely perfect location to build new homes for Oxfordshire Roads can be widened, schools enlarged and new health centres built.[/p][/quote]Your argument is that because Hanborough has a rail link to Oxford it should absorb the housing needs for the county? Can you predict with certainty that the people who would live there would use the railway in large numbers? Could the line cope if they did - many peak time trains are nearing capacity as it is and the single track severely limits the number and size of trains that can run. You say that roads can widened, schools enlarged etc. Given that there has been a critical need for the A40 to be dualled between Witney and Oxford for the past 40 years and with no sign of this ever being done, I wouldn't be hopeful of other major road schemes materialising any time soon. Yes, schools and health centres can be enlarged too, but this has to be in a thoughtful, planned way to meet current and longer-term needs, not in reaction to a developer's overambitious scheme.[/p][/quote]Long stretches of the rail line have already been doubled. It is likely that further improvements will be made in early course. Or perhaps the residents of Hanborough will start campaiging against rail improvements when they realise that this is what makes the area so attractive to new housing... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -4

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