Vale of White Horse plans for new homes 'will ruin villages'

Author Philip Pullman is against the plans for his village of Cumnor

Author Philip Pullman is against the plans for his village of Cumnor

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

VILLAGERS have warned their communities will be changed beyond recognition by the new list of thousands of homes planned across the Vale of White Horse.

A six-week public consultation on where an extra 9,580 houses are to go ended yesterday, marked by a protest by 50 villagers from Radley fighting against three schemes totalling 710 homes for the village and neighbouring Kennington.

More than 1,500 people commented on the Vale’s overall plan as residents warned the scale of homes earmarked for 21 sites would ruin village communities.

Harwell parish, which has 1,000 homes, has been earmarked to get another 4,500 within its boundaries – 200 of those in the village itself.

Harwell Parish Council chairman David Marsh submitted the village’s objections to the plans yesterday.

He said: “The numbers involved were a total shock. It was almost disbelief that these could possibly be the numbers we are dealing with.

“Lots of people are very concerned, angry and frustrated that the housing numbers just seem to be totally unrealistic. It will ruin the village as we know it. It will spoil it because the infrastructure won’t be able to cope.”

A protest of more than 50 villagers from Radley was held yesterday at the district council’s Abingdon offices in Abbey Close. They handed over about 500 objections.

Radley Parish Council chairwoman Jenny Standen said: “It is an increase of more than 75 per cent (of the current village). The concern is purely the number of houses which have been projected.

“Schools, health centres, transport and drainage systems just won’t be able to cope.”

But first-time buyers have said the lack of affordable housing in the Vale makes house-hunting near impossible.

Young professionals Dan Law, 26 and Elle Hilton, 24, have been looking for their first home for over four months. They are renting in Culham but looking for houses in the Vale and South Oxfordshire.

Mr Law, a mechanical engineer, said: “There really just aren’t many options for us, we are going to have a sky-high mortgage as it is but there’s no alternative.

“Effectively, people are holding on to the value of their own homes.”

The Vale needs to build 20,500 homes by 2031 to meet its Government housing target.

The 9,580 houses across 21 sites were new sites allocated after the council’s target increased to 20,500 as a result of a new strategic housing market assessment (SHMA) calculated for Oxfordshire this year.

A consultation of the whole draft local plan for all 20,500 homes is to be launched later this year before the plans go to the secretary of state for approval in October.

Vale of White Horse spokesman Andy Roberts said: “These are just proposals, we will now spend some time processing the comments we’ve received. We will use the feedback to revise the plans to take into account people’s concerns.

“In the wider local plan, we’re creating an infrastructure and community benefits strategy to address people’s concerns about supporting this growth.”

Cumnor residents also launched a campaign on Monday to raise more than £2,500 for legal advice against the proposals. By yesterday they had already raised £1,750.

Village resident – and author of His Dark Materials trilogy – Philip Pullman has backed the campaign opposing plans for 200 homes that would boost its size by 50 per cent.

He said: “It is a district problem. They seem to have been told by the Government they have to slap so many thousands of houses on green fields, and they have said, ‘We will put some there, and some there.’ “Before we know it the whole shire of Oxford will be covered in suburbs.”

WHERE THE HOUSING IS PROPOSED

  • Cumnor 200
  • East Wootton 200
  • North West Abingdon 200
  • North Abingdon 410
  • South Kennington 270
  • North Radley 200
  • North West Radley 240
  • South Marcham 200
  • South Drayton 200
  • East Sutton Courtenay 220
  • Milton Heights 1400
  • Valley Park 2,550
  • West of Harwell 200
  • East Harwell Campus 1400
  • East of East Hanney 200
  • North West of East Challow 200
  • West Stanford in the Vale 290
  • Great Coxwell Parish, South of Faringdon 200
  • South West of Faringdon 200
  • South Shrivenham 200
  • North Shrivenham 400

Comments (15)

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10:16am Sat 5 Apr 14

Gunslinger says...

“It is a district problem. They seem to have been told by the Government they have to slap so many thousands of houses on green fields, and they have said, ‘We will put some there, and some there.’ “Before we know it the whole shire of Oxford will be covered in suburbs.”

However there seems to be a lack of any constructive comment from objectors about where exactly the houses should go. Unless the councils get on and do something, then there will be a succession of planning appeals and housing will appear randomly in places that nobody wants.

There is no simple solution, it is no good blaming 'immigration', basically the area is the victim of its relative economic success and changes in social habits.
“It is a district problem. They seem to have been told by the Government they have to slap so many thousands of houses on green fields, and they have said, ‘We will put some there, and some there.’ “Before we know it the whole shire of Oxford will be covered in suburbs.” However there seems to be a lack of any constructive comment from objectors about where exactly the houses should go. Unless the councils get on and do something, then there will be a succession of planning appeals and housing will appear randomly in places that nobody wants. There is no simple solution, it is no good blaming 'immigration', basically the area is the victim of its relative economic success and changes in social habits. Gunslinger
  • Score: 12

2:04pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Gunslinger wrote:
“It is a district problem. They seem to have been told by the Government they have to slap so many thousands of houses on green fields, and they have said, ‘We will put some there, and some there.’ “Before we know it the whole shire of Oxford will be covered in suburbs.”

However there seems to be a lack of any constructive comment from objectors about where exactly the houses should go. Unless the councils get on and do something, then there will be a succession of planning appeals and housing will appear randomly in places that nobody wants.

There is no simple solution, it is no good blaming 'immigration', basically the area is the victim of its relative economic success and changes in social habits.
Oh there is the standard:-

"The schools won't cope"
"The GP Surgery won't cope"
"The buses won't cope"
"The drains won't cope"

New schools and surgeries can be built.
I've never seen Stagecoach, First, Go-ahead or Arriva publish that they "can't cope" with increase in customers.
Thames Water can build new sewage works.

The only true "can't cope" is the protestors themselves. They can't cope with an "outsider" having a better or equal opportunity than they have.
[quote][p][bold]Gunslinger[/bold] wrote: “It is a district problem. They seem to have been told by the Government they have to slap so many thousands of houses on green fields, and they have said, ‘We will put some there, and some there.’ “Before we know it the whole shire of Oxford will be covered in suburbs.” However there seems to be a lack of any constructive comment from objectors about where exactly the houses should go. Unless the councils get on and do something, then there will be a succession of planning appeals and housing will appear randomly in places that nobody wants. There is no simple solution, it is no good blaming 'immigration', basically the area is the victim of its relative economic success and changes in social habits.[/p][/quote]Oh there is the standard:- "The schools won't cope" "The GP Surgery won't cope" "The buses won't cope" "The drains won't cope" New schools and surgeries can be built. I've never seen Stagecoach, First, Go-ahead or Arriva publish that they "can't cope" with increase in customers. Thames Water can build new sewage works. The only true "can't cope" is the protestors themselves. They can't cope with an "outsider" having a better or equal opportunity than they have. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -11

3:56pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Gunslinger says...

The negative score given to the last contributor just about sums up many peoples' rather selfish attitudes to this issue.
They can't be bothered to contribute constructively to the discussion and explain why first time buyers today should be denied the opportunities they themselves had maybe 20-30-40 years ago.
Thee was plenty of house building in the 60's 70's and 80's, including places like Radley and Harwell. Don't suppose they were complaining then.
The negative score given to the last contributor just about sums up many peoples' rather selfish attitudes to this issue. They can't be bothered to contribute constructively to the discussion and explain why first time buyers today should be denied the opportunities they themselves had maybe 20-30-40 years ago. Thee was plenty of house building in the 60's 70's and 80's, including places like Radley and Harwell. Don't suppose they were complaining then. Gunslinger
  • Score: -1

7:59pm Sat 5 Apr 14

mytaxes says...

Why are there so many NIMBYs in Oxfordshire?
Why are there so many NIMBYs in Oxfordshire? mytaxes
  • Score: 11

11:51pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Chris Henderson says...

Why are so many people convinced that the answer to the lack of affordability of housing is to give permission to build more. There are lots of sites in the county with existing permissions where builders are progressing slowly because they can't sell the completed houses.
As the developers are in total control of the speed of progress, they won't build so fast as to cause a drop in price as it would affect their profit.
Much more of an influence on price is schemes like Help-to buy and the recent pension changes which will give a massive boost to the buy to rent sector.
Why are so many people convinced that the answer to the lack of affordability of housing is to give permission to build more. There are lots of sites in the county with existing permissions where builders are progressing slowly because they can't sell the completed houses. As the developers are in total control of the speed of progress, they won't build so fast as to cause a drop in price as it would affect their profit. Much more of an influence on price is schemes like Help-to buy and the recent pension changes which will give a massive boost to the buy to rent sector. Chris Henderson
  • Score: 2

12:33am Sun 6 Apr 14

TobyB1960 says...

mytaxes wrote:
Why are there so many NIMBYs in Oxfordshire?
I don't think its the case of NIMBYism, but the total unrealistic building targets. Is the UK population really going to grow by 40% or more in the next 16 years? Is the UK population going to grow from 68 to 91 million in the next 16 years?
[quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: Why are there so many NIMBYs in Oxfordshire?[/p][/quote]I don't think its the case of NIMBYism, but the total unrealistic building targets. Is the UK population really going to grow by 40% or more in the next 16 years? Is the UK population going to grow from 68 to 91 million in the next 16 years? TobyB1960
  • Score: 3

9:39am Sun 6 Apr 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Chris Henderson wrote:
Why are so many people convinced that the answer to the lack of affordability of housing is to give permission to build more. There are lots of sites in the county with existing permissions where builders are progressing slowly because they can't sell the completed houses.
As the developers are in total control of the speed of progress, they won't build so fast as to cause a drop in price as it would affect their profit.
Much more of an influence on price is schemes like Help-to buy and the recent pension changes which will give a massive boost to the buy to rent sector.
Could you define the sites in the county that have full permission and are progressing "slowly"?

At the moment, in Oxfordshire, there are 263 new homes on the market (that are not part of "shared equity schemes". Of which just 64 are under £250,000.
[quote][p][bold]Chris Henderson[/bold] wrote: Why are so many people convinced that the answer to the lack of affordability of housing is to give permission to build more. There are lots of sites in the county with existing permissions where builders are progressing slowly because they can't sell the completed houses. As the developers are in total control of the speed of progress, they won't build so fast as to cause a drop in price as it would affect their profit. Much more of an influence on price is schemes like Help-to buy and the recent pension changes which will give a massive boost to the buy to rent sector.[/p][/quote]Could you define the sites in the county that have full permission and are progressing "slowly"? At the moment, in Oxfordshire, there are 263 new homes on the market (that are not part of "shared equity schemes". Of which just 64 are under £250,000. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -3

9:43am Sun 6 Apr 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

TobyB1960 wrote:
mytaxes wrote:
Why are there so many NIMBYs in Oxfordshire?
I don't think its the case of NIMBYism, but the total unrealistic building targets. Is the UK population really going to grow by 40% or more in the next 16 years? Is the UK population going to grow from 68 to 91 million in the next 16 years?
Of course not.

Later this year, Scotland is likely to vote for independence, this means within 18 months the population of the UK will probably drop between 5-6 Million.

Economically active people in Scotland will then be likely move to the economic power-houses of the South of England - increasing demand for houses even more.
[quote][p][bold]TobyB1960[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: Why are there so many NIMBYs in Oxfordshire?[/p][/quote]I don't think its the case of NIMBYism, but the total unrealistic building targets. Is the UK population really going to grow by 40% or more in the next 16 years? Is the UK population going to grow from 68 to 91 million in the next 16 years?[/p][/quote]Of course not. Later this year, Scotland is likely to vote for independence, this means within 18 months the population of the UK will probably drop between 5-6 Million. Economically active people in Scotland will then be likely move to the economic power-houses of the South of England - increasing demand for houses even more. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -4

10:53am Sun 6 Apr 14

brucklay227 says...

The Council aren't telling you that they have a site offered to build an entirely new Garden City from scratch which will accommodate all the immediate requirement for housing for now and for the next 30 years. It is in the heart of the Oxfordshire Scientific Vale, close to all strategic routes of rail and trunk roads; will provide everything in the needs of education and surgeries and light industry with retail too. Low cost housing , medium cost housing and higher cost housing can all be met. Beautifully planned and laid out it would have wooded and open spaces, lakes, pleasure amenities. Big question is; does the Council have the necessary foresight and vision to do this and save our villages and local towns for appallingly and hastily met bad planning ? Villages in threat need to come together and push the Council to adopt this plan in lieu of the the greatest mistake they are on the verge of making. Ask them about about this and they will push it aside and for only one reason. They don't have that vision.
The Council aren't telling you that they have a site offered to build an entirely new Garden City from scratch which will accommodate all the immediate requirement for housing for now and for the next 30 years. It is in the heart of the Oxfordshire Scientific Vale, close to all strategic routes of rail and trunk roads; will provide everything in the needs of education and surgeries and light industry with retail too. Low cost housing , medium cost housing and higher cost housing can all be met. Beautifully planned and laid out it would have wooded and open spaces, lakes, pleasure amenities. Big question is; does the Council have the necessary foresight and vision to do this and save our villages and local towns for appallingly and hastily met bad planning ? Villages in threat need to come together and push the Council to adopt this plan in lieu of the the greatest mistake they are on the verge of making. Ask them about about this and they will push it aside and for only one reason. They don't have that vision. brucklay227
  • Score: 2

1:34pm Sun 6 Apr 14

Gunslinger says...

TobyB1960 wrote:
mytaxes wrote:
Why are there so many NIMBYs in Oxfordshire?
I don't think its the case of NIMBYism, but the total unrealistic building targets. Is the UK population really going to grow by 40% or more in the next 16 years? Is the UK population going to grow from 68 to 91 million in the next 16 years?
Nobody is suggesting that, are they?

I assume the figures are based on estimates on the numbers of people expected to live and work in this area.
[quote][p][bold]TobyB1960[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: Why are there so many NIMBYs in Oxfordshire?[/p][/quote]I don't think its the case of NIMBYism, but the total unrealistic building targets. Is the UK population really going to grow by 40% or more in the next 16 years? Is the UK population going to grow from 68 to 91 million in the next 16 years?[/p][/quote]Nobody is suggesting that, are they? I assume the figures are based on estimates on the numbers of people expected to live and work in this area. Gunslinger
  • Score: -4

1:43pm Sun 6 Apr 14

Gunslinger says...

brucklay227 wrote:
The Council aren't telling you that they have a site offered to build an entirely new Garden City from scratch which will accommodate all the immediate requirement for housing for now and for the next 30 years. It is in the heart of the Oxfordshire Scientific Vale, close to all strategic routes of rail and trunk roads; will provide everything in the needs of education and surgeries and light industry with retail too. Low cost housing , medium cost housing and higher cost housing can all be met. Beautifully planned and laid out it would have wooded and open spaces, lakes, pleasure amenities. Big question is; does the Council have the necessary foresight and vision to do this and save our villages and local towns for appallingly and hastily met bad planning ? Villages in threat need to come together and push the Council to adopt this plan in lieu of the the greatest mistake they are on the verge of making. Ask them about about this and they will push it aside and for only one reason. They don't have that vision.
Why don't you say where this promised land is?

I assume you probably mean the previously proposed reservoir/airport site between East Hanney and Steventon, which is conveniently undeveloped having been blighted by these proposals for the past few decades?
[quote][p][bold]brucklay227[/bold] wrote: The Council aren't telling you that they have a site offered to build an entirely new Garden City from scratch which will accommodate all the immediate requirement for housing for now and for the next 30 years. It is in the heart of the Oxfordshire Scientific Vale, close to all strategic routes of rail and trunk roads; will provide everything in the needs of education and surgeries and light industry with retail too. Low cost housing , medium cost housing and higher cost housing can all be met. Beautifully planned and laid out it would have wooded and open spaces, lakes, pleasure amenities. Big question is; does the Council have the necessary foresight and vision to do this and save our villages and local towns for appallingly and hastily met bad planning ? Villages in threat need to come together and push the Council to adopt this plan in lieu of the the greatest mistake they are on the verge of making. Ask them about about this and they will push it aside and for only one reason. They don't have that vision.[/p][/quote]Why don't you say where this promised land is? I assume you probably mean the previously proposed reservoir/airport site between East Hanney and Steventon, which is conveniently undeveloped having been blighted by these proposals for the past few decades? Gunslinger
  • Score: -1

10:42pm Sun 6 Apr 14

train passenger says...

Chris Henderson wrote:
Why are so many people convinced that the answer to the lack of affordability of housing is to give permission to build more. There are lots of sites in the county with existing permissions where builders are progressing slowly because they can't sell the completed houses.
As the developers are in total control of the speed of progress, they won't build so fast as to cause a drop in price as it would affect their profit.
Much more of an influence on price is schemes like Help-to buy and the recent pension changes which will give a massive boost to the buy to rent sector.
Actually, no. The builders are building so slowly because the extremely limited amount of land made available has turned them into land speculators. Holding onto their land a little longer allows them to increase their profits much more than building another house. This is also the key reason why the building standard of new UK houses is so appalling (laughable perhaps the better word) compared to surrounding countries; builders gain more from land speculation than from building high-quality houses. This government, as well as the previous one, have the key to unlocking the problem but do not want to use it.
[quote][p][bold]Chris Henderson[/bold] wrote: Why are so many people convinced that the answer to the lack of affordability of housing is to give permission to build more. There are lots of sites in the county with existing permissions where builders are progressing slowly because they can't sell the completed houses. As the developers are in total control of the speed of progress, they won't build so fast as to cause a drop in price as it would affect their profit. Much more of an influence on price is schemes like Help-to buy and the recent pension changes which will give a massive boost to the buy to rent sector.[/p][/quote]Actually, no. The builders are building so slowly because the extremely limited amount of land made available has turned them into land speculators. Holding onto their land a little longer allows them to increase their profits much more than building another house. This is also the key reason why the building standard of new UK houses is so appalling (laughable perhaps the better word) compared to surrounding countries; builders gain more from land speculation than from building high-quality houses. This government, as well as the previous one, have the key to unlocking the problem but do not want to use it. train passenger
  • Score: 3

9:21am Mon 7 Apr 14

Leyland Tiger says...

Nimbyism is probably related to people fearing change. Trouble is, the Vale is a facing a massive population increase and people rightly are questioning that. Yes, it is harder today to get a foot on the housing ladder and I feel sorry for people in their 20/30s who have to deal with this but I don't think building more houses makes them affordable. If the price of something is high, increasing the availability of it doesn't equate to a lower price.
That said, I personally am not opposed to additional housing in our villages but politicians need to understand our transport infrastructure is hopeless! Deal with by sorting the station at Grove and if all this development is to happen, some big road improvements must happen. Even if everyone suddenly converts to using the buses or cycling, we don't have the road space currently!
Nimbyism is probably related to people fearing change. Trouble is, the Vale is a facing a massive population increase and people rightly are questioning that. Yes, it is harder today to get a foot on the housing ladder and I feel sorry for people in their 20/30s who have to deal with this but I don't think building more houses makes them affordable. If the price of something is high, increasing the availability of it doesn't equate to a lower price. That said, I personally am not opposed to additional housing in our villages but politicians need to understand our transport infrastructure is hopeless! Deal with by sorting the station at Grove and if all this development is to happen, some big road improvements must happen. Even if everyone suddenly converts to using the buses or cycling, we don't have the road space currently! Leyland Tiger
  • Score: 0

1:31pm Mon 7 Apr 14

FatherJack says...

The area chosen has its main access to Oxford and the A34 blocked by flooding every year. Increasing the traffic by 25% is going to make the simple job of getting around at least 25% worse.
Once the bus service to Matthew Arnold School is withdrawn there will be an additional surge twice daily to do the school run (Thank you Mr Hudspeth) and the Boars hill roundabout will be gridlocked.

Its not the fear of change, quite the opposite, its the fear the houses will be built but nothing else will be changed.

Address the problems BEFORE a single house is built and there will be much less resistance to a planning application.

A few keep clear boxes on the Boars hill roundabout would be a great start. But upgrading Sugworth lane and a new A34 southbound entrance slip road from the A4183 would improve access to Milton business park.
The area chosen has its main access to Oxford and the A34 blocked by flooding every year. Increasing the traffic by 25% is going to make the simple job of getting around at least 25% worse. Once the bus service to Matthew Arnold School is withdrawn there will be an additional surge twice daily to do the school run (Thank you Mr Hudspeth) and the Boars hill roundabout will be gridlocked. Its not the fear of change, quite the opposite, its the fear the houses will be built but nothing else will be changed. Address the problems BEFORE a single house is built and there will be much less resistance to a planning application. A few keep clear boxes on the Boars hill roundabout would be a great start. But upgrading Sugworth lane and a new A34 southbound entrance slip road from the A4183 would improve access to Milton business park. FatherJack
  • Score: 2

6:35pm Mon 7 Apr 14

HPG says...

How many are they dumping around the Didcot/Harwell/Milto
n area? For size of Vale, and there sticking mostly here, no way are the Vale using any of there money for infrustructor on roads, just houses!! They are dumping on other towns and expect them to pick up pieces!
So who be picking up the council taxes on these?
How many are they dumping around the Didcot/Harwell/Milto n area? For size of Vale, and there sticking mostly here, no way are the Vale using any of there money for infrustructor on roads, just houses!! They are dumping on other towns and expect them to pick up pieces! So who be picking up the council taxes on these? HPG
  • Score: 1

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