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Land sale will pay off parish debts
ALLOTMENT land in Kidlington will be sold for housing to pay off the parish council’s cemetery debt.
Twenty-two homes could be built on the 1.75-acre parish council-owned site, with a further 20-plus affordable properties built on private land also used for allotments at Station Fields.
The sell-off will mean the loss of allotments, but a larger alternative site will be created next to Station Fields including extra plots to accommodate some of the 70 people on the council’s waiting list, the council said.
The council has said it will use cash from the sale of the land to pay off a loan taken out to pay for a new cemetery.
Kidlington Parish Council borrowed £114,000 in 2010 to buy two-and-a-half acres of farmland off Bicester Road.
Parish clerk Patricia Redpath said: “Any capital receipt will firstly pay off those loans giving the council £24,000 per annum to set against future budgets.
She said the extra council tax income from the homes would allow the council to pay for improvements in the village.
She said: “In 2007 the council carried out a health check which involved consulting the people of Kidlington on what they wanted to see for the future.
“The council has adopted these ideas in a ‘Vision for Kidlington’ which sets out the projects and services that are required over the next 25 years.
“Many of these ideas require financial investment and at present the council does not have the funding to do this unless it increases the council tax.”
She added that the council also planned to carry out improvements at Exeter Hall, a well-used community facility.
A meeting with allotment holders was held earlier this month, and parish council chairman David Betts said the response was mainly positive.
He said: “It was a very constructive meeting and I think in fairness the allotment holders in general responded very positively.
“It’s the older generation which is finding it a little harder to deal with, which is completely understandable.
“We’re trying to make sure we accommodate them as much as we can.”
Allotment holders transferring to the new site will be offered free rent for a year, helped with moving and there will be an overlap period.
Detailed plans will now be drawn up for the two sites, before a planning application is submitted to Cherwell District Council later in the year.