WALLINGFORD residents are now able to view a long-awaited plan for development in the town and provide feedback.

Consultation on the neighbourhood plan opened today, after a four year 'marathon' to get it ready. Public responses will then be used to update it ahead of a likely referendum in early 2019.

Mayor Lee Upcraft, who also sits on the steering group, is encouraging the public to take the 'final opportunity' to make their voice heard, before the plan is passed to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) to examine.

Oxford Mail:

Emphasising that passing the plan would give the town access to millions of pounds through the Community Infrastructure Levy, he said: "It lets the Town Council and community have a say over how planning decisions take place."

One potential complication with the plan – which will set out objectives and policies for new planning applications to be judged against until 2034, – is SODC's Local Plan, which is now in doubt after new leadership took over the authority. Wallingford's proposals have been prepared in accordance with the current Plan, which could now be changed.


However, Mr Upcraft is confident the issue will not impact the eventual passing of the plan, which proposes allocating Site E at Winterbrook for 502 homes.

He also praised volunteers behind the plan and said it would help 'defend against speculative housing development'.

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Wallingford District Councillor Sue Roberts said she 'welcomed the plan's progress', adding: "It has been a marathon effort and we owe a great debt to the hard-working citizens who have stuck the course and brought their expertise to this difficult task. The Plan is important as it creates a ‘magic circle’ around the town to protect it from hostile land-grabs by developers."

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Dr Roberts continued: "I hope we can change our emerging Local Plan and reduce the high targets to a level that we have a better chance of meeting.

"We have a lot of new housing coming (and) the Neighbourhood Plan seeks to smooth the incorporation of these new residents, whilst protecting and enhancing our town."

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An open consultation forum takes place on Saturday, September 28, in the Ridgeway Community Centre. The plan can also be downloaded from https://bit.ly/2Zl5blA