We apologise for deferring the village consultation for our Neighbourhood Plan so soon after having announced the dates of the consultation in the Bulletin. However, we will go ahead with a meeting about the Neighbourhood Plan in the Village Hall from 2–5 pm on 22nd November to give a full update on progress of the Plan, explain its benefits and limitations, and answer questions.
The reason for this is that until very recently nearly all the research and writing of the plan has been done by the volunteer Steering Group, with the advice of a representative of the VWHDC Planning Department. But we now have a professional planning adviser guiding us through a final review of the procedure, and he has only been in place for a few weeks.
His view is that we should commission a character assessment of the interior of the village, its open spaces and historical buildings. Many people feel strongly that the green centre of the village is one of the things that make Blewbury special, so this view has considerable support. This assessment will enable us to develop clearer and more effective planning policies for the centre of the village.
The new assessment will be done as quickly as possible but it is impossible to predict exactly how long this will take, so we will not announce a new date for the start of the village consultation until we are as sure as we can be that we are ready.
The official six-week village consultation on the draft Neighbourhood Plan will begin on Monday, 9th November (NOTE: now postponed). Six weeks will allow ample time for all villagers to review and discuss the proposed Plan, and to offer comments and feedback on the proposed policies. We’ll then update the draft based on your feedback before it is submitted to the Vale of White Horse District Council.
There will be a public event in the Village Hall on Sunday, 22nd November from 2–5 pm (still on!) to present the draft Plan and allow for open discussion relating to it. We will also be holding informal events to answer your questions, explain the complex rules that the Plan has to follow, and listen to your comments and suggestions. These informal events will be publicised on our website, Facebook, on posters around the village and by the Bulletin’s “Stop Press” email service.
We will be distributing a short, printed summary of the main features of the Plan to every household in the village early in the consultation period.
The full Plan will be available via this website, but if you don’t have easy internet access or would prefer to read it on paper, printed copies of the Plan will also be available for reading at a number of accessible village locations, including the Post Office, school, pre-school, surgery, the Melland Room at the Rec, the Benefice Centre, Didcot Library, both pubs, Style Acre, Dibleys and Ladycroft Park. Copies at the Post Office will be available to borrow for 24 hours.
A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will be available on our website to try and deal with common themes that are raised regarding the Plan and the long process it must go through before approval. Printed copies of the FAQs will also be available at the places listed above. You can ask your own questions via our website or Facebook page.
Comments and suggestions regarding the Plan are needed and very welcome! Come to our public event on 22nd November, submit them via this website or Facebook page, or by email to email@example.com, or by filling in a form at the Blewbury Post Office.
Remember, this is your Plan and it will only be adopted if a majority agree to it in a village referendum after the Vale has examined it, so please take the time to read it after 9th November and have your say.
The Neighbourhood Plan is now progressing quickly. The first full draft will be ready for the official six-week village consultation process that begins on Monday, 9th November (note that this is a week later than previously announced). This period will allow all villagers the chance to review the proposed Plan and to offer comments and feedback on the proposed policies before it is submitted to the Vale of White Horse Council.
As well as holding a formal event in the Village Hall on Sunday, 22nd November afternoon to present the draft Plan and allow for open discussion relating to it, printed copies of the Plan will also be available at a number of accessible village locations to allow those without access to this website to see the document. Feedback is strongly encouraged and very welcome, at the main event or at informal discussion events (full details to be announced in mid-October), via the website, or in person to members of the Plan’s Steering Group. We will also be adding a ‘frequently asked questions’ page to the website, to try and deal with common themes that are raised regarding the Plan and the process it must go through.
The Steering Group has been working on the Plan since the launch meeting, and we have been receiving assistance in going through this complex and legalistic process from the Vale of White Horse and external consultants. They have been very encouraging in their feedback on the work done to date.
Remember, this is your Plan and it will only be adopted if a majority agree to it in a village referendum, so please take the time to read it from 2nd November and have your say.
The independent landscape assessment of Blewbury and its surroundings, done for the Neighbourhood Plan, is now available. It examines possible building sites around the village. None is rated to have a capacity for new housing higher than ‘low’ (capacity for up to 10 houses) and the more sensitive areas are rated as ‘negligible’ (no houses) or ‘negligible/low’. There are three pdf files to look at: the main report and its appendices, an interesting set of maps, and photographs illustrating the different areas that were assessed. For a quick summary start at page 11.
Adding to the proposals for Chailey House (30 houses; full application now awaiting decision) and Woodway Road (now possibly reduced to 40 houses) has come a proposal from Landmaze Limited and Fluid Architecture for land west of Bessels Way, behind and beyond Cossicle Mead. Initial communication from them mentioned 80 houses, but at the exhibition they put on at the Village Hall on 24 June this had risen to 105 houses. There’s a range of sizes, and 35% would apparently be ‘affordable’. An unusual ‘sweetener’ is an offer to gift Church Moor, north of the church, to the village to use as a public open space.
At the exhibition comments from the public on the initial plans were invited; you can see much of the documentation that was shown and also leave comments on their website, fluid-design.co.uk/blewbury-application.
Due to the size of the development they will probably have to do an Environmental Impact Assessment so it may be some time before a formal proposal is submitted.
(Updated 14 May 2015) Thanks to all who came out to the feedback event on 28th February at the village hall. The day was a huge success with well over 100 people attending across both sessions and plenty of excellent questions and discussion points.
As promised, we are sharing the exhibition display materials for all to download and review at leisure:
PowerPoint slides (includes an explanation of the terminology used in the landscape analysis)
The discussion from those who attended the two presentations is summarised here:
We have put up a short summary of the hundreds of comments people wrote in their surveys:
You can also download the full Housing Needs Survey results, with data for all questions rather than the few we highlighted at the event:
The Neighbourhood Plan will be a vital document in controlling the future development of the village:
This requires full participation from residents. Many thanks to everyone who completed the Housing Needs Survey before Christmas. We had a response rate of over 62%, which is excellent.
On 28th February the results of both the Survey and the Landscape Appraisal will be presented. You can see and hear the village’s views about future development, and also learn what impact Blewbury’s unique local landscape could have on future planning decisions. We will also give an update on the wider progress of the Neighbourhood Plan.
All of this will be on display throughout the afternoon. But, most important of all, we need your views on progress and on the next stages. You can make your views heard at either of the two presentation sessions, at 2.30 pm and 6.00 pm.
2.00 pm – 7.00 pm: Boards on display showing results
2.30 pm: First panel discussion and Q&A session
6.00 pm: Second panel discussion and Q&A session
The two panel discussions will have the same format so no need to attend both.
Tea and biscuits will be served. We look forward to seeing you there!
This note – updated on 9 January 2015 – covers the village survey that people filled in during October and November, our landscape appraisal, and the latest news about the proposed development to the west of Woodway Road.
Village housing needs survey: The response to our survey was excellent. Thanks to everyone who filled in the form, and also to the volunteers who distributed it. The data are now being analysed and results will be available early in the New Year at a public event.
Landscape appraisal: The appraisal is nearly finished. It will form an important part of the final plan. Other work in preparation for the plan is also well underway.
Proposed development to the west of Woodway Road: The developers asked the Vale of White Horse Council whether they would need to do a full environmental impact assessment (EIA) before submitting a planning application. On 9 January a decision that they would need an EIA was announced. This will take some time. Click here for more information and a link to the submitted documents and the full decision.
The new Vale of White Horse Local Plan 2031 is now on the VWHDC website. Every household in Blewbury should have already received a leaflet about this new Local Plan in their letterbox.
The Local Plan is a key planning document that will help guide development decisions in the Vale until the year 2031. It is a large document, so it has been broken down into five parts plus appendices to make it easier to download.
The Vale is now preparing to send this plan to the Secretary of State to be examined. There is a consultation period so we can all read the plan and provide comments on how it was put together and whether it is appropriate, achievable and in line with the government’s policies on planning.
The consultation closes at 4.30pm on Friday 19 December. Comments will be sent alongside the Local Plan and will be considered by the planning inspector during a public examination next year.
This document is actually Part 1 of 2. It is called Strategic Sites and Policies, and is the big picture – for example, it only covers developments of more than 200 dwellings. Part 2, Detailed Policies and Local Sites, will go into more detail and also cover smaller developments; it will appear only after Part 1 has been approved.
How to Fill Out the Kler Leaflet and info on the BNDP Survey
Our survey and research expert Anne Millman on the BNDP team has put together some helpful advice and info: