Vale of White Horse District Council
Vale Planning Register
To find the documents and decisions related to particular planning applications, click here to reach the Vale’s Planning Register. This provides a comprehensive search facility: if you know the application’s reference number you can put it in; you can search by location (e.g. Blewbury) and period of time submitted; or see a list of very recent applications all over the Vale; or select the location on an interactive map.
The new Local Plan 2031
The new, proposed Vale of White Horse Local Plan 2031 is available on the VWHDC website. Every household in Blewbury should have received a leaflet about this new Local Plan in their letterbox in November 2014.
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. Various documents that will be submitted together with the actual Local Plan 2031 are also downloadable as pdfs from the same web page, which also includes a link to the existing Local Plan 2011.
The Vale submitted the new Local Plan to the Secretary of State in March 2015, along with comments received during the public consultation that ended in December 2014. It is being considered by the planning inspector during a public examination and should be approved soon. This covers how it was put together and whether it is appropriate, achievable and in line with the government’s policies on planning.
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.
Blewbury Neighbourhood Plan
The Vale’s Blewbury Neighbourhood Plan page has information relevant to our own plan as well as links to other communities’ Neighbourhood Plans. (Note that this is not the same as our own web page.)
Other Neighbourhood Plans
Drayton (near Abingdon) started their plan in September 2012, so they are a long way ahead of Blewbury. It is a very different village to Blewbury, but we can still learn from this site.
Drayton’s Plan is now in effect, but it took a long time. Their first meeting was in September 2012 and their community questionnaire was in July 2013. Public consultation on the Plan was completed in July 2014 and a final revised version of their Neighbourhood Plan was submitted to the VWHDC in September 2014 for examination. It was passed by referendum in March 2015, but only became part of the Vale’s local plan in July 2015, nearly three years after they started.
April 2014: Woodcote votes yes! to Neighbourhood Plan!
Woodcote is particularly relevant to Blewbury because it is a similar size and type of village, and is also in an AONB. Woodcote’s Neighbourhood Plan went to referendum on April 3rd 2014 following a successful independent examination.
Great Coxwell’s Neighbourhood Plan is also worth looking at, because unlike Woodcote they have not tried to specify sites for future development.
Vale of White Horse Residential Design Guide SPD
The council has now adopted two more Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) – Residential Design Guide and Sustainable Design and Construction. These were adopted by Council on 9 December 2009. The complete Residential Design Guide is very large, so only the Contents is available on this web site: VWH Residential Design Guide Contents (pdf). The other sections of the guide are available here.
The VWHDC Sustainable Design and Construction SPD is much shorter: VWH Sustainable Design and Construction (pdf).
The Vale has produced a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA). This identifies sites that might be suitable for housing, but note that these are not the subject of planning applications and the landowners have not been consulted. A page with links to the main report and to appendices for various towns and villages – including Blewbury – is here.
Planning Portal and Localism
The Planning Portal is the UK Government’s online planning and building regulations resource for England and Wales. Its Neighbourhood Planning pages include information about the Localism Act (2011), which introduced new rights and powers to allow local communities to shape new development by coming together to prepare neighbourhood plans.
A plain English guide to the Localism Act
The gov.uk website includes this guide (pdf) to the Localism Act of 2011.