Time for more community action? It seems so from July’s Town Council meeting. With detailed plans imminent for the big 1000+ home expansion at East Chipping Norton (Tank Farm), the Town Council are about to publish their own ‘Vision Statement’ report for the development with ambitious goals for a 21st century design, embracing zero carbon ideas, for a positive impact on Chippy for jobs, homes and services. All households – and key leaders at County and District – should get a copy.
But it’s Oxfordshire County Council, the main land owner, who, with developers, will submit an official Master Plan. The Town Council want OCC to commit to ‘future proofing’ homes to low carbon and best standards, but fear the County’s need to ‘get best value’ will simply mean short term financial gain from land sales. Meanwhile, the Town Council want WODC, as planning authority, to demand the best environmental standards and adopt other ideas from the Vision Statement in official planning guidance
Last but not least, the Town Council are angry that WODC are now saying they will not charge developers any new ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’, on each Tank Farm house built, to fund community facilities. Back in 2016, WODC’s calculations for CIL at Tank Farm included around £10m for local use including up to £2m going to the Town Council for them to spend. WODC’s latest report how says this is not ‘viable’ (ie Developers and Landowners cannot afford it).
WODC are simply reverting to using only the old Section 106 funding which, town and district councillors say, is not transparent, agreed ‘behind closed doors’, probably insufficient and influenced too much by developers. WODC are currently consulting publicly on these latest moves. See WODC’s website for details. The Town Council say they will submit a strong response and want the public to do so as well. Responses are required by 21 August.