District Council November report
Published: 08 November 2021
Haseley Brook Ward - SODC Monthly Report - November 2021
Cllr Caroline Newton
SODC planning officers are continuing to work with developers in relation to the strategic sites contained in the Local Plan 2035. Homes England, the Government agency leading on the Chalgrove Airfield development, issued a statement on 3 Nov confirming it is still working with the Civil Aviation Authority, Environment Agency and Oxfordshire County Council towards “a revised strategy for the scheme in 2022”. It stated it is working on early delivery of new roads and junction improvements at Stadhampton/Chiselhampton and Cuxham, but did not refer to any other infrastructure elements or mitigations in the area.
Meanwhile, following the findings of two planning inspectors that SODC has lost its 5 Year Housing Land Supply, a number of applications and pre-apps for speculative major developments have been submitted to SODC. SODC is putting together evidence to demonstrate that it does have a 5YHLS, which would help the council fight off those proposals. Should it be unable to support that claim, it will be much harder for SODC legally to resist these additional applications.
The application for a solar farm (Cornwell) near Stoke Talmage was approved by Planning Committee in October. Two other applications (Harlesford, between Tetsworth and Great Haseley, and Dodswell, between Milton Common and Tetsworth) are still under consideration. In total these three solar farms cover well over 600 acres of arable farmland. Whilst I - like many people - welcome the growth of renewable energy, I am concerned about the cumulative impact of all these arrays on the local landscape and on our ability to grow the food we need. I am keen to hear residents’ views. Please look for my Facebook post (Cllr Caroline Newton page) and tell me what you think.
The Planning Enforcement team (historically better resourced than most comparable councils) remains very stretched - with 419 open cases, including 159 which have yet to be allocated to officers. Each officer has an average of 56 cases open. SODC is reviewing the process of enforcement to aid efficiency and help clear the backlog.
In this ward, a decision is still awaited on the appeal relating to Toll Lodge Farm, Tetsworth.
Fortnightly collections of garden waste (brown bins) started again on 1 November. A number of residents have experienced problems with the collection of waste bins. Please remember to report any uncollected bins before 5pm the following day: not only will Biffa then (hopefully!) come back and collect, but data on missed bin collections are a critical element of the monitoring of the contract.
You can report by phone on 03000 610610. Or by pasting this link into your search bar:
SODC and Vale have been at the forefront of developing a model to tackle homelessness, and have sought additional funding from Government for the ‘Housing First’ programme. In October there were 4 households in emergency accommodation in this district.
In South Oxfordshire, housing developments larger than 10 homes are expected to provide 40% of them as ‘affordable housing’. The target for 2021/22 is 280 affordable homes, of which 163 have been completed so far this FY.
Officers from South and Oxford City are continuing to discuss an operational agreement to meet some of Oxford’s ‘unmet housing need’. This is the legal obligation neighbouring councils have to help councils which are unable to find accommodation for their social housing tenants - and accounted for over 4000 of the homes allocated in the Local Plan 2035.
Work has started on a new tariff for hackney carriages in South Oxfordshire - a decision is expected to be made later this year.
South Oxfordshire’s gambling policy (which has to be renewed every 3 years) will be put to Full Council in December. The General Licensing Committee is recommending a ‘no casino’ resolution.
SODC is working with Oxford City Council to make it safer for young people to enjoy a night out in South Oxfordshire and in Oxford. The City has recently received a grant from the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund for projects around the night-time economy and safe travel, and is consulting with neighbouring councils about what measures young people would most like to see.