In this draft plan, SODC has included its intention to safeguard land for an Edge Road (Bypass) for Benson. This does not in itself secure an Edge Road but is an important step on the way. The link to SODC’s Plan is below and the relevant sections are Policy ‘TRANS3’ on page 112 and in Appendix 5 ‘Safeguarding Maps’, page 212.
URGENT NOTE – Due to changes made without notice to the Parish Council’s email service by their provider, Virgin.net, they have had to change the address for all email responses to the Benson Pre-Submission Plan. The new address to email with your comments is email@example.com. If you submitted your responses to the old email address after Monday 20th March 2017 your responses will not have been received, please re-submit them to the above address. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
Our Pre-Submission Plan is now available to view and comment on – see Pre-Submission Plan tab above for details.
Many thanks to everyone who attended last Friday’s meeting at the Parish Hall! It was ‘standing room only’ for many, so we are particularly grateful for your patience! The very high turnout of 356 parishioners and the animated debate that followed the initial presentation clearly demonstrates the level of concern in the village about the scale of potential development.
For those who could not make the meeting, there is a brief summary below of what took place. In addition, we will be holding 2 shorter drop-in sessions at the School this Thursday 9th Feb and Friday 10th Feb starting at 3pm – so if you’d like to know more, please come along!
Jon Fowler, The Benson Plan Chair, gave a presentation covering the following areas:
- Benson’s potential development landscape – covering all the approved, current and likely applications.
- The challenges posed by the number and scale of these to the village itself and to its infrastructure (in common with many other councils) to demonstrate that they have 5 years worth of land supply to deliver their housing quota, means that planning applications that are not technically ‘unsustainable’ have to be determined by SODC with ‘a presumption in favour of development’.
- What can be done/can we do to change this position? SODC are working to secure the required Land Supply; WE need to complete our Plan and get it through the formal, 6-month Consultation, Inspection and Referendum process by August.
- How did the Benson Plan Team approach the task of deciding where developments should/should not go – we employed a specialist consultancy and used their objective spatial approach to ensure our proposals are unbiased and difficult to challenge.
- The proposals made in our Plan – specifically that we should support (i) approx 80 houses on BEN2 and (ii) approx 25 houses on BEN7, subject to the rest of BEN7 being transferred to the Parish to afford much-needed burial ground.
- The supplementary proposals in the Plan to handle the emerging plan to build 3,000 homes at Chalgrove Airfield – if this goes ahead, the additional traffic generated will make an ‘Edge Road’ for Benson absolutely essential; and securing an Edge Road from developers will require us to support additional housing in BEN3/4.
- Plan timescales – we intend to submit the first draft for consultation this month. This is 3 months later than we originally planned, due to the late and unexpected requirement imposed on us for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and impacts on our Plan of the potential development of Chalgrove Airfield.
- What do we need from the village? We need everyone to understand what’s at stake, to recognise that the circumstances are far from ideal, but that we lose even more if we don’t act with pragmatism and urgency. So please support us to complete the Plan and get it adopted fast!
All these topics were then discussed in a lengthy Q&A session, particularly the importance of securing an Edge Road and the impact of additional housing on the School. We intend to put up the answers given to these and other important questions on an updated Frequently Asked Questions page on the Benson Plan website – available shortly.
At the end of the meeting, we held a show of hands for overall support of the Plan and our approach. The overwhelming majority supported the Plan, with just 12 against.
We also provided 200 printed Feedback Forms for attendees to complete and return to the Parish Hall. This was clearly not enough, given the size of the attendance, so we have uploaded the Feedback Form to the Plan website here. Please do print out and complete the form and either scan it and return electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop it through the letterbox at the Parish Hall. Or you can fill in the survey monkey form online here.
We plan to hold a Village Meeting to discuss our Draft Neighbourhood Plan on 3rd February at 7pm in the Parish Hall. See further information here
Benson as a community needs your support to define the future of our village. Our Neighbourhood Plan is nearly complete and we aim to submit it to SODC in February.
What are we asking you to do?
- Join us in Benson Parish Hall at 7pm Friday 3 February
- Hear how the Neighbourhood Plan has progressed and what is being proposed
- Give us your views on our proposals
- Above all we need your support to ensure the Neighbourhood Plan is adopted and carries weight in future planning decisions
Come along to the Parish Hall and encourage neighbours to come too. We need to complete the Benson Plan so we can take back some control of housing in our village! See the flyer here for further information on the event and the process.
- 6.45pm – Doors open – feel free to view the information boards before the presentation
- 7pm – Presentation by the Benson Plan Team on current progress
- 7.45pm – 8.30pm – Open Forum Q&A session. The Benson Plan Team will answer any questions you might have
- 8.30pm – 9pm – View the information boards and fill in a feedback form. Give us your views, we want to hear them.
We look forward to seeing you on the 3rd February (refreshments will be available – first glass of wine is free).
We plan to hold a Village Meeting to discuss our Draft Neighbourhood Plan on 3rd February prior to submitting the Plan to SODC for review shortly after that. Our timetable is tight and January is going to be very busy, so we wanted to ask for volunteers to help – initially in two areas …. though we may be back with further requests shortly!
- Help to transcribe comments from the Drop-in sessions– If our Plan is to have a strong influence on what gets developed in Benson, it needs to be evidence-based. Among other things, this means capturing accurately the input we receive from our community. At the last Drop-in session in early December, about 50 people submitted written comments, many of them quite lengthy, which we need now to transcribe to Microsoft Word. In order to make this a manageable task, it would be great if we could identify 3 or 4 volunteers to share the work. There will no doubt be several other ‘data capture’ exercises like this, so ideally we are looking for volunteers who would be prepared to repeat this exercise periodically!
- Desktop Publishing Skills– Following the village meeting on 3rd February, the Neighbourhood Plan Team will be pulling together all the strands of the plan into a single coherent document, together with photographs, diagrams, maps and supporting evidence. To help with this exercise, the team is looking for someone with desktop publishing experience and skills, who can manage the design, formatting and publication process. Please do let us know if you have these skills and would be able and willing to help!
If you can help us with either of these requests, just email us at email@example.com with your preferred contact details and we will get back to you.
There’s a lot of concern in Benson about planned new housing in the village and elsewhere in South Oxfordshire. Therefore there is a drop-in event planned for Saturday 3 December between 10am and noon at Benson Parish Hall to hear about:
- Updates on all the development sites in Benson
- The traffic impact of this housing on the area
- News on housing throughout South Oxfordshire
- Progress on the Benson Neighbourhood Plan
Please come along to the Parish Hall and encourage neighbours to come too. We need to complete the Benson Plan so we can take back some control of housing in our village!
Following the deferral of a decision by SODC at their 8th June committee meeting, the planning application for an additional 241 houses at Littleworth Road will be decided by SODC next week. If you are concerned about the proposed development there are two important actions that your Neighbourhood Plan Team would ask you to take:
- Attend the site visit on Monday 27 June at 2pm
The Planning Committee are due to visit the proposed development site at Littleworth Road and the village in general on Monday 27th June at 2pm. This is so that they can fully assess the planning application and get an idea of its position in the village and the impact it may have. It is really important that residents show the planning committee in a non-confrontational way that there are fundamental issues around both safety and sustainability to be addressed and considered and that we would like the Neighbourhood Plan to address future housing growth in Benson in the round. If you can make it, please turn up at 2pm at the farm entrance to the Littleworth Road site (about halfway down Littleworth Road).
- Attend SODC’s Planning Committee Meeting on Wednesday 29 June at 6pm
Following the deferral on 8th June and after deliberating their above visit, the SODC Planning Committee will make a decision on the West Waddy 2 application at a meeting on Wednesday 29th June at 6 pm. The meeting will be held at Didcot Civic Hall, Britwell Road, Didcot, OX11 7JN. Please come along to this meeting and help to show the strength of local feeling on this matter. You will not be required to speak at the meeting but it is essential that we show by our attendance what the village thinks.
Thank you so much to everyone who came along to the SODC Planning Committee this evening (Wednesday 8 June).
For those of you who were not able to attend we wanted to let you know some good news. SODC has decided to defer their decision on the second West Waddy application until they receive further detailed information and have an actual visit to the site.
Jon, Dave, Frank and Felix all fought our corner really well and gave a thorough overview of our objections and concerns (in the few minutes they were given).
All in all the SODC Planning Committee were very positive about the progress of the Benson Plan and seemed incredibly support of such Plans in general so please stick with us. We are being listened to.
The next steps to move our Plan forward are to get the results from the Housing Needs Survey and firm up the draft policies we’ve produced so far. We will also be talking to the various land owners / agents that have put sites forward for development.
Don’t forget the Benson Plan Drop-in Sessions are this weekend, Friday 10 June 7pm – 9pm and Saturday 11 June 10am – 2pm at the Parish Hall. Please come along to meet the Benson Plan team and find out where we are with the Plan and how you can still get involved. Your contribution will be really appreciated. This is YOUR village so tell us what you want.
Benson Plan – Urgent Deadlines
The planning application for an additional 241 houses at Littleworth Road will shortly be decided by South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC). If you believe that this further development is too big for a single site or is in the wrong place or will harm the village in other ways, there are two important actions that your Neighbourhood Plan Team would ask you to take:
- Write to SODC before Friday 3 June 2016
Please write to SODC objecting to the second application that West Waddy has submitted for the 251 houses (P16/S1139/O). This is simply a duplicate of their first application. It is really important that residents object to this application, even if they have already done so first time round, so that SODC remains fully aware of the strength of feeling in the village against this application.
If it’s easier, you can simply repeat what you said in response to West Waddy’s first application for the additional 241 houses. Alternatively you may wish to consider the following key points and write a new objection:
- The development does not fully comply with SODC’s Core Strategy policies CSR1, CSS1, CSQ3 and CSQ4.
- Substantial additional traffic and transport issues will be caused by the road layout and access points in West Waddy’s plan.
- The 241 extra houses will have a serious impact on key ‘infrastructure’ services in the village, in particular on the school and the surgery, and will worsen significantly the sewage escape problems already being experienced in some parts of the village.
- The number of houses combined with the proposed road layout changes to Littleworth Road will substantially increase the risk of flooding in an area which has recent and persistent history of flooding.
The closing date for comments to be with SODC is Friday 3rd June 2016.
- Attend SODC’s Planning Committee on Wednesday 8 June 2016 at 6pm
The SODC Planning Committee will be asked to approve the West Waddy application at a meeting on Wednesday 8th June at 6 pm. The meeting will be held at Didcot Civic Hall, Britwell Road, Didcot, OX11 7JN. Please come along to this meeting and show your support for the opposition to this application. You will not be required to speak at the meeting but it is essential that we show by our attendance what the village thinks! The more people that turn up the better.