North Hinksey PC has asked us if we are for or against a neighbourhood plan for our area. I sent in my consultation response this morning. Here’s what I said.
Both my husband and I are in favour of a Neighbourhood Plan for our area. I am willing to help.The PC’s letter claims there is no more undeveloped land in North Hinksey. In my opinion, that’s not quite true and is only part of the picture anyway. There is the very large plot up beside the A420 behind Elms Road and Hazel Road for potential housing development. Additionally, there are plans mooted to remove lands from the protected Green Belt status, which could escalate in coming years. Also, there will likely be many more applications to demolish one or two family homes to build blocks of flats. Also, there was the hotly debated Oxford Brooke’s University’s master plan to redevelop their campus, which I expect to hear more about in future. And of course, we have no locally produced plans to help West Way development to meet local needs; if the current application is refused, there may be an opportunity for us to be more proactive in defining what this community needs from the West Way shopping area.
Another benefit, and maybe the largest one for us, isn’t mentioned at all in your letter. If we have a NP in place, the parish will get a guaranteed and larger share of the CIL money that comes with every new development. This money is for the parish to use in any way it sees fit to enhance the quality of life in the parish. I don’t understand why the PC decided not to let people know about this aspect.
Creating a Neighbourhood Plan is a proactive step we can take that can help us control development in the parish.
My understanding is that the first step is for the PC to apply for a Neighbourhood Area designation. Nothing has to be in place prior to this. Once we have that status, then there is advice and help available for the next steps. This isn’t a commitment to anything except exploring the usefulness of a NP for North Hinksey.Your letter and the choices for feedback (all in or not interested at all) makes it sound like there are only two choices. IN or OUT of Neighbourhood Planning.
In reality, there’s a third choice: Take the first step of designating this a NP area, because there’s a lot of public interest, and then we can find ways to explore how this could benefit the community and take the next steps if appropriate. I would have voted to do that.
And finally, we have an area here that we call ‘Botley’, which is larger than just North Hinksey. Botley has shown a keen interest in planning issues in our area. Please consider whether it might be appropriate to collaborate with Cumnor Parish in this effort.
Deadline for reply is 15 April. You can email the parish clerk: firstname.lastname@example.org