Category Archives: Consultations

Vale’s BIG 3 consultation

Between now and 19 December (at 4:30pm, precisely), you can have your say on three key Vale Planning policies.

Here’s what the Vale’s own official notifications say:

1. The Local Plan 2031 Part One: Strategic Sites and Policies looks at strategic planning across the Vale up until 2031. The plan provides guidance on the provision of land for 20,560 new homes in the district from 2011 to 2031. This is the final consultation on the Local Plan 2031.

2. The Vale of White Horse Design Guide Review provides guidance to decision makers and those wishing to develop housing on the rules we will use to assess high quality, well designed homes and neighbourhoods in our district.  This is so we create successful places that people want to live and work in.

3. The Vale of White Horse Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule.This is the first of two consultations on the charging schedule. CIL is a mechanism that we can use to raise funds from new development to provide infrastructure which is required to support the new development across our district.

To see the Local Plan 2031 and supporting evidence:

To see the Design Guide:

To see the CIL charging schedule:

To participate in the consultation, (you need to register once only to use the consultation site)


Dorics Plans – Do my old comments still apply?

I had a letter from a resident wondering if this consultation, the third about the Doric plans, will still consider previously submitted comments. I thought if one person had this question, others might too.

Here’s the question:

Do the (900+) objection letters submitted in the last round still carry weight or is the new application by Doric seen by the authorities as separate? In other words, if there are fewer objection letters this time round, will the assumption be that there is less opposition?

Here’s my reply:

All the previous objections still stand–it’s still the same application.

The idea is that Doric may think they’ve addressed some of the material planning considerations raised so far. So we can comment on that, or on anything else actually.

Basically, if you have something new to add, log another comment.

Vale planning officers fully understand how unpopular this proposal is. What they track is the essence of the objection. If enough of them aren’t addressed, there’s a better chance it will be refused.

(What I meant in that last line was if enough of the material planning considerations raised so far aren’t addressed by Doric in their amendments, then those material considerations are still valid, and are reasons for refusal.)


My comments for the AQAP consultation

Here’s what I said in my comments in the consulation for the Air Quality Action Plan. Consultation continues through the 15th of August.

See the draft AQAP and comment here: (If you haven’t previously registered on the Consultation portal, you’ll need to do so.)

I could have just referred them to my previous blog posts.

Do you have any comments on the actions proposed?

At the most recent Scrutiny Cttee meeting, it was made very clear that the only area where air pollution currently exceeds the EU threshold is Botley. (There was some confusion and error about Marcham, but that is being handled separately.) Abingdon does not currently have air pollution above the threshold, so no action is required there.
I represent the people of Botley, and I have been asking for this Action Plan for the past year. For that long wait, we are rewarded with only one suggestion about how to improve the air quality where I live: build a higher wall between the A34 and homes nearby. A disappointing effort that couldn’t have taken more than an hour to produce.
For Botley, surely professionals in air quality management would have more suggestions?
There are many, many potential solutions for Abingdon, where the Cabinet member has said no probem currently exists.
I’ve heard some councillors sigh as they shake their heads. ‘It’s very hard.’ Yes, it is. Low hanging fruit has alreeady been plucked, and now the brave work has to begin. in my opinion, it is not an option to do nothing. Excess pollution affects peoples health and lives. In fact, aren’t we legally lliable to take mitigating action? The Vale must seek collaboration from the other stakeholders and find some solutions.

Are there any other actions that we should pursue?

Plant lots of trees. Trees are demonstrably successful at absorbing air pollution between roads and houses.
Ban polluting vehicles from the A34. Have them go round the ring road.
Promote in some creative way low emmmission vehicles.
The report says pollution comes from the A34. It’s not clear how this is known, beyond it being the obvious source. (Certainly the poluuted areas are next to the A34). What about diesel vans on Westminster Way?
Ban HGVs and LDVs on Westminster Way.
Slow down traffic on the A34.
Put a cover over the A34 to contain pollution and treat it before expelling it into the air.
Have a solution contest and give a good prize to the best idea.
Get the view of experts. We aren’t unique here in Botley. Surely there is something that can be done.

Local Plan Consultation Results?

16 July 2014 full council meeting.

Question from Councillor Debby Hallett to Councill Mike Murray, Cabinet member for planning policy:

The Vale consulted on its draft Local Plan 2029 in February 2013. How many responses were received, and could the Cabinet member please tell me when the consequentional changes made to the first draft Local Plan 2029 will be made public, and how he intends to highlight what has changed between the drafts?

He said, and I scribbled:

Report was published Feb 2014 that told us 2340 reponses from 500 people and organisations. The next draft will be published later this year. The consequential changes will be part of that draft.

My supplementary question:

What does the Cabinet member see as the purpose of his Local Plan Consultations? That is, what is the overall intention of Consultations?

He repeated the official line, that’s it’s to get opinion of the public to inform decision making.

My bet is that Doric’s contribution to the Local Plan 2029 we consulted on will still be in there, in spite of many of us reponsing that it wasn’t our vision for Botley.

I’ve also sent a query as to the status of Oxford Brooks University’s Master Plan. It was in the first draft as a Supplementary Planning Document, but was put on hold in July 2013.

Air Quality Action Plan consultation

(Update 24 Jul 14 – this is coming to Scrutiny tonight. We’ve heard today that they were in error in leaving out Marcham from this plan. Will be ‘falling on their swords’, aplogising and submitting an amendment.)

The Vale has launched its public consultation for their Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP).

Comments are welcome through Friday the 15th of August.

From their announcement:

Generally, air quality in the district is very good, but we have areas where, due to traffic issues, air pollution is close to or exceeds the levels set in European and UK regulations. 
When that happens, and we’ve established there’s a risk of the public being significantly exposed to the pollution, we have to create what’s known as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).  We then have to come up with an action plan that sets out how we will work with others who have the power to make the necessary changes to tackle the air quality problems in these areas. 


See the draft AQAP and comment here: (If you haven’t previously registered on the Consultation portal, you’ll need to do so.)