The Secretary of State has today approved the construction of 375 homes in the villages of Hook Norton and Bloxham.
The decision comes in response to appeals from developers after Cherwell District Council refused applications for 85 homes on Milton Road, Bloxham, 75 homes on Barford Road, Bloxham, 145 homes on land East of Bloxham at Salt Way, and 70 homes at Bourne Lane in Hook Norton.
The landmark decision rides roughshod over Cherwell District Council’s forthcoming local plan which aims to prevent further development south of Banbury and favours small in-fill village developments rather than large estates.
Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry who campaigned hard against applications said the decision was “the most disappointing Ministerial decision” he has seen affecting his constituency in over 30 years of serving in parliament.
Sir Tony said: “It is a decision that makes a complete nonsense of any Local Plan process.
“It seems to me perfectly reasonable for any local council to be able to decide what proportion of new housing should be built in towns and what proportion of new housing should be built in villages.
“It seems to me perfectly reasonable for local councils to be able to decide where in towns new housing should be built.
“The Secretary of State’s decision runs roughshod over any concept of localism or elected local councillors deciding where new housing should go through a Local Plan process.”
Sir Tony added: “I would hope that Cherwell will seek the advice of the barristers specialist in planning law who represented Cherwell at the planning appeals as to whether there are reasonable grounds to apply for judicial review because moreover these decisions not only affect Cherwell, by implication they affect every Local Authority in the country which at present doesn’t have in place a Local Plan.”
Sir Tony will lead public meetings this evening (Tuesday) at Hook Norton Memorial Hall at 6pm and Bloxham Parish Rooms at 7.15pm to present the decisions to villagers.