Historic Banburyshire hamlet seeks help for protection of World War II spying location
and live on Freeview channel 276
Nethercote, on the eastern side of the M40, is still breathing a massive sigh of relief after hearing that Cherwell District Council (CDC) has rejected a planning application for a huge commercial development over 50 acres on its doorstep.
Now it is asking the council to give Local Green Space (LGS) protection to the single-track road, Banbury Lane, which runs through the hamlet and has around a dozen residential properties along its length.
It was here, on an isolated bench outside The Willows in the early 1940s, that German spy Klaus Fuchs (codenamed Rest) met fellow Russian military intelligence agent Ursula Beurton (codenamed Sonya), to whom he gave secret atomic research. The two met regularly for the handover of highly confidential documents to be passed to the Soviets.
In a bid to protect the area of ancient plough and furrow pastureland into the future, the Keep Nethercote Rural group had asked the council to designate the entire 50 acres as a Local Green Space – but their request was denied because it was too big an area.
Now they have three weeks to build support to urge CDC to designate picturesque Banbury Lane as a Local Green Space (LGS).
Lisa Phipps of Keep Nethercote Rural group said: “For a LGS to meet the criteria it has to show significance for beauty, historic significance, recreational value, tranquillity and richness of wildlife.
“Nethercote was proposed as a LGS and has been rejected as the area proposed was too vast. Taking on board the feedback and considering other LGS areas in the area, our revised proposal will be submitted as part of the current Local Plan consultation, narrowing the proposed area to Banbury Lane through Nethercote.
"Banbury Lane is still often referred to as Blacklocks Hill and this refers to the history of the area and a time when this area saw a main route into Banbury, before the M40 and A422.
“We would love anyone who uses or values Banbury Lane for it’s heritage and biodiversity or enjoys using the lane for recreational purposes, to respond to the consultation to support the revised designation.
"Please be sure to tell the council know why this area matters to you and/or why you enjoy using it. Simply email your thoughts to [email protected].”
Cherwell’s Local Plan advice says: “Local Green Space designation affords local communities the opportunity to identify and protect green spaces of particular importance to them, subject to criteria being met as set out in national policy.
“Once designated, the level of protection given to Local Green Space is similar to that given to the Green Belt, preventing inappropriate development other than in very special circumstances.
“There are a number of existing designated Local Green Spaces in the district that have been created by Neighbourhood Plans. Local Green Space does not have to be publicly accessible, or in public ownership and designation does not confer any rights of public access.”