Residents respond to Cherwell’s local plan

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THERE has been a mixed reaction from Banbury residents and business leaders to Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan which was featured on the front page of last week’s Banbury Guardian and is now open for public consultation.

The plan, which if approved, could set the tone for development in Banbury until 2031, outlines proposals for 16,750 new homes in the district and earmarks the Central M40, Canalside and Upper Heyford sites for commercial and industrial use.

Claire Kingsbury, chairman of Banbury & District Chamber of Commerce, said the proposals were positive but raised questions about the amount of land being made available for employment.

She said: “I think the plans are positive and good for the area.

“The council are looking at releasing more land for businesses which is good and definitely needed.

“But the amount of land being set aside for industry and commerce is light for Banbury.”

She added: “It’s difficult in town at the moment for large companies coming into the area to find the right piece of land at the right price. If they build residences on Canalside, businesses in that area will be losing their sites and there are no proposals for units that size anywhere else.”

In a letter to the Banbury Guardian, Bodicote resident Jenny Glynn described her “incredulity” at the council’s proposals for 16,750 new homes.

She said: “Anyone living on or near the Oxford Road already has to endure the constant ear-shattering screaming of sirens from emergency vehicles as well as suffer the toxic traffic fumes that pollute the air.

“We in Bodicote are expected to take the lion’s share of the house building. We’re then also expected to take a share of the 500 homes to be divided between six villages.”

Malcolm Finch recently founded the Hanwell Fields Development Action Group to campaign for the protection of green belt land north of the town.

He has produced a list of ten key objections to the local plan and claims the public are being misled about the numbers of houses that need to be built.

He said: “In 1997 they were saying nothing was to be permitted north of the Dukes Meadow site but now these plans allow for development there.

“We need to check out the legality of that.”

He added: “We also need to make sure proper ecology surveys have been taken out in any area that is to be developed.

“There are at least three protected species such as adders, dormice and skylarks in the area north of Hanwell Fields.”