Village views sought for Bloxham’s plan

Bloxham Neighbourhood Plan. From the left, John Groves, co-ordinator, Sue Slater, Jenny Yates and Stephen Phipps in Barford Road. NNL-150120-120812009
Bloxham Neighbourhood Plan. From the left, John Groves, co-ordinator, Sue Slater, Jenny Yates and Stephen Phipps in Barford Road. NNL-150120-120812009

Bloxham’s draft neighbourhood plan limits the number of new houses in the village to just 20 in the next 15 years.

The relatively small amount of development aimed for has been calculated because of an unexpectely high number of new homes given planning consent on appeal.

The new blueprint for Bloxham to 2031 demands that the village’s rural character be preserved and that ‘creeping urbanisation’ is avoided.

Residents have until February 22 to comment on the draft plan and all are invited to a consultation meeting at the Ex-Servicemen’s Hall on Saturday, February 14 from 10am-1pm where they can ask questions and find out more about the plan.

Parish council chairman Geoff Mollard said: “The village has seen huge growth in recent years and still has 225 permissions for houses in the coming few years.

“Because of this the plan is advocating only 20 extra dwellings over the next 15 years, but with the existing permissions this will still make Bloxham one of the fastest-growing villages in the district.”

Bloxham’s planned growth will mean the village will expand by 41 per cent in just six years and the community is worried that infrastructure is not being improved and may not be able to cope.

Mr Mollard said: “There is great concern at the way development is outpacing the supporting infrastructure. Loss of water and electricity are all too common. Traffic levels and narrow pavements discourage walking and cycling.

“The primary school, which the county council says it will not expand, will not be able to accommodate all Bloxham children from the coming developments and there are also concerns with the capacity of Bloxham’s health facilities.

“The village has seen a number of flooding incidents and the plan seeks to insist developers avoid building in flood-prone areas and design dwellings that can survive temporary drainage problems.”

Mr Mollard said the plan wants developments to be actively designed to encourage ‘micro busineses’ where people can work from home.

“We also seek to avoid selling off land associated with employment for housing use,” he said.

“We recognise the increasing demand recent expansion will make for proper sport and recreation facilities and the plan supports an additional all-weather sports area and an upgrade to the Jubilee Hall.

“The plan remains engaged in identifying spaces that are important to the village, either because of recreational use or visual impact, with a view to adding additional protection.”

Anyone wanting to see a copy of the plan can go to bloxhamparishcouncil.co.uk or collect one from the business centre, doctors’ surgery, pharmacy or post office.

Forms with responses, comments and recommendations for changes to the plan can be posted back via boxes at the same locations.