WODC councillors fight to protect green space from development

13 Sep 2023
WODC fight to protect green space from development

In February 2022, West Oxfordshire District Council unanimously refused a planning application to build 120 homes on The Moors in Ducklington, a greenfield site with a long history of flooding.

Ainscough Strategic Land won its appeal despite 300 objections and a fiercely fought campaign by villagers who also feared the village would sprawl into Witney.

Now the council and the Environment Agency have written an open letter to the land owners of The Moors advising that the flood risk to the site is to be re-evaluated.

This may have an impact on how many houses can be built there.

The council said it has since been working with the Environment Agency to explore evidence being presented by local residents. 

The letter tells the land owner and potential buyers that this evidence will now be reviewed and the authorities are also exploring options for improving the flood risk modelling for the site.

Subject to this it can be decided whether the Environment Agency’s flood risk mapping products need to be updated.

If the map is updated from the version used to grant the outline permission, it may change how many houses can be put on the site when the detailed plans are considered.

It may also require increased flood mitigation measures to be put in place.

Councillor Charlie Maynard said: “We’ve continued the fight for The Moors despite the planning inspector giving the go-ahead in January.

"We can’t allow nearly 300 people to be put in harm’s way. When this site floods it looks more like the Atlantic than West Oxfordshire.

“This action does not stop a sale of the site, but the EA is now reviewing the site afresh and this information must be shared with all potential buyers.”

Lidia Arciszewska, executive member for the environment, added: "It is important that as the local planning authority we do what we can to ensure the right housing is built in the right places.”

After Ainscough won their appeal Ducklington opposition Conservative Councillor Ben Woodruff resigned claiming WODC’s cabinet were to blame for failing to demonstrate a five year land supply due to their focus on “virtue signalling”.

Mr Woodruff told the Oxford Mail urgent questions about the proposed 120 home development were rarely asked at council meetings and argued the WODC cabinet was “too busy posting videos of themselves doing mundane things which have no consequence for anyone”.

Source: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/23777401.oxfordshire-fight-protect-green-space-development/