HAVE WE WON?
We'd like to think so. Thursday's announcement that the Government had chosen NW Bicester as a site for an eco-town and not Weston Otmoor came as a huge relief but to no surprise. In the document released by DCLG it gives the following key weaknesses of the Weston Otmoor location:
The disappointment is that it's taken the Government over two years to acknowledge the obvious!
The Location Decision Statement gives the reasons why the sites were chosen or rejected and these are as follows:
North West Bicester -
Decision: The location has the potential to meet the sustainability and deliverability requirements to be successfully developed as an eco-town.
Weston Otmoor -
Decision: This location has not demonstrated the potential to meet the sustainability and deliverability requirements for successful development as an eco-town at this time.
Should we read anything into the words "at this time"?
We know that the developers have a 15 year option on the land.
There would be nothing to stop Parkridge (or anybody else) submitting a revised plan - unlikely bearing in mind the sustainability and deliverability requirements, and if they did so, it would need to go through the local planning process. Cherwell are unlikely to look favourably on such a proposal bearing in mind the support they are giving the NW Bicester proposal. A few months ago DCLG did say that we could have either Weston Otmoor or NW Bicester, BUT NOT BOTH. There's no certainty that NW Bicester will actually be built.
We we may be in for years of smaller planning applications on the Weston Otmoor site.
So Weston Front will continue to assess the implications and keep a watching brief.
Since the announcement we have received numerous messages and emails of thanks for what Weston Front has achieved. You can read some of them here. We thank you for your kind words.
But please don't forgot that this has not just been us - you have played a major part in the fight. Remember the results of the Parkridge Roadshow Survey - 86% of people who responded to the questionnaire didn't want Weston Otmoor - that's you!
Time to celebrate!
FOOTNOTE: October 2011
Parkridge Holdings, the developer involved in the Weston Otmoor proposals went into administration in August 2011
Weston Otmoor is No Moor
Common sense prevails as Weston Otmoor is given the thumbs down and NW Bicester is put in the Government's top four eco-town proposals. So have we won?
See Comment on this page.
Cherwell promote NW Bicester
On the afternoon of the Eco-Town announcement, Cherwell CDC held a meeting for interested parties on how to make NW Bicester a reality. Present were representatives from Cherwell and the proposed developers (P3Eco). But it won't be plain sailing - landowners from Bucknell are preparing to sit tight!
See CDC Statement
E-Day set for Thursday 16th July
The Government issued a Press Release this morning (13th) that the announcement on the Eco-Town Planning Policy Statement will be on Thursday, July 16th. Sites could well be categorised into - "Supported", "Not Supported", "Needs more work" - July 2009
Weston Airfield - look no further
Defence Estates, the Government Agency that looks after land and property belonging to the MOD have been told to discontinue looking for an alternative to the Weston on the Green Airfield dropping zone. The airfield is critical to Parkridge's proposal and without it the whole proposal becomes non-viable. - July 2009
Parkridge attempt to meet Ministers
Correspondence recently released by the Government under the Freedom of Information Act show Parkridge attempting to meet Ministers after the Consultation period had closed. John Healey, Minister of State for Housing refuses, indicating it is inappropriate at this stage. - June 2009
Landowner in dispute with Natural England
Local landowner Adrian Wilcox from College Farm, Bletchington, and working with Parkridge, is upset by the negative assessment Natural England gave the Weston Otmoor proposals. In response NE state that they have concerns that the eco-town proposal would have a negative effect on the two SSSIs and that the developers have not demonstrated that the development will not have a detrimental affect on the hydrology of the area. - June 2009
Weston Front Consultation Response
April 30th was the deadline for people and organisations to submit the responses to the Consultation process.
Cherwell D.C. Executive knocks Weston Otmoor for six
At a crowded meeting of the Executive last night, CDC confirmed that Weston Otmoor would be a disaster for Bicester and Kidlington but warned that as far as the Government were concerned it was still very much an option. See report and 10 Point Plan for NW Bicester
Parkridge counters support for NW Bicester
With Oxfordshire C.C. meeting at the end of the month to make a decision on whether to support the NW Bicester eco-town proposal, Parkridge have written to County Councillors with a 13 page document spelling out what they see as the negative aspects of NW Bicester and how Weston Otmoor will deliver everything that NW Bicester has to offer and more.
Weston Otmoor - "like a phoenix ready to rise out of the ashes of assessment reports"