Here are some comments sent in by supporters of the Weston Front

 

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Some of the many messages of thanks received since the announcement on 16th July 2009
  • CONGRATULATIONS!!  Without your unbelievable hard work and dedication the Weston Front would never have happened and this result would never have been achieved.  The whole of Weston on the Green owes you a massive thank you and I can't tell you how much I, for one, have appreciated the tireless efforts of all the committee, led by you three.
    Many, many congratulations and let's hope this will be the end of it, though I'm afraid I'm not very optimistic ...
    Now you can enjoy a large drink and a worry-free weekend!
  • Dear Bob, Warmest possible congratulations to Ant, you and your team. What a relief!
    You have put so much effort into this over a very long time. We are all most grateful.
  • Dear all , WELL DONE ! you all deserve a very large drink. You have put in soooooooo much work and it is entirely thanks to you that this attempt to ruin our community in the name of individual greed has been thwarted.
    However might I echo you words of caution in suggesting that we now move to "Phase 2". The permanent removal of this threat .
    Might I suggest that we now use this positive energy to lobby for a change in the status of key areas of this land ( owned by our good friends who have been only to happy to sell out their village for personal gain). If we can get small chunks of this land both surrounding the village and across the road designated as high grade conservation areas surely this will make further attempts ( during the next labour administration ?2015) almost impossible?
    Let us not forget that Parkridge /Prologis will be "on the up" by then if they weather this storm, and will have helped  fund the next labour admin back into power . They are nothing if not tenacious and will certainly only view this as a "temporary set back". Also remember they have paid a retainer to all the land owners for 15 years ! ( verbally confirmed by one of owners) ...these people play the long game ...... so should we!
    Thank you for everything ,if you need help with planning / funding party please give me a shout .
  • Dear Bob (and all members of the committee)
    This is such good news!  However I also noted the sting in the tail “at this time” and will be asking for clarification.
    A big thank you to all who were involved in Weston Front!
  • Dear Bob,Congratulations to you, Tony Henman and all members of Weston Front who worked so hard to keep our village a VILLAGE and not an ECO-TOWN.
    Thank you guys for all the hard work you have put into this campaign. Let us hope this is the last we will hear of this ridiculous scheme.
  • I've just heard the fantastic news, that the "Eco" town will not go ahead
    at Weston OT Green.
    A huge thankyou to you and the other Weston-Front stalwarts, who have
    worked so hard over the last year and more, in raising everyone's
    awareness of the impending threat to our quality of life, galvanising
    people into action, and finally, getting the ridiculous Weston-Front
    proposal rejected.
  • To Tony Henman and all the Weston Front:
    How can we ever thank you all enough for the magnificent victory in a battle
    so valiantly fought.  You will go down in the annals of rural history as the
    saviours of our precious bit of England!
    I have just peeled off my car sticker!

 

JR Proceedings:

Just to say how disappointed we all are for you guys. There really did seem to be a chink of sense shining but the DCLG's bulldozer has eradicated that for the time being. Thanks for putting up such a valiant fight and let us know if there is anything you feel might help on a wider national front. So back to business as usual and hopefully you will have shaken the Gov sufficiently for it to seriously think about its next move on the eco-town front. I think we can all provide a very unified suggestion! (27-Jan-09)

This is an extract from one of many emails received over the last few days expressing disappointment that we'd lost but offering support to us (and other goups in a similar position) and a determination to continue the fight. We thank everybody for your continued support.

 

 

Firstly let me say while I support the campaign I am not against building in the countryside, far from it. I believe we need more rural housing and that the present system works to the detriment of small communities. I also believe that it partly as a result of poor rural planning, indeed its failure that the government needs to hoist sprawling new towns on Greenfield sites such as that proposed for 'Western Otmoor'.  A more sensible planning system is needed.

Having just carefully read through the content of your website, I would like to give you an especially strong round of applause for what you are doing :o)
I have been meaning to somehow contact your group for sometime actually, having read about your protests for some time, since the 'eco-town' was first mentioned in the local press. You cannot begin to imagine how strongly I feel about this disgraceful issue, I am very much a nature lover and ecological issues have always been something I have felt strongly about since I was a child (some years ago now!) and the destruction of so much natural land here is disgraceful.

Although I live in Bicester, I was born and grew up in Kirtlington as a child, and the Cherwell Valley has always been a beautiful home for me. As if the disgraceful construction of the M40 wasn't bad enough, our capitalist government now wants to profiteer from this scheme, a scheme for which it seems to have 101 excuses.
I actually wrote to Tony Baldry MP back in the summer, something I rarely do! As I told him then, I strongly support his efforts in fighting against such a destructive, unnecessary and damn right capitalist scheme in what is fast becoming the huge scale development of 'Bicester City'! As I wrote to him, this eco-town is just ultimately a profiteering scheme for the government to make big financial gains from a variety of new sources, homes, industrial plots, increased road traffic, MORE shopping outlets (ARRGH! The two word sentence I detest more then any other in the English language, is 'Bicester Village'!!!!), schools and businesses... and all against the will of the people who REALLY matter, the generations of long standing Cherwell locals who want their homeland left alone. Again, I strongly applaude you all for what you are doing, ecological issues matter a great deal to me, that's the kind of person I am I guess... especially when on my 'home patch'!
Oh, let's not forget the plans to build the incinerator at Ardley too, by the way! (Received 31-10-08)

 

The newspapers are saying that the Government have backed down on eco-towns. Is that correct? Have Weston Front won their battle to stop Weston Otmoor?

(one of a number of similar queries we received today (27-10-08)

Far from it I'm afraid. There are rumours (see the home page to this website) but that's all they are and until the Government make an announcement the battle goes on. I would have thought it financial suicide for Parkridge to continue in the present economic climate and on paper Weston Otmoor doesn't look financially viable anyway. But since the press article both the Government and the developers have indicated that they intend to continue. So Weston Front will continue to campaign against it.

Firstly let me say while I support the campaign I am not against building in the countryside, far from it. I believe we need more rural housing and that the present system works to the detriment of small communities. I also believe that it partly as a result of poor rural planning, indeed its failure that the government needs to hoist sprawling new towns on Greenfield sites such as that proposed for 'Western Otmoor'.  A more sensible planning system is needed.

Thanks to those people from Weston Front who organised the Bangers & Flash Evening last week at the Ben Jonson! A great social event and good to see so many people coming to support your excellent campaign. Let's hope it's all worthwhile!!!

We received a number of similar comments such as this - thank you for your continued support!

I used to support SHELTER but not now. I've just read their Weston Otmoor - Eco-town - The Facts document. Did the government give them money to produce this? A nice glam document with pretty pictures but when you read it, it's obvious they don't understand the real issues regarding Weston Otmoor.

Having spent some time in England two years ago I am upset to hear what the goverment is going to do to the beautiful village of Weston-on-the-Green. You have so much history there I sincerely hope that you win your fight. (from Australia)

This evening is the first time i visited the weston front web site, and i saw the pictures of Beecroft's land that has just been ploughed up, i can tell you this was not for the visit of caroline flint, but to put it back to arable as it has been in set aside for such a long time. There comes a point where the land needs to be maintained, everyone moans about farmers and land owners about claiming easy money from set aside so now it seem's wrong to plough it up and tidy up the country side. There are so many pictures of wheat fields around the village whats wrong with another 80 acres thought you would approve!!! As to planting the seeds the right way up which was mentioned under the pictures of Beecrofts land fear not because i know which is the right way, as i'm the operator who ploughed it up and the one who planted the wheat that is on all the poster's!!!

(In response to the above comment I've amended the wording that's associated with the website pictures. I will wait for the corn to germinate and the field turn green before removing the "brown field"! I'm intrigued at to which way up you plant wheat seeds! :)
Ed.)

It is 3.30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon and the A34 northbound is at a standstill as is commonly the case. How much nitrogen dioxide is being pumped into the air? It seems a bit mean to offer "affordable" housing to the needy and then kill off their children. Question for Parkridge: will their houses come with a health warning?

I live in Ardley with Fewcott and am concerned about the implications on our village with increased traffic - we are currently trying to have our village speed limit reduced so this could directly impact us. I am also , of course, directly concerned about the impact on Weston as my partner is an ex resident. GOOD LUCK

Am I correct in thinking that 'affordable housing' is the scheme whereby the governemt/local authority own 50% and the tenant pays mortgage on the other 50% and rental on the half that is authority owned? If I am right in my understanding, then I think that's an angle others may not be aware of and is not the sort of affordable housing people would possibly be hoping for!

Someone said to me: "Well if it was your land wouldn't you sell it for all that money for the eco-town?" She was astonished when I said I would not. I said we owe it to future generations to retain as much of the countryside for our children as we possibly can. Large companies like Tesco are sitting on brownfield sites in urban areas to prevent building by competitors. That land should be used for building houses and community projects before ploughing up greenbelt land. It is very worrying to think a government can come up with a scheme like the eco-towns. There is just no sense in the idea. What a miserable place Weston Otmoor would be to live in. Noise from the nearby roads and the pollution of the cars queuing to get out every day would be huge.

One road in and one road out - for how long?? Assume 15,000 homes and assume 2/3 have cars (10,000) and assume that half of the people (5,000) need to get to work somewhere other than on the convenient public transport routes (which seems to cover a high percentage of places) and assume that half of these (2,500) need to leave WO between 7.00 and 8.00 in the morning to be at work on time. This means that a car must leave (presumably through the Toll Booth) every 1.44 seconds to ensure that everyone gets away on time. As anyone who has used toll booth systems will know it probably takes around 6 seconds to move through a toll booth (because you have to slow down, possibly stop, pay and move on again) longer if you don't have the correct money - like the price has changed. This means that only 600 cars will leave in a given hour. This will means that 75% of the drivers will be consistently late for work, ultimately lose their jobs and be obliged to sell their new house to someone else.

(Well said! If the A34 is full, how's anyone going to leave at all? Ed.)

I assume that because I would be living outside the "ghetto" of Weston Otmoor that I would not be able to avail myself of the facilities made available to the poor souls destined to live there, for example, I would be obliged to pay to take the train to Bicester or Oxford (having driven to Weston first of course). This seems grossly unfair to me and is a plan destined to generate a multi level, "caste" system in the local community. Would I also be expected to pay more if I were to visit a resturant, pub, cinema, swimming pool etc. within the "ghetto" assuming I had the necessary permits and the border guards allowed me in.

I can't see how the finances are going to work.
Parkridge are planning to put £150m in for the railway (which is probably an underestimate of the actual cost). The tram system + all the kit in the houses are going to cost as well. The cost of all this per house will be £15,000 to £20,000.
Who would pay an extra £15- £20K for a house in Weston Otmoor, when you could get something siimilar (or better) in Bicester and wouldn't have to pay to use your car?

When Upper Heyford airfield would be infinitley more suitable with all it's available space what agenda have the government got in choosing this site?

With Bicester now unrecognisable due to massive expansion Witney ditto (not to mention Didcot) surely Oxfordshire has reached re development saturation.

The property slump (due to continue into the foreseeable future) means an awful lot of these houses will not be sold.
This has to be stopped and if it is not will prove yet again that democracy in this country is a fallacy and the people count not at all.

I am concerned about the potential impact of the 'eco town' on Bicester's economic and social development, and on the local roads. This Government does not appreciate that the transport solutions of London do not translate to market towns. I am unclear about the sustainability of employment for the eco-town - other than by commuting to London, Oxford, and for the already planned extreme housing growth in Milton Keynes and Aylesbury.

There is nothing green about destroying countryside to build a town next to a motorway.

This really is a shameful masquerade under the banner of ecology. Far better to add modest development to each village then who knows we may be able to open a shop and a pub again. Wouldn't that reduce the need to travel.

"Distribution warehouses are growing larger and becoming increasingly familiar, changing the landscape around motorway junctions and helping to regenerate unsightly, neglected brownfield sites around the country.

They often provide an employment opportunity for mixed-use developments which may include offices, residential, leisure, retail and parkland."

Andy Griffiths, deputy managing director of ProLogis UK, quoted in the Oxford Times, 20th July 2006.

The role of distribution

I really don't think that Prologis / Parkridge's interest in this site is anything to do with housing. Lucky it's not a neglected brownfield site, isn't it?

In response to the inevitable accusations of NIMBY-ism, here are 10 things about the "eco" town proposal that should worry everyone, whether they live near the site or not:

1) Its location next to the motorway appears to have been chosen because it suits the warehousing and logistics business of ProLogis, the developer's multinational American parent company, not because it is a good place for housing.

2) Building a new town at this site messes up existing plans to develop Bicester, Kidlington and Didcot, so is not supported by district council, county council, or the regional assembly.

3) Moving those in need of affordable housing from all round the county all in together into high density housing next to a motorway, and then charging them to drive out of the place, is outrageous social engineering and a recipe for riots.

4) Building on the site will destroy a nature reserve and a natural habitat of national importance, and at least 25 % of the area is protected green belt

5) The eco-credentials of the proposal have been criticised by just about every environmental group, and shown to be weak in the extreme, if not entirely bogus.

6) The plans make clear this is only phase one of a scheme that needs to be able to grow. Where will it expand to?

7) OX26, Bicester, is cheaper than the national average for house prices, not under extreme affordability pressure as stated by the government.

8) The developer's plans for free transport for residents have been shown by expert analysis to be, in the kindest words, undeliverable with the money they have planned to spend on it. So the residents may not even have the free ride round the town that has been promised.

9) There has been rather a lot of information put out by the government about the proposal that has turned out to be misleading, to say the least - eg. the green belt will not be built on, the site is brown-field, the final decision will be up to the local planning process - all now shown to be untrue.

10) There are three quarters of a million empty homes in England already. A more ecologically sound strategy would be to restore them and create jobs in those areas, rather than bringing more development and people to the South East of England and building tens of thousands of new homes there.

I'm not a NIMBY. When these things happen on your doorstep it does make you look very closely and try to find out what's really going on. The villagers of Weston will not have half as bad a time as the 30,000 poor souls who are forced to live behind the gates of Weston Otmoor.

The way this proposal is being brought to the public's attention indicates that this proposed developement in what ever form has been in the planning longer than is being publicly acknowledged. It should be opposed by all who can plainly see that it brings nothing for the benefit of the current or future populations. It will mean years of misery and inconveninece to those resident within the catchment and to those who transit the area

WHY BUILD HERE?

According to the Parkridge "consultation" propaganda, this is the ideal site for an eco-town because (and the order of priority is theirs):

"The site is within the Oxford to Cambridge Arc which promotes a nationally-recognised policy for the development of knowledge-based industries" - Industries? So it's not about houses! The site is chosen as a good place to build an industrial estate, and this is stated in black and white in Parkridge's own document.

"Connectivity within the Arc is to be provided primarily by the "East-West Rail Link" which adjoins the site" - So everyone will only come in or out from either Oxford or Milton Keynes, and the location next to the motorway junction is just a coincidence, then? Mind you, a major railway next to the industrial estate would be useful...

"Weston Otmoor is within the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) Central Oxfordshire Diamond for Investment and Growth" Yes, but that doesn't mean the whole place should be concreted over. Besides this part of England needs even more economic growth like it needs bubonic plague. That is what has fueled the property boom that has caused the alleged housing crisis in the first place. Why not put the investment and growth near the 3/4 million empty homes available in less overcrowded parts of England?

"The area suffers significant housing stress" Certainly true of Oxford, or at least it was till the property bubble burst. Bicester is cheaper than the national average, though, and falling fast. If there is housing stress in the wider area it is because there are too few homes for the number of jobs. Another way of looking at that is that there are too many jobs drawing people to the area and putting pressure on housing. Creating more houses and more jobs together won't fundamentally change anything, as people will move to the area for the jobs, and need to have a home. It does not address the government's claim that houses are needed to meet existing demands.

"The M40 provides immediate access to the national motorway network" - Interesting consideration for an "eco-town"! For residents getting onto the motorway will be by paying a huge cost at the toll gate. If the Parkridge eco fantasies are to be believed the residents' main relationship with the motorway and A34 will be having to put up with the noise and pollution 24 hours a day. If of course they do use their cars, then the whole road network will be brought to a standstill anyway.
Interestingly no toll is mentioned for all the heavy goods vehicles that will be coming in and out of the industrial estate. Of course they will find the direct access to the motorway awfully convenient, and the newly designed motorway junction will ease their access into the huge industrial estate. Interestingly Parkridge's generous plan to re-build the junction is, if we are to believe their consultation literature, not needed for the residents of Weston Otmoor and their cars (cars out will only balance cars in!). It's another investment for the industrial estate, then.

So all the reasons why Parkridge consider this to be a good site for them relate to it being a good site for an industrial complex. The houses won't do much if anything to solve "affordability pressure" for locals as they will be needed by people coming to the area to take up the 12,000 jobs on the site.

IT'S NOT AN ECO-TOWN IT'S AN INDUSTRIAL ESTATE

I am appalled at the way the 'Eco town' theme is being sold to the public and being railroaded through. It appears that the concerns of one road in and out and effective tram systems seems to buy favour. The reality is Bicester struggeles with the infrastructure as it is - Bicester Village has one road in and out and look what happens there at Christmas. One road from the A34 must be madness, how do emergency services get throug, what happens when the A34 is blocke. We already have problems on the B430 as soon as there is an accident/heavy traffic on the A34 or M40 this will only make matters worse.

Thanks for all your efforts we are 100% behind you in stopping this madness.

It is frankly unbelievable that any sane person would even consider building a whole new 'town' on the A34/M40 interchange. The claims made by the proposer-developer are a snare and an illusion, and surely no intelligent person will be taken in by them. Certainly Oxford does NOT want such a monstrosity on its doorstep.

First, thanks for all your efforts so far.

I am furious at the hard sell at the so-called "consultation meetings" staffed by green shod PR bunnies. I hope that this can be exposed as such and that Parkridge aren't allowed to tick "public consultation done" box in some half-baked due process.

Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley, Yorkshire, minister for housing states on her very own website that she has lobbied for a new international airport to be build in her Doncaster constituency. Robin Hood Airport is the result.

Not exactly a glowing endorsement of her eco-credentials and maybe not the best person to push forwards the eco-town programme.

Sorry to read that Parkridge have not appeared at the roadshows. Following their first one at Weston I would suggest that Roger Sporle has run and hid.

The plans Parkridge originally submitted to the government had a big power station top left to provide electricity and heating at the same time. This saves a lot of greenhouse gases.

But the plan for the current Parkridge roadshow has no power station. It's gone completely to be replaced by houses.

How can they be allowed to submit one plan to the government to get shortlisted and another to the people for consultation? It's outrageous!

Hello everyone.
A big thanks to everyone who has let me stick up posters in gardens, on walls doorways etc. I must admit that when I started this poster campaign I did feel a bit 'alone'. Not quite sure if people were in favour of what I was doing but I feel much more comfortable now as many people have congratulated and encouraged my efforts. I apologise to anyone who may feel it makes our villages look untidy. But, believe me, we have a far more untidy prospect on our doorstep. These visual messages really have helped to polarise our concerns and it just goes to show that advertising really does work. It's not 'always' about selling products.
A huge amount of work goes into taking the pictures, printing the material and physically erecting them.
Many thanks to all for your encouragement and making me feel my efforts are appreciated.

Following on from the Parkridge / ProLogis comment, one of the people on the Government's Eco-Towns Challenge Panel is Wayne Hemingway, fashion guru and co-founder of Hemingway Design, which tackles everything from furniture to housing estates.
At the 2003 Labour Party conference, he slammed the quality of residential development in the Thames Gateway as ‘rubbish’ and now he is designing the housing at one of the Gateway’s highest-profile schemes: ProLogis’s £500m the Bridge at Dartford, Kent. Paul Weston, senior vice-president at ProLogis, which is the lead developer for the 264 acre site, praises Hemingway’s contribution, particularly in raising the project’s profile. ‘He’s an amazing mouthpiece for property and for our development. He gets on telly and has such good contacts,’ he says.
www.propertyweek.com/story.asp?storyCode=3110457

So the question is - is he impartial?

 
Recently the Building journal ran a head to head between Hemmingway and Myles Pollock, a spokesperson for the Better Accessible Responsible Development (Bard) Campaign. It makes interesting reading.

A few facts people should be made aware of...
Parkridge have employed Mistral a PR company who are based at Staplehurst Farm offices near Weston on the Green. This office complex is owned by Adrian Wilcox. He is one of the land owners set to make MILLIONS from this deal. He is also a partner at KMPG accountants based in London and specialises in advising companies of the various tax advantages for operating in an eco friendly manner. One of his website slogans is 'Reduce, Re-use and Recycle! But he would still prefer to see his land concreted over to make way for a 'commutertown.

No place to build an eco-town, but an ideal location for a warehousing and distribution complex - could this be the motive behind the Weston Otmoor proposals?

A little research on the internet shows that since February 2007 Parkridge, the proposers of Weston Otmoor, has been owned by ProLogis. According to their web sites; "ProLogis is the world?s largest owner, manager and developer of distribution facilities, with 526.3 million square feet (48.9 million square meters) of industrial space in 121 markets across North America, Asia and Europe.

"ProLogis leases industrial space to manufacturers, retailers, transportation companies, third-party logistics providers and other enterprises with large-scale distribution needs. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, ProLogis is a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500."

(from http://www.prologis.com/en/default.aspx)

"ProLogis' customers include manufacturers, retailers, transportation companies, third-party logistics providers and other enterprises with large-scale distribution needs......

The Company?s warehouses are strategically located in areas that can maximise the efficiency of distribution, logistics and light manufacturing ? near seaports, airports, major roads and other strategic transportation infrastructure."

(from http://www.prologisability.co.uk/aboutus/)

So it seems that the location of this proposed eco-town / presumed industrial distribution hub next to two of the UK's busiest road freight traffic routes, next to the soon to be created east-west rail link and within a couple of hours lorry drive of Heathrow, Luton, and Birmingham airports may be no coincidence.

If Parkridge / ProLogis want to use Weston Otmoor as a strategic location for a goods distribution / logistics business, what impact will that have on drawing heavy goods traffic to the M40/ A34 Junction? How eco is that?

We live in Bletchington and will do all we can to help stop this "eco" town being built

We live in Fritwell which is already adversely affected by the backlog of traffic on A34, M40, B430 during rush hour or closures due to accidents. Fritwell is used as a 'rat run' to avoid J10, M40, roundabouts; it's the usual problem of those using the 'rat run' having no consideration for the village lanes or the local villagers using them.
The thought of 10,000-20,000 houses being added to the traffic in this area is of huge concern; surely a 'pressure cooker' waiting to explode!
We fully support the Weston Front campaign in their objections to this form of development & have signed the 10 Downing St petition.
At our last Parish Council meeting, it was agreed to support the Weston Front campaign & we will request at Monday's meeting (7th July), the possibility of a sign similar to the ones in Kirtlington.

You know, Parkridge really should sort out their story.....on their web site they say "....public transport will deliver substantial modal shift away from cars" (we'll ignore the FACTS that the local authorities think their plan is rubbish, and that Parkridge don't seem to have even sorted out their plan with the rail authorities). Then their web site goes on to say "The M40 provides immediate access to the national motorway network". So, if there is a 'modal shift away from cars', what will people be doing? Walking on the M40? They won't be using buses, not with the fantasy railway and it's trams that you can't get off.

Here's a thing......In the Parkridge submissions to Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council, they say "A key element of the Weston Otmoor proposal is.....the A34/M40 junction", (Eco-Towns; Living A Greener Future). Yet in an email to me on 30 June, Roger Sporle (of Parkridge) states "The proximity to the M40 is coincidental". Now, I couldn't possibly say that anybody is lying here, but it does rather strain the credibility of anything Parkridge has to say....doesn't it?

Having read the rail scheme report on the Parkridge proposal, I do hope Parkridge will now have the good grace to take their 'eco-town' plan and put it where it belongs.....in a composting bin!
The scale of their proposed rail development is simply staggering! It would be on a par with Bristol-Temple Meads! And why would they want a goods yard? Would it perhaps be for the warehousing and distribution that would dominate the 'eco-town'.....after all, Parkridge and Prologis do have a nice, cosy arrangement.....read the Prologis website, it's very revealing!

(ProLogis are majority owners of Parkridge, ed.)

In response to the comment about Bletchingdon and whether the large eco-banner was in place when the "road-show" came to the village, I can assure you that it was. However the landlady was not too happy when she learnt that they were there to promote the eco-town. She had been told by the PR company that the roadshow was to promote local employment!

I attended the Parkridge 'roadshow' yesterday in Bletchingdon and totally agree with previous comment, total waste of time, Parkridge don't even have the courage to face the local residents.
In fact noticed this morning the pub have a huge anti eco town banner on the wall where the roadshow was last night (it may have already been there, but hidden by the trailer last night so I missed it) well done, much better use of space!

These landowners have committed one of the 7 most deadliest of sins - GREED FOR MONEY! This is nothing less than VANDALISM!

So, a close relative to one of the landowners has stated "she was pleased for the family, this means that they will all be financially secured for the rest of thier lives!" Well thats great for them, what about the other 70,000 peoples lives they have destroyed if this monstrosity goes ahead! I hope they can sleep at night.

The proposed development is very wrong ecologically and sociologically. Even if needed the proposals are impractical and the town would have serious problems. It's a money-spinning racket.

I attended one of Parkridge's 'roadshows' yesterday in Middleton Stoney. It was a complete sham and a waste of time. Parkridge didn't have the decency to turn up to their own event and instead sent four women from their PR company (Mistral) and a few glossy posters instead! The people from the PR company couldn't answer any of our questions and instead told us to fill in the forms so they could gather local opinion and feedback. These roadshows are clearly just a box-ticking exercise for Parkridge so that they can claim they have consulted local communities and taken on board their issues and concerns. However, this event served only to aggravate the locals further! Many people had taken the time to attend the 'roadshow' and I find it quite insulting that Parkridge couldn't even be bothered to send one representative.

Completely unworkable. Thousands of cars (yes, people will still want/need cars) trying to leave on one access road onto the already overcapacity A34? What are these people on?
It's just a ploy to get a new town without it being called a new town, just like the EU constitution didn't require a referendum because it was called a treaty. New Labour semantics again!

I am absolutely appalled and deeply concerned at the proposed Eco site. I have read all the concerns raised and am unable to add any more as I am in agreement with everyone and all the issues that have been mentioned. I live in Murcott and know the area well and am therefore so upset that such a site could be even considered. Whatever I can do to help fight this then count me in.

I've just received a questionnaire about the Weston Otmoor so called eco-town. i am horrified at how few houses (30% to 50%) are for key workers and families. How can it possibly be an eco-town when houses in other parts of the country are empty due to lack of jobs?

The whole thing seems to be an excuse to get a better A34/M40 junction for cars and lorries.

There is no mention of a bus route for key workers to the major hospitals, police stations and schools (for teachers) within the county.

The housing should be 100% key workers within Oxfordshire and the transport should enable those keyworkers get to their jobs.

WHY ISN'T THERE A FREE BUS SERVICE TO ALL HOSPITALS WITHIN OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY 24 H A DAY. I don't want a rail-based Park and Ride anywhere because there isn't a rail station at either the John Radcliffe hospital or the Horton hospital.

NO MORE JOBS IN THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND. MOVE THE JOBS TO THE PARTS OF THE COUNTRY WITH HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT. ONLY BUILD HOMES FOR KEYWORKERS IN THE SOUTH EAST OF ENGLAND.


35,000 inmates, 12,000 people working there. Only one road in and out with a toll that's most expensive at times people would actually need to travel. Sounds like a labour camp to me. There are softer regimes in open prisons!

It is naive in the extreme to expect all the residents and workers to only need to travel to places on the railway line. How could the railway and Oxford station be able to cope with a daily influx of tens of thousands? Nearly all will need buses from congested central Oxford to their places of work back out of town, adding to the Oxford gridlock. It is a ridiculous idea to force everyone who is commuting to places of work outside the eco town to go to Oxford city centre on the way, no matter how fast the train is.

Look at the map. All the yellowish green bits are super high density housing - flats - the sort of thing most maps would show as brown or grey to distinguish from the surrounding grass and trees. Could this be a deliberate blurring to make it seem more green than it is? It isn't even labeled as housing on the key to the map.

One thing is certain, housing there will certainly end up being affordable - people won't exactly be gazzumping each other to buy into this Stalinist experiment of eco - life. Ten years after it is built they will be lucky if they can give the flats away.

It will be left to the poorest and most desperate in our society to be forced to live in the "affordable" Weston Otmoor. Even if this were to be a truly "eco" way of life, these poor people will be living under the most draconian restrictions, (not just relating to transport), whilst the rest of us happily get on with our lives. Is this the way to treat the most vulnerable in our society? Why not bring in eco- housing, fuel regulations and travel restrictions for all of us instead of picking on these people?

True eco-towns are successful in Europe when they have been built as suburbs of large existing towns, with direct public transport to all the places people would need to go. They share their infrastructure with the existing town so that eco residents have access to schools that are already successful, cinemas, theatres, night clubs, shops and restaurants, and the existing town can benefit from the eco infrastructure, such as power and water schemes. Successful eco suburbs offer a way of life that middle class people who understand and want it choose to buy into, without breaking away completely from the life they know.

Weston Otmoor will fail because it is trying to be a suburb of Oxford, connected only by the tenuous thread of a railway to a single Oxford station, a thread shared with a 6,000 space park and ride. It will also fail because tens of thousands of the residents, probably the vast majority, will be people who would not, given the choice, want to live there. They will resent the intrusive and controlling regime, and rail against the loss of their rights and their enslavement to this ghetto. What happens then?


As Wendlebury residents who suffer daily with rat running past our house on the main road in Wendlebury we are extremely grateful to the people of the Weston Front who are putting in so much work to make sure this development doesn't happen. THANK YOU. We will help in any way we can.

Just got the official Weston Otmoor "consultation" document, coming to doormats throughout the area soon. When it comes to you, look very closely.

There is nothing to show that this is a document on behalf of the developer, Parkridge, not a balanced consultation asking broad questions, so it doesn't exactly tell the full story.

There are 14 closed questions with tick box answers, carefully crafted to get the answers the developer wants.

There is a beautifuly green map of the "eco town" showing all the green spaces, which seem huge until you realise one key thing - the map doesn't actually show the 15,000 homes in the plan! Just a green / yellow smudge with no label to tell you this is high density housing. An eco town with no houses, now that's green!

You can judge for yourselves what the quality of life will be like for the 35,000 poor inmates who will have only one (toll) road in and out, and who will share the trains to Oxford with the 6,000 space park and ride, itself drawing traffic to the area from miles around. The ghetto needs only barbed wire around the perimeter to stop the residents escaping to the cars they will need to keep hidden in the country lanes and surrounding villages. The place is specifically designed to make it difficult for the residents to leave. I just wonder if they will be provided with the mind altering drugs necessary to make them believe they are living in paradise. Sadly I suspect many will find their own. Brave New World.

I'm completely disgusted about this! My home county of Leicester has also had one of these so-called 'eco-towns' proposed in Pennbury. As with the Weston Otmoor eco-town this one is not eco-friendly either and the government message that it is is simply propaganda. Well, lets not sugarcoat it, it's a downright lie.

I came to Oxford as a student and have since settled here. The problems with this 'eco-town' seem blindingly obvious to anybody with half a brain. Who could think this was a good idea? Building on green belt and flood plains? Did they forget about Oxfordshires flood problems? The impact on wildlife will be devastating. And contrary to reducing traffic they will be adding more! -All this occurred to me within a split second of reading the governments nicely-worded newsletter. Further research confirmed it. How could this not occur to the government planners? Are they living in cloud-cuckoo-land? They are certainly not living in Oxfordshire.

I would like to voice my concerns about this development and to object strongly to it being carried out.

Please note I am totally against the building of this eco-town and I will help in any way to campaign against it.

The sign at the junction of Akeman St and the B430 which indicated "New Town Starts Here!" has been smashed up.
It is surprising that opponents will not face up to the Facts.

Closer examination of the outline plan reveals this northerly location to be the proposed site of the Power Station needed to supply the New Town.

It is essential that any visit to the site by decision makers, includes a trip to see the full extent of the land that will be converted.

The current signs in the village are excellent but do not indicate the size of the proposal which will dominate the landscape and ruin the area.

If you draw a rectangle on a map of Oxfordshire with Akeman St,M40,Bicester-Oxford railway and B430 as the "sides" the vast size of the New Town is seen to be bigger than Bicester.

Hence all residents of Cherwell District will have their lives changed by "Cuckooville" as it is far too big for the nest.

Has anyone contacted Prince Charles?
Prince Charles opened a a small housing project in nearby Bletchingdon recently. This was a small affordable housing project, sympathetic to the environment and supported by all.
This development is in stark contrast to the proposed eco town at Weston Otmoor. Could Prince Charles be our greatest ally in the fight to prevent this huge carbuncle being built?
We must stop this potential vandalism of Greenbelt land and ensure the future of the special environment in the vicinity of Weston for the benefit of all people who live in the local area.

I don't agree with this, the A34 is already blocked so this isn't going to help.
People love Oxfordshire, partly because of the green land, this will result in there not being as much country side.

Banbury was once a small town and now an ever increasing town. Why ruin another part of Oxfordshire?! This quiet little village, should remain just that.

Houses will result in needing supermarkets which will create more busy roads, this is not the way to go!

It seems to me to be utter madness to even consider building a new town on the A34. This road is already unable to cope with the huge volume of traffic at present - it is frequently brought to a standstill because of accidents - and to think of adding an estimated 25,000 more cars is complete insanity. Decision makers in the government need to spend time HERE - witnessing the traffic problem and listening to local people's concerns.
Please register my disapproval of the proposed eco-town on the Weston on the Green/Otmoor site. The impact of 15000 houses and potentially twice as many cars would bring the already overloaded surrounding road network to a standstill. The area is of huge importance as a wildlife haven and is 2000 plus acres of good green land, both agricultural and `natural`. Please build the houses, if they are indeed required on brownfield sites of which there are plenty and are crying out for redevelopment.

A sign has been erected at the junction of Akeman St and the B430 for southbound travellers reminding them that this is the northerly limit of the New Town.

As it stretches to the railway which crosses Otmoor this signshows the massive scale of the proposed development.

The "footprint" of the ridiculously named Eco-town is as big if not bigger than Bicester within which many real brownfield sites.

My family and I would like to object to the proposal for Weston Otmoor because there is no need for extra housing and extra traffic in that part. It is already very busy when there are accidents or incidents on A34 and M40.

It would be better to have extra money put into the infastructure of Bicester and Kidlington. Money should be spent on transport systems, better affordable housing and sporting facilities and more things for the teenagers to do so they are not spending time drinking and hanging around street corners.

I am a member of a local cycling club who uses the airfield for training and time trial events.
I stongly object to any plans to develop the site.
Secondly i feel the increase in traffic in and around the local villages would make cycling more dangerous.
Having a new town on the proposed site will totally ruin an ancient village and destroy a precious piece of countryside.
I am appalled by the proposed town. I agree with the concerns you outline. In particular, I am worried about the wildlife issues and a massive increase in traffic congestion. Also the ancient and fabulous treasure of a view from Beckley will be ruined!
If there is any common sense in this world, this will never happen, it remains to be seen?

I am greatly in favour of the work of this campaign.  I live in Middleton Stoney and we are already greatly concerned and disturbed by the volume of traffic using this road now - never mind another possible 15,000+ cars!  I have signed the epetition and will be writing letters as suggested.  I am sorry not to be able to attend the protest rally on 22nd June as I am away.  Please keep me informed of the good work.

Those debating the issues in the House of Commons need to be brought up to speed with the PPS13 document on transport which will state that airfields, whether active or disused, will not be considered for future development as they form part of the transport infrastructure.
It is very notable that this PPS has not been issued before the ECO-Towns were proposed. The old PPG3 had a definition of Brownfield which specifically excluded airfields; this definition was omitted from the revised PPS3 but both Baroness Andrews in the Lords and Yvette Cooper in the Commons assured the aviation community that this was not a deliberate omission and would be clarified in PPS13. Lord Rotherwick has tried to embarrass the government over this issue and the debate continues. Under the old PPG3 Brownfield definition, Weston airfield is Green!
As a resident in Charlton-on-Otmoor I totally oppose the build of the eco town that would literally be a matter of a few hundred yards from the village and will no doubt spread further than the current plans eventually to join Bicester to Kidlington to Islip to Charlton and create yet another "new town" like Telford and Milton Keynes
As a resident of Kidlington, I am firmly opposed to these plans to build eco-towns.  I have noticed the eye catching posters in Weston and think it would be a good idea to do similar campaigns in nearby villages to further raise the profile of this situation.  Most people I know seem oblivious to the problem, do not realise the scale of the proposals or feel building the towns will be inevitable.  I feel this not the case and fully support all these campaigns and hope they all succeed in reversing these plans (the Pennbury eco-town will be built close to where I was brought up).  Good luck.
I agree with the "total con" concept. I live in KIdlington and we all will be affected by this crazy Housing estate scheme.
It is scandalous that this proposal has got so far. The consequences of this development going ahead go far beyond Weston on the Green and the plan must be stamped on hard.

Build 5,000 houses, but spread them across all the villages and towns in Oxfordshire, which are crying out for both affordable housing and more custom for their shops, schools, churches, and (remaining) railway stations.

What is proposed will have no such amenities, and thus will not have any real community either.  It is, in reality, just more car-predicated sprawl.

No-one would use the tramway, even if it were ever built.  An extra stop is exactly what the Oxford-Bicester railway does NOT need, since it depends on providing a fast link between Oxford and Bicester for rising use.  Its service would be damaged, and the tramway/railway connection would delay eco-town travel enough to deter its use.

This is just an eco-stunt to serve the purposes of eco-spin.  It has absolutely nothing to do with real sustainable development whatever.

I have written to gsi.gov, Tony Baldry and the Oxford Times.
Good luck with the campaign!

I have place a copy of your statement on Google Earth Community forums under "Environment and Conservation" (hope you don't mind)..............

Say NO to Weston-Otmoor Eco-Town

I've lived in the village for 10 years.
I think the eco-town plan is a shambles.  
It is not right for the government to ride roughshod over the planning regulations, nor for the developers to be allowed to build on green land.  There are plenty of unoccupied dwellings in this country that could be "done up" to be eco-houses at much lesser environmental, and financial, cost than undertaking this "from scratch" project.
Anyone living in the village for any length of time knows that it only takes someone dropping a handkerchief on the A34 or the M40 for the whole area transport system to seize up, adding the inevitable extra load the eco-town would bring, would mean this essential link would be constantly overloaded.
Further to the informative letter received by my local parish councillor I would like to make it very clear that I entirely agree with the points raised!
My own concerns with the said "Eco Development" are that just because something is called Eco it should not give developers the right to build houses anywhere. This is a virgin site with a nature reserve! What exactly will be Eco about it. Other schemes similar to this have used an Eco type title at early stages but by the time they get to development they are hardly eco efficient. The only eco things about them a bit of timber boarding and a water butt.
1. Noise and pollution from the M40 and A34 for the new inhabitants
2. Lack of infrastructure for surrounding villages to take increased traffic
3. A34 will be unable to take the increased traffic
4. Would require extra policing ? budget for this

Since last October I have been studying the future of care and housing for the elderly.  This has involved looking at Govt: proposals, including Housing programme and Eco-towns.  They are intended to to experiments in eco-friendly living, but to get any reasults will involve too long a timespan for feed-back to be of any use.  Much small units are needed for this.  Milton Keynes was started in the sixties and is still developing - athough much larger than eco-towns.  I guess that not more than five eco-town sites will prove suitable-  certainly not Weston Otmoor and Middle Quinton in Warks.

I think it may help your cause to offer an alternative so will post you what I have so far committed to paper on Housing for the elderly as I think something on these lines might be suitable on the outskirts of Bicester.

A proposal that would destroy or gravely affect two SSSI's a nature reserve and two areas of important woodland, and could affect the River Ray and the whole of Otmoor would normally be thrown out.  Not this one, its an Eco Town! Concrete can be laid anywhere, the Orchids the Cowslips, the brown and black hairstreak butterflies and many other rare species either cannot move or have nowhere else to go.

The M40 A34 junction struggles already, if this proposal goes ahead major work will be needed, costing no doubt millions and resulting in queueing cars pumping out CO2, and vehicles racing down the B430 through Weston-on-the-Green.

Eco town, more like Eco disaster.

RAF Weston on the Green is not a "brownfield" site. It is crucial to the ECOTOWN scam because it can be obtained from the two-faced MOD cheaply.

95% of the site is "organic" quality land free of herbicides and pesticides since WW2., Watch out for use of chemicals by the MOD now to pollute it for ease of sale !!!

The MOD are two-faced in that they claim the site is essential for paratrooper training when it suits them.

The site has other unique uses which blend perfectly with the startegically-important paratrooper training.

Oxford Gliding Club will have to relocate to Bicester  putting more pressure on their road system and adding to their airborne noise pollution from the existing gliding facility.

Bicester Millennium Cycling Club is the UK's fastest growing thanks to the closed cicuit cycling on the traffic-free perimeter track. This track has been used for the last seven Regional Finals for teenage cycling, up to four National Open races each year attended by 500+ active cyclists and weekly club events for cyclists from Oxford, Banbury, Witney  and Buckingham.

THE TRACK IS UNIQUE IN THE AREA STRETCHING  FROM LONDON TO WOLVERHAMPTON. The cycling club has just been given ??5000 from the Lottery to improve race timing at the track.

see www.bmcc2000.com for picture of Eco-cyclists in action at RAF Weston-on-the green

The site is actually a "Gordon-Brownfield" site defined as "we want it to make the books balance"

A true brownfield site exists at the ex-bomber base at Upper Heyford with the added benefit of two commercial double track railway lines direct to Bicester,Oxford, Banbury, Birmingham and London. (not a mickey-mouse line that will never carry commercial traffic levels even with an Ecotown), The mickey-mouse  line only really exists to take London and Bristol waste trains to Calvert landfill.

I will be pleased to attempt to erect signage to this effect outside RAF Weston and within it if possible.Expect objections from the MOD.

Hello,
Comments on the proposed development of Weston Otmoor:
(1)  Contacting MPs & MEPs is simplified by using the 'Write to Them' web site at http://www.writetothem.com/
(2)  We should shift the description of the proposed development from 'Eco Town' to something like 'Brown Town'.
(3) One of the largest impacts of the new town would be increased congestion of surrounding roads.   The consequence of building an additional 15,000 + houses without much local employment is that most of the new inhabitants will be forced to drive a significant distance to work.  The A34 is at bursting point already ? significant increases in traffic load will lead to more pollution, more gridlock, and inevitably increased death and injury.  I believe that we should try to engage all those drivers who use the M40 / A34/ A41 to get to work, and get their children to school.
(4) The increased possibility of flooding needs to be investigated by the Enviroment Agency; they should be made to produce a detailed report that every potential new home owner could see.
(5) An extensive archaeological survey will need to be paid for by the developers.  The area proposed is potentially very rich in Roman and prehistoric sites.  It is worth bearing in mind that Alchester is a Roman site of major national significance which also has Iron Age remains associated with it.   
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