Sustainable Stonesfield - our village now and for the future
We have changed the name of our working party to something more appropriate: Sustainable Stonesfield. We hope you will agree that the title captures exactly what we are trying to achieve. Simply put we are trying to retain the character and beauty of our village for the people who live here now and for those who will live here in the future.
There was a group who used this name up until 2012 and we have checked with some of the original members to ensure they were happy with us adopting the title.
Several people have asked us what we are trying to achieve and what progress we have made.
Sustainable Stonesfield argues that development plans must include improvements to our local infrastructure, our roads, water and sewage, schools, GP surgeries and shops. It wants to ensure that sufficient affordable houses are built in the village for young people and families. Itis drawing attention to a planning system that appears to overlook the need to protect an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – in which Stonesfield sits - and the District Council’s duty to consult effectively with local residents when drawing up plans for development.
So far we have worked to shed some light on a planning system that says it proposes to build 50 houses in the village by 2031 but in fact threatens a much higher number. We have created publicity material that explains this and asks residents for their views on the level of development that they think appropriate (90% of the respondents said they do not want housing estates of more than 10 houses.) We are working on how to present our view to the Planning Inspectorate that WODC’s revised Local Plan fails to protect our village from over development.
We have joined an organisation called Need Not Greed Oxfordshire which represents 30 groups across the county. They are campaigning for a future that focuses on the needs of local people. They met with Robert Court MP on the 10th February to enlist his support in their fight to have some influence over decisions that affect the places where they live.
We have listened to what people have been saying to us when sending in their comments. Many have asked for a public meeting so they can hear more of what we have been doing and express their views on the way their village is developed.
So Sustainable Stonesfield has arranged a public meeting at 7.30 pm on Monday 27 March at the village hall. Stonesfield Parish Council will also be there to share what we have learned, say more about what we are doing and to listen your views.
Please come to the meeting, encourage your friends and neighbours to come along and help us ensure that Stonesfield is developed in a way that protects the unique character and beauty of our village and meets the needs of those who live here.
The threats to Stonesfield are very real. In the leaflet that was distributed with the February Slate, we identified sites that were likely to be built upon shortly. CALA Homes are holding a drop-in meeting on Monday 20 March, in the village hall, 4 – 8 pm to show their plans to build 50 houses on just part of one of those sites, on the north side of the Woodstock Road. The field in which these houses might be built lies within the Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB). That designation would normally have prevented any houses being built. Across the road lies the Charity Farm site. Development there is well underway and more houses are planned. That site also lies in the AONB. In the rush to build, the environment is being irrevocably damaged.
We look forward to seeing you on the 27th March 7.30pm in the Village Hall.