For those of you who haven’t heard via the village grapevine, CALA have decided to take their application to build 68 houses on the Woodstock Road to the High Court. When the planning Inspector turned down their appeal against WODC’s decision to refuse their planning application, we all heaved a great sigh of relief. However, we knew there was a chance that CALA wouldn’t let it go – and they haven’t. Apologies for not writing sooner: we wanted to know what our position was before we broadcast the news.

SUSTO, together with the Parish Council and the AONB Conservation Board (the Rule 6 Parties), are researching what we can do to continue the fight. CALA’s case is that the Inspector acted unlawfully in reaching his decision. They contend that the housing needs in the District constitute exceptional circumstances that would override the protection given to Stonesfield because it’s in the Cotswold AONB. We dispute this, on facts we presented at the appeal.

The main defendants will be the HM Inspectorate and WODC. The Rule 6 Parties do not have the resources to be a defendant and we certainly wouldn’t want to expose ourselves to the possibility of costs, should the case be lost. Currently we are taking advice on this and it may be that a solution is for us to supply a witness statement to one of the defendants to ensure that important points that we made at the appeal are heard in the High Court.

There’s nothing more to report at the moment. When we have more information we will write to you all again.

We have no immediate need of funds, but it may be that we will need to take a barrister’s advice on our witness statement so that could change. The Parish Council has agreed to provide some money, and we have £500 left over from our last fund-raising. If this needs topping up, we may be asking for donations: thank you, and please watch this space.

Richard Morris
Chair of Sustainable Stonesfield