SUSTO promised to remain vigilant regarding the Eastwood/Oakeshott housing development proposal. At the moment there is still no formal planning application for the development, and the site is not accepted in the current Local Plan 2031 and no decision has been made regarding the 2041 Plan. However, Graham Soame, their planning consultant, has advertised a public exhibition so the whole village can see details of the proposed development and ask questions. You may have received his leaflet through your door.

The public consultation is on Saturday 13 July (this coming weekend) at the village hall from 10 am to 4 pm.

We urge you to attend. There are too many misleading statements in the text of the leaflet to list here, but these are a few examples:

  • He states that it is a ‘nature friendly’ housing scheme. It is already a nature-friendly field in the AONB and designated part of the Upper Thames Tributaries Environmentally Sensitive area. It’s difficult to see how building 30 houses will improve that despite his claim to plant trees and dig a pond. It is perhaps telling that he illustrates the ‘nature friendliness’ of his proposal with a pheasant, an imported non-native species specifically bred for shooting.
  • Supporting this scheme will not as he claims ‘reduce the risk of a bigger development’. It will do the opposite, as other developers will immediately claim that if his proposal goes ahead so should their schemes. Remember there are two other developers, Rectory Homes and Blenheim, that wish to build major developments in the village. When CALA Homes’ application was finally thrown out in 2018(?), Blenheim withdrew their application to build south of William Buckland Way. They wouldn’t have withdrawn if CALA had been successful.
  • The leaflet doesn’t clearly show where the development site is, or specify how many dwellings are being proposed. It is District Council policy that 50% of a major development must be ‘affordable’. The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has produced a well evidenced Housing Needs Assessment which says there is a need for some social rented housing in the village – but no need for expensive market housing. The NP village survey said the same. All the ‘15 affordable homes’ would fit (tightly packed?) in the same area as two of the big 5-bed houses. Based on a recent sale price for a house in Davis Court, off Farley Lane, each of the five houses with far superior views over Baggs Bottom could be selling for £2 million. It is the financial return on the market housing that is driving this proposal, not squeezing in some affordable houses and planting trees.

Be in no doubt: should this proposal become a formal planning application, SUSTO will vigorously oppose it, and we will look to you for support!

We look forward to seeing you at the open exhibition.