Public meeting in the Village Hall at 7.30 pm on Monday 23 March

Following two years of intensive work on housing issues, which culminated in our victory over CALA on the Woodstock Road, SUSTO is now considering what to do next.

We formed our group in 2017 in response to a sudden deluge of housing applications. We were an unelected band of volunteers who wanted to prevent inappropriate housing developments. There is currently a lull on that front, and we wonder what our next project should be. More importantly, we wonder whether there are people in the village who would like to join or replace us. Times are difficult; more people are feeling the need to step up and help. Caroline’s Climate Emergency Group has met with huge interest and support. What else can we do together to strengthen and protect our community? A possible project is to develop a Neighbourhood Plan.

In the UK, planning is subject to the National Planning Policy Framework at a national level and the West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2031 at the district level. While the WOLP is relatively new we have a degree of protection, but as we progress towards the end of the LP period, pressure from developers will increase again to build inappropriate housing in our village.

A Neighbourhood Plan for our Parish can help to make sure that any new development in Stonesfield meets real need and not developer profits, and takes into account its surroundings. It can try to prevent development where it would cause unacceptable environmental damage, especially within the AONB. A Stonesfield-specific NP will become a statutory planning document that WODC has to respect when making future decisions.

Neighbourhood Plans provide a great opportunity to have more influence on how the place in which you live changes over time. Your local knowledge, and your sense of what needs to be protected and what needs to change, can really make a difference. An NP must be a genuine community document resulting from the widest possible community involvement.

We invite you to a public meeting in the Village Hall at 7.30 pm on Monday 23 March, to discuss the way forward for SUSTO. Please come and tell us what you think SUSTO should do next, and whether you could help in any way.

Richard Morris
Chair of Sustainable Stonesfield

PS If you’d like to find out more about Neighbourhood Planning in advance of the meeting here are a couple of useful links: