We are pleased that our efforts and your letters of objection had such a significant impact on two events in 2018. First, the application by CALA to build 68 houses on land on Woodstock Road was turned down. Second, the Inspector took on board the significance of the AONB when deciding on what should go into the amended Local Plan. He had listened to your representations against major development in the AONB and instructed the District Council to remove five sites in the Burford/Charlbury sub-area from the Local Plan, including Woodstock Road. The District Council formally adopted the revised Local Plan in September 2018.

So, thank you for your active support: it made a difference!

However, the fight is not over yet, because unsurprisingly, despite the Inspector’s clear indication that their site was not suitable or necessary, CALA has appealed. The appeal will be heard in April. SUSTO and the Parish Council are jointly working hard to represent Stonesfield at that hearing. We will be calling upon a housing numbers expert to testify regarding local and affordable housing needs and a landscape consultant to comment on the adverse impact of such a development. The Parish Council has agreed to fund the latter.

The appeal hearing does not allow for any further volleys of objections from the public, but rest assured, your voice has been heard.

During 2019 we hope to tackle the task of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right type of development for their community. A neighbourhood plan for Stonesfield will become increasingly important as we head into the 2020s towards the end of the new Local Plan 2031. The speculative developments that have threatened Stonesfield in the last couple of years are a result of not having a Local Plan OR a Neighbourhood Plan. Your views, thoughts and offers of help will be sought in due course.

Meanwhile, we are teaming up with a sub-group concerned to help us reduce our use of plastic. And of course we will be helping with the great litter clear-up on 24 March.

Caroline Friend