WODC's latest consultation presents Eynsham Parish Council (EPC) with a challenge. It is a huge document with lots of detail and it is very important that we get it right for our sake and for the sake of those who will be our neighbours because an AAP must be followed during development.
EPC's approach is best summed up by our likely response to Q2 (Page 11):
2a) We have made clear our dissatisfaction with the process leading up to this point; going over this again won't have any positive results so we will offer “no comment” for now.
2b) We will be very supportive of the issues picked up from the Neighbourhood Plan; we also want to encourage WODC to incorporate all the Garden Village principles. (Q1)
The Garden Village principles (page 5) are substantially at odds with a typical large housing estate development in terms of design, environmental performance and community benefits.
It is clear that WODC and, as far as we can tell, Grosvenor Developments both want to make a good job of a Garden Village, not just 'another housing estate'. Writing those positive environmental and community aspects into the AAP documents will strengthen the hand of those who want to do the right thing against those who just want to make as much profit as they can.
There will be vested interests looking to minimise all the positive features as they give value to the community and reduce the windfall profits for those vested interests. We must make sure that there is substantial local pressure so all the community benefits mentioned in this Issues Paper end up in the AAP documents. We must not give the vested interests an opportunity to say “no one seems to care about...”
There are some issues which you will want to be given more importance than appears at present and there may be issues that haven't even been mentioned yet. WODC do want us to raise any additional issues now so they can be considered so we will be doing that too.
There are also major issues which residents will expect us to raise relating to the 'big picture' context of which A40 congestion is the most obvious.
One possibility is to send in multiple e-mail comments to emphasise the difference between those things we support and those we disagree with.
We haven't decided quite how EPC will divide things up; it will take a bit more effort but it will prevent confusion between things we support and those we don't.
EPC will publish its comments as they are sent in which may give you additional ideas but it is important that you have your own say and make sure all local opinion is heard.
Please take this opportunity to have your say on this. Numbers will matter in making sure that people not money have priority.
There are also consultation events in the next couple of weeks.