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Greenbelt plans to save biodiversity 12 Jul 2021 (Eynsham Parish Council) Parish Council plans to offset any damage from new developments.

At the time of writing, Eynsham Parish Council (EPC) is in the midst of the hearings on the Area Action Plan (AAP) for the Salt Cross Garden Village (GV) development. It’s been heartening to see how consistent the views across the village have been and how united we all are on the need to protect our area. We are determined to develop a strong AAP to ensure the GV is truly an exemplar in terms of design, access, and biodiversity, as well as being net zero carbon. We must also limit the number of houses to 2,200 maximum. Watch this space for what happens next and what is decided.

Eynsham is currently threatened from all sides, with the GV to the north, and West Eynsham Strategic Development Area (SDA) and the threat of gravel extraction to the east. In response, EPC has reviewed our position on these issues and will shares these in our revised Neighbourhood Plan due out later in the year. Our review has also reminded us how critical the Neighbourhood Plan is in empowering local people within a complex, developer-driven planning system; we all deserve to be heard.

Take heart in the fact that there are things we can do to mitigate the development that we cannot prevent. EPC is planning to implement our own ‘green belt’ around the village, working with landowners to create a network of land. With partners, we can use this land to enhance biodiversity and offset any damage from development. We fully support ambitious targets for net biodiversity gain in the AAP and believe these should apply to all developments, including the A40 and Park and Ride plans.

As part of this ‘green belt’ plan, we think two major non-negotiables are worth campaigning for:

  • No development South of the Chil and no ‘rat run’ spine road through the West Eynsham development
  • No quarrying to the east of the village, maintaining our historic links to the River Thames and protecting the Oxford Green Belt and the local flood plain

What do you think? Any campaign EPC launches would be greatly enhanced by community support – and, as always, we want to make sure our thoughts are aligned to yours. Keep an eye out for details of a village meeting in the autumn where we will explore these issues and hopefully discover what the village consensus is around how proactive we should be in resisting development. A strong alliance of village organisations, united behind a common cause, would be a powerful force and help us to secure the best outcome we can for the village and wider parish. As Lord Kitchener said, we need you!

Feel free to contact the Parish Council via email on [email protected] to share your thoughts or lend your support. You can also contact us via post at 91 Brize Norton Road, Minster Lovell, Witney, Oxford OX29 0SG.

Nick Relph, Eynsham Parish Council Chair

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