Consultation responses

All representations and responses to the 2019 pre-submission (Regulation 14) consultation draft of the Charlbury Neighbourhood Plan are published here together with our replies to each one.

This pre-submission consultation was held in September/October 2019 and should not be confused with the post-submission consultation currently in progress under the control of WODC. See details of this consultation (WODC website)

Please note that Word documents have been converted to PDF for ease of access. Excel documents are available in both Excel and PDF formats. Personal details including email addresses, personal phone numbers and addresses (unless the address is relevant to the representation) have been redacted.

If you have any queries about this information please contact charlburynp@gmail.com but please be aware that, following submission, the Town Council is no longer able to promote or make changes to the draft plan and that all comments and representations relating to the plan must be made to WODC as indicated on their website at the above link.

For ease of reference, the documents are divided into four groups:


Statutory Consultees

West Oxfordshire District Council

PDF icon Charlbury NP Reg 14 response_final.pdf 219 KB / 10 pages
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_West_Oxfordshire_DC.pdf 138 KB / 4 pages

Oxfordshire County Council

PDF icon Oxfordshire-County-Council-response-to-Charlbury-Neighbourhood-Plan-31.10.2019.pdf 304 KB / 18 pages
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_Oxfordshire_County_Council.pdf 125 KB / 3 pages

Historic England

Excel icon Assets-within-Charlbury-Neighbourhood-Area.xlsx 25 KB
PDF icon Assets-within-Charlbury-Neighbourhood-Area-landscape.pdf 546 KB / 2 pages
PDF icon Charlbury-Asset-Map.pdf 1.40 MB / 1 page
PDF icon Historic-England-Response.pdf 54 KB / 1 page
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_Historic_England.pdf 92 KB / 1 page

Landowners

Blenheim Estate

PDF icon Blenheim_Response.pdf 129 KB / 2 pages
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_Blenheim.pdf 131 KB / 2 pages

Cornbury Estate

PDF icon Draft-Charlbury-NP-2031-Summary-of-objection-redacted.pdf 314 KB / 15 pages
PDF icon Opinion-re-Objection-by-Cornbury-Estate-to-Consultation-Draft-Charlbury-Neighbourhood-Plan-2031.pdf 150 KB / 2 pages
PDF icon Charlbury-CC-letter-to-Cornbury-Estate-drafted-1.11.19.pdf 965 KB / 3 pages
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_Cornbury_Park.pdf 133 KB / 2 pages

Wills Trust (Ditchley Estate)

PDF icon 6191-Charlbury-Neighbourhood-Plan-Consultation-Response-redacted.pdf 1.1 MB / 4 pages
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_HDH_Wills_1965_Charitable_Trust.pdf 120 KB / 1 page

Penny (Blenheim Farm House)

PDF icon Response-Penny.pdf 56 KB / 1 page
PDF icon BFH-Green-Space-v2.pdf 129 KB / 1 page
PDF icon Response-part-B-1.pdf 846 KB / 1 page
PDF icon Response-part-B-2.pdf 754 KB / 1 page
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_Julie_Penny.pdf 112 KB / 1 page

Organizations

Sustainable Charlbury

PDF icon CNP-2031-SusCha-comments-final.pdf 292 KB / 6 pages
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_Sustainable_Charlbury.pdf 169 KB / 3 pages

Rushy Bank Partnership

PDF icon Rushy-Bank-Partnership.pdf 132 KB / 3 pages
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_Rushy_Bank_Partnership.pdf 115 KB / 1 page

ChOC (Charlbury’s Own Cinema)

PDF icon Response-ChOC.pdf 78 KB / 1 page
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_ChOC.pdf 91 KB / 1 page

Charlbury Conservation Area Advisory Committee

PDF icon Response-Charlbury-Conservation-Area-Advisory-Committee.pdf 86 KB / 1 page
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_CCAAC.pdf 89 KB / 1 page

Charlbury Street Fair

PDF icon Charlbury-Street-Fair.pdf 115 KB / 1 page
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Charlbury_Street_Fair.pdf 102 KB / 1 page

Beacon Project

PDF icon Beacon_Project.pdf 120 KB / 1 page
PDF icon Our reply: CNP_Response_Beacon_project.pdf 101 KB / 1 page

Residents

Responses from residents are organized in alphabetical order by surname. Personal contact details such as phone numbers and email addresses have been redacted.


Jean Adams

Response type: SUPPORT

I am totally amazed at the amount of work that has gone in to producing this very comprehensive document.Congratulations.

Our Reply

Thank you!


Robin Algar

Comment on policy NE7: Inclusion Wychwood Paddocks

It came to my attention at Street Fair that the school playing field surrounded by Wychwood Paddocks has not been included as designated green space in the proposed Neighbourhood Plan. It is clear from the Plan that the local population is ageing and for a great many reasons it is vital to the welfare of the Charlbury community that new families and young people – both parents and children, are attracted to Charlbury. The single most important factor for a young family when selecting somewhere to live is schooling. One of the most important considerations in choosing a school is ensuring that children get plenty of exercise and fresh air, and can participate in a variety of sports and outdoor activities. The Wychwood Paddocks playing field therefore is fundamental to the wellbeing of our young children, most of whom will attend Charlbury Primary. As there is no facility within the school grounds it is essential that they have a facility which they can access quickly and safely e.g. not having to cross busy roads with speeding traffic. There is no other location that meets this criteria that has not already been built on. Quite simply, if the school did not have access to the Playing Field it would deter young families from sending their children to the school and/or wishing to live in Charlbury. Therefore, I think it is essential that we do everything that is humanly possible to ensure that in the future the OCC do not see selling this tract of land for housing development as an opportunity to raise funds, which one day they surely will. So I would very much like to see the area included as Protected Green Space within the Neighbourhood Plan.

Our Reply

The concern you have expressed over Wychwood Paddocks is recognised and is shared by several other residents. The value of the site as a school playing field is beyond doubt and is generally accepted. The question is how this should be protected and whether it needs to be designated as a Local Green Space (LGS). Careful thought was given to this question before decisions were taken on the sites to be designated. The reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in Appendix E (was Appendix F) of the draft plan and on review of the site assessment the decision not to designate the site was still judged to be appropriate. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we believe that this covers your main concerns. This position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land. They also recognise the value of the site but strongly oppose LGS designation.


Vic Allison

Comment on policy CH2, CH3, NE7: Inclusion Wychwood Paddocks

Serious Omission. Wychwood Paddocks is a community asset which, if developed, should support policies CH2 an CH3. The playing field at Wychwood Paddocks provides a visual amenity to many beyond the immediate residents of Wychwood Paddocks as it is enjoyed by residents of Enstone Road and those that pass along Enstone Road and those that use the footpath to Crawborough; as a school playing field it offers safe unsupervised activities for many users. Charlbury is well provided with areas for sports. This site is close to the town centre and its location demands that any futuer use should proit the community rather than any “out of town” developer. Although the reasons for the omission for Wychwood PAddocks from LGS designation are clearly described they are not positive enough in safeguarding the land in the event of a highly possible change of circumstances in which the school moves or closes and the land is disposed of by the County Council. To state that, in these circumstances, “it may be in the best interests of the community as a whole to consider alternative uses ofthe land” is insufficientsly positive. The phrases “best interest” and “consider alternative uses” lend themselves to being widely interpreted. The recent academisation of the school has effectively taken it out of both local and County control and it is essential that the Neighbourhood Plan provides a clear statement that the future of this site must remain within the preprogative of teh Charlbury Community. Social housing is fundamental tokeeping yound and elderly members of the community within our comunity. If Wychwood Paddocks is not retained as a green space this land should only be used in support of housing policies CH2 and Ch3 and the Neighbourhood Plan must state this quite clearly.

Our Reply

These detailed comments are welcomed. The value of the site to the community, particularly as a school playing field, is certainly recognised. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Serious consideration to such designation was given and the reasons for non-designation are clearly specified in the draft plan as you acknowledge. Following receipt of a number of representations, including yours, calling for this site to be designated, the assessment has been reviewed but the decision to omit the site from designation is still judged to be appropriate and therefore the site has not been added to policy NE7. However, further clarification of the reasons is included in the revised Appendix E.3 (formerly F.3). This clarification seeks to address your concerns over “insufficiently positive” wording which we acknowledge. In answer to other specific points. First, strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Second, we are satisfied that the academisation of Charlbury Primary School has not undermined the protection of the site as a school playing field, ownership of which remains with Oxfordshire County Council. We believe that any change of use for the site would need to satisfy the tests included within NPPF paragraph 97. Third, we certainly agree that, in the event of a change of circumstances, any future use of the site should support the housing objectives of the neighbourhood plan and we believe this is appropriately covered by housing policies CH1, CH2 and CH3. The wording of these policies and their supporting text has been enhanced to provide greater clarity.


Philip Ambrose

Response type: OBJECT

I object to the highly restrictive attitude to further development that offers little hope for children raised in the parish.

The policies as stated in Section 5 and the Housing Needs Assessment are biased against further development that might allow children raised in the parish the prospect of returning to their roots and raising families in the parish themselves. Maybe a more aggressive stance is needed to reduce the appeal of Charlbury to London weekenders and re-balance the local housing market? Things such as doubling Council Tax on second homes spring to mind. At a national level, introducing a right to buy as regards housing association properties can only be another backward step, albeit that I am not aware of any such properties in Charlbury at present. Both my daughters currently live in the Bicester area but aspire to live in the Charlbury area where they grew up. We have some land outside the built up area upon which we would like to build a couple of houses for them, but the proposed policies would appear to prevent that. One daughter in her early 30’s is a breast cancer survivor and is expecting her first child. We would love her to be able to move to Charlbury so that we could provide more support. The other daughter works in Cornbury Park and currently commutes daily from the Bicester area. My wife and I also have elderly widowed mothers who may need to be closer to us as time progresses. I cannot see how justice will prevail when WODC, less than a year after approving its own plan, blatantly contradicts it by granting planning consent for the 24 multi-million pound “lodges” (some on agricultural land) that are very loosely and tenuously linked to the Peter Mullin Motor Museum project at Enstone Airfield. Approving a meagre s106 agreement that allows much of the proceeds to fund the restoration of Great Tew House, a private dwelling not open to the public, rather than improving local infrastructure is another shameful decision. Hypocrisy of the first order. The planning process is heavily biased against local private individuals and works more to the advantage of large developers who have deep pockets and the means to scare councils with the threat of costly appeals. It is probably the least satisfactory element of local government and is widely regarded as being susceptible to corruption.

Our Reply

We do not believe that the main concern registered here is justified. A major aim of the plan is to ensure that future development meets the identified needs of the community and that includes accommodation suitable and affordable to those who are looking to return to Charlbury. Proposed policies seek to prioritise such housing over expensive executive homes, whilst recognising the limitations to future development arising from Charlbury’s location within the Cotswolds AONB. Other comments and suggestions mentioned are noted but are not within the scope of this Neighbourhood Plan, nor are they matters that can be addressed directly by the town council. Consequently, no further action is appropriate.


Philip Ambrose

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Re 2.1 Since when was Charlbury a town 17 miles NORTHEAST of Oxford? My maps indicate NORTHWEST!

Our Reply

Error acknowledged and corrected! Thank you.


Philip Ambrose

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy CA4: OCC Proposal for 20mph zone in Central Charlbury and associated road safety matters

Personally, I think that the whole central area of Charlbury should be 20 mph including ALL of Park Street, Thames Street and Dyers Hill as far as the bridge over the Evenlode. At the moment some of Park Street and all of Dyers Hill seem to be omitted from the OCC proposals. Zoning ALL of Park Street as 20mph would help dissuade its use as a through route. Chopping and changing speed limits over short distances is a distraction and road safety hazard in itself. There should be NO new 20mph zone on the main through route that by-passes the town centre. The Enstone Road crossroads should be made into a 3-way Give Way thus slowing traffic approaching from Enstone that can currently head into the Town Centre unabated. Re speeding on The Slade, speed activated traffic lights work well in Switzerland – go too fast and a light up the road turn red, imposing a stop-go penalty. The existing pelican crossing could be used experimentally? I don’t know enough about the law as it relates to 20 mph zones, but it seems to me that pedestrian crossings in 20mph zones could be made simpler, as in many foreign countries, with just white paint across the road, no expensive light systems etc. Lower costs would facilitate more pedestrian crossings within 20mph residential areas. I note the proposal to extend the 30mph limit up Banbury Hill (B4022). There is an even better case to extend the 30mph limit on the B4026 all the way to Spelsbury. Both roads have campsites which generate pedestrian traffic during the summer months, but whereas there is a permissive path between Banbury Hill Farm and the current 30 mph limit, there is no footpath or even roadside verge to walk upon between Cotswolds Camping and Charlbury. Furthermore, a 30mph limit would protect vehicular access and egress from the furniture workshop / Cotswold Camping where the sightlines / vision splays are very poor compared with those at Banbury Hill Farm. There is a certain irony that taxpayers money has recently been spent on erecting a new sign on our approach to Charlbury welcoming walkers and cyclists, when there is no footpath or usable verge on this route. By the way, shouldn’t we be welcoming everyone? We urgently need some parking enforcement re illegal parking on the junction at the bottom of Nine Acre and some parking restrictions up to New Barn Garage to dissuade all day parking by rail commuters. Larger vehicles including ambulances and fire engines struggle to get through. On the Enstone Road vehicles are often parked next to the pavement but facing downhill so that after dark, they are not showing red reflectors to traffic leaving Charlbury. The last time their owners read the Highway Code was probably when they took their driving test! A holistic approach to road safety is what is required from ALL relevant authorities. It’s not all about speeding.

Our Reply

We welcome these useful comments and suggestions for improvements to road safety. We believe that aspirations to improve road safety are already well covered within the Neighbourhood Plan and as this plan does not provide a direct mechanism to deliver specific measures, no changes to the plan are required. However, the Town Council is pleased to note your comments and suggestions for future consideration by the Traffic Working Group.


Katie Banks

Comment on policy HE1:

Dear Sir/Madam Thank you for the information about the proposals for Charlbury. We support the proposals and also support the inclusion of our property on a local list. Kind Regards

Our Reply

Support noted and welcomed.


Christine Battersby

Comment on policy HE1: Oppose inclusion of property under article 4 direction. It’s bureaucratic and inappropriate.

Against Reason 3A: there has already been a huge amount of alteration to the external appearance of the individual houses. Nos 1 and 5 have visible Veluxes at the front and there are also at least 3 Veluxes or dormers at the rear, plus multiple and very variable extensions. All but 2 cottages seem to have UVPC or other replacement windows at the front; all have added (but not matching) front porches. The brickwork on the chimneys does not match because the cottages were never identical, and were all substantially rebuilt, mostly in the 1970s. No 15—previously a barn, attaching to no 11 (there is no cottage 13)—was the last to be converted. Here, the difference in brickwork is particularly evident. The slate used on the roofs is not of local origin. The original stone walls in the gardens were probably originally all “rubble stone walls”, but some of these have already been replaced. All of the fencing is new, and of very different designs. To try and restrict permitted development by treating the cottages as a row of matching units fails to understand what is distinctive about the history of the houses. It also makes improving and repairing them more bureaucratic, more expensive and also much more onerous. Against Reason 9: the cottages are described in section 8.2 of the report as being “probably for quarrymen or gloveworkers, in the Ditchley Road”. This is, however, not the case, and this hypothesis should certainly be removed from the report. The cottages were built in 1867/68, before the glove-factory (1896). My house (“Highfield Cottage”, no 11) is the only one which is double-fronted. Originally a small-holding or small farm, it had a large barn at the back—now converted into 5 garages or outbuildings which belong to nos 11, 15 and also 17. Nos 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 were cottages in which the agricultural labourers lived. Nos 7 and 9 have since been knocked through to form a single dwelling house; only the shell & some basic features of the original remain. All the front and back gardens are of very different depths and widths; the ground-level also varies greatly because of the 1970s conversion. The internal size and layout of the houses also differ greatly. The need to apply for planning permission before undertaking the listed alterations is potentially very restrictive and also very vague—particularly since it’s not clear whether some or all of the restrictions apply to the rear and also to the side of the end properties. (All of the houses can be seen from other properties at the rear, and some walls are shared with the old Youth Hostel/glove factory cottage gardens.) Needing to apply for prior planning permission before getting emergency repairs done to a roof, or to a wooden window or door-frame, would make it less likely that the quality of the housing could be adequately maintained. Conservation area status is fine for these houses; Article 4 is not.

Our Reply

Firstly, on the advice of WODC, all reference to the proposed Article 4 Direction has now been removed from the draft Neighbourhood Plan. Any request for such a measure would have to be made by the Town Council directly to WODC with clear evidence of public support. We acknowledge your strong objection to such a measure and this will be taken into account by the Town Council. Secondly, we thank you for the detailed information and clarification you have provided about the history of the cottages at 1-15 Ditchley Road. Text within section 8 of the draft plan has been amended to reflect this information where appropriate. The cottages are still proposed for inclusion in the Local List to highlight aspects of interest but this does not impose any additional planning constraints as would have been the case with an Article 4 Direction. Explanations for all local list proposals have now been provided in a new section D.3 within Appendix D of the revised draft plan and the description given for 1-15 Ditchley Road reflects the information you have provided.


Christine Beausire

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE4: Is it possible to reduce the level of street lighting in some areas?

Where I live(Lee Close) the street lighting seems bright and harsh for the needs of a purely residential area, quite close to open areas of countryside. Are there forms of street lighting that are softer that could be considered? or would it be possible to reduce the number of street lights?

Our Reply

This matter is now covered in Appendix C.4 of the revised draft plan (specifically C.4.5) which was omitted in error from the consultation draft. Delivery of specific measures such as those mentioned is not within the scope of a Neighborhood Plan but the Town Council notes your comments for possible future consideration.


Christine Beausire

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy ECT13: Proposals affecting Sturt road or the Slade should also demonstrate that they do not exacerbate noise pollution.

Sturt road and the Slade are a main thouroughfare. Any proposals relating to Charlbury should not impact detrimentally on this road. Traffic levels already mean that there is considerable noise pollution and this should not be encouraged to increase by future development or traffic schemes.

Our Reply

Comments noted and acknowledged. We consider that this matter is adequately covered by policies ECT13 and NE4 and that no further changes to the plan are required.


Christine Beausire

Response type: SUPPORT

I support the plan as a whole.

Our Reply

Thank you.


Helen Bessemer-Clark

Comment on policy NE7: Object LGS designation Blenheim Farm House

Object to manner that private domestic garden has been arbitrarily designated a Local Green Space. I am writing to object to the way that a private garden (Blenheim Farm House) has been arbitrarily designated a Local Green Space when it appears not to conform to any of the stipulations of the NPPF that would make it open to such designation. It is the only property mentioned in the Charlbury NP in private domestic ownership and it leads to ffears that any garden in the iddle of Charlbury could also be designated an LGS. This property already has a public footpath running through this private garden, which gives Charlbury residents ample opportunity to enjoy the surroundings, without restricting freedom of choice for the owner to do as they wish with their own garden. It seems to me that it is totally unnecessary and possibly illegal to take wehat becomes community control over a private/domestic garden, rather than area of land. Furthermore, it is understood thatdespite the owner having objected more than a year ago, there has been no opportunity to discuss the matter properly with those concerned until now.

Our Reply

Following strong objections to designation by the landowner in addition to your response, the criteria for designation of this site have been reviewed. As a result of this review, the town council has agreed that the designation of this site is no longer necessary or justified and the site has therefore been removed from the list for designation under Policy NE7. The detailed reasons for this decision are given in Appendix E.3 (formerly Appendix F.3). In brief, the principle reason for designation originally was to protect the Sandford Slade green corridor but we now judge that adequate protection is afforded by other means including an enhanced policy NE6. We acknowledged that much of the proposed site lies within a private garden and that LGS designation for such a site is disproportionate in this case.


Malcolm Blackmore

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Supporting local employment

Supporting local employment Would like to see support for co-operative and community owned projects to use empty retail units. This is obviously aspirational as the costs of renting or buying units are beyond the reach of most community initiatives – however there could be a statement of support in general for community use of empty buildings.

Our Reply

Support for such community use is now included in Policy ECT2.


Malcolm Blackmore

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Challenge of climate change should be reflected more strongly in Aim 3, and generally in all aims.

I welcome the inclusion of Aim 2 as a separate Aim. However, I believe Aim 3 should also include a specific point regarding the design standards for newbuild, alterations and extensions aiming for carbon emissions to be as low as possible. Promotion and support for ‘eco retrofit’ should also be included. I would like to see Aim 5 include a commitment to growing more trees as well as protecting them as we know how important trees are for carbon capture. I welcome the emphasis on sustainability and actions to reduce carbon emissions locally within the plan. Over the last year this has become an area of significant concern for many people. (MORI poll reported in the Guardian in July 2019 found 85% of Britons are now concerned about climate change and 52% are very concerned.)

Our Reply

Extensive changes have been made throughout the draft plan to reflect the importance of addressing the climate emergency. For example, Policy NE5 now contains information about the importance of trees and details of suggested local species to be planted.


Malcolm Blackmore

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

There is nothing on Sustainability in the Objectives

Subsection 5.2 (Housing) Add a bullet point re insulation and low energy standards, as a suggestion something like- – to facilitate the incorporation of high insulation and low energy standards in both new housing and existing buildings Address this objective by: encouraging housing that is designed to very low energy or passiv haus standards encouraging retrofit schemes to increase the energy efficiency of existing housing These points should then be carried through in subsequent sections where appropriate and also be reflected in the Design Standards appendix.

Our Reply

Sustainability is a fundamental requirement of the NPPF and is also reflected in the aims and objectives of the draft plan (Section 3) and throughout the plan. Encouragement for the highest available standards of environmental performance is explicitly addressed in the revised and strengthened Policy NE9. The design guidance in Appendix C has also been revised in this regard.


Malcolm Blackmore

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

The Climate emergency – My comments on the plan are aimed at strengthening this commitment.

Our Reply

As stated above, Extensive changes have been made throughout the draft plan to reflect the importance of addressing the climate emergency.


Malcolm Blackmore

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

All bus stops need electronic signboards. Most stops need seating, probably all.

It would be easier to use buses if all bus stops had electronic signboards. This is particularly important where buses do a loop around the entire town passing some bus stops twice before continuing their journey. I think more people would use buses if, for example, they did not have to walk to The Bell to ensure they did not miss the S3 which had already passed their local stop. Seating is important for elderly, disabled, or younger children to encourage more use. I would also like to see the rail bus re-instated (or an on demand service set up) – this could possibly be a community run bus such as the one in Chipping Norton.

Our Reply

Enhancements to bus stops to provide more seating and electronic information have been included in Community Aspiration 5 (Improving usability of Bus Stops). We acknowledge your suggestion for re-instatement of the rail bus service but as the neighbourhood plan does not provide a mechanism to deliver this, the town council notes your suggestion for possible future consideration.


Malcolm Blackmore

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Support: Buses, homeworking, Cycling, parking, electric vehicles, Enstone Road Crossroads

Very much support these points. On Cycling (6.5) I would like to work towards the development of safe cycle routes to leave the town as well as within the town. Hilly and windy roads leaving Charlbury make it difficult to use bikes for leisure and shopping trips to other nearby towns. Families with young children might particularly benefit from this and it would encourage children to grow up with a love of cycling.

Our Reply

We welcome your support. We also welcome your important aspiration for safe cycling routes on the approaches to the town but the Neighbourhood Plan does not provide a mechanism to deliver this. The Town Council therefore notes your suggestion for future consideration and possible action by other means.


Malcolm Blackmore

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Plant more trees! Encourage agroforestry?

Plant more trees Both within the local green spaces and more generally there should be a commitement to promote tree planting as well as replacing trees that are cut down or die through disease. We might discuss with local farmers how we can support them with tree planting and even consider agroforestry.

Our Reply

Much greater detail on tree planting is now included within Policy NE5 and its supporting text.


Malcolm Blackmore

Response type: OBJECT

Add insulation and energy efficiency requirements throughout the design guidance. The suggested guidance could block insulation retrofits on current stock.

Add insulation and energy efficiency requirements throughout the design guidance Current building regulation standards are not high enough to meet the need to move to a carbon neutral economy. External wall insulation is an important element of eco retrofits. While it would not be appropriate for the older historic housing stock in the town centre, I do not consider it necessary to maintain the external appearance of all housing built in the post war years to its original design. Other creative solutions can be found to ensure our housing remains attractive which do not exclude the possibility of external wall insulation. Similarly, the rear of historic buildings not visible from the highway may not always need to have their current appearance retained.

Our Reply

Policy NE9 now includes stronger requirements and encouragement for the highest energy efficiency standards. Your comments on design guidance are noted. The design guidance in Appendix C has also been updated to make specific reference to alterations designed to improve energy efficiency. Advice from Historic England should be followed for such alterations relating to historic buildings.


Alison Carter

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy HE1: I would like to remove Ivy Cottage (Hixet Wood) from the Proposed Local List.

I would like to remove Ivy Cottage (Hixet Wood) from the Proposed Local List. I have been advised previously that it is already protected from inappropriate alterations and inappropriate development via its location in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I believe that any further restrictions would be harmful in terms of preserving and protecting it for future generations. Ivy Cottage (Hixet Wood) is a building of small dimensions with a garden of small proportions. There is little/no scope for ‘reimagining’ or developing either the house or garden. Any additional restrictions could inadvertently hamper efforts to preserve Ivy Cottage for future generations. Whilst I understand that the authors of the Draft Plan aim to protect Charlbury, I would be grateful if they would remove Ivy Cottage (Hixet Wood) from the Proposed Local List, because its inclusion would be counterproductive due to the above reasons.

Our Reply

We note your objection but make the following comments. Firstly, all reference to an Article 4 Direction applicable to houses on the Local List (section 8.7) has been removed from the draft plan on advice from WODC. With this removed, the presence of Ivy Cottage on the Local List highlights features of interest but does not impose any further planning restrictions as would have been the case with an Article 4 Direction in place. Secondly, AONB status does not protect individual historic buildings. Thirdly, explanations for the inclusion of each property on the local list are now included in a new section (D.3) within Appendix D. For the above reasons Ivy Cottage, Hixet Wood has been retained on the proposed Local List.


Glena Chadwick

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Are interiors of listed properties protected ? Perhaps they should be.

Our Reply

Yes, they are where appropriate. Regulations relating to statutory listed buildings are not within the scope of a Neighbourhood Plan.


Glena Chadwick

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy ECT5: Use of Corner House

The Corner House needs to be used more and vital building work needs doing. Why do the organisations in Charlbury no longer seem to have coffee mornings there on Saturdays ? Some do we not so long ago there was a coffee morning there most Saturdays—lack of support ? (they are not so well attended as they used to be)—lack of people to organise them ? (All organisations are finding it difficult to get people to help and most of them are elderly !

Our Reply

Comments noted for future consideration but these matters are not within the scope of the Neighbourhood Plan to deliver.


Glena Chadwick

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy CH5, CH6: Keep lower cost houses lower cost in perpetuity.

Definitely no right to buy. No more five bedroom, five bathroom houses.

Our Reply

Comments are in general agreement with the aims of the plan and are reflected in housing policies CH1 to CH7 within the constraints of national and local policy and legislation.


Glena Chadwick

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy ECT15: Very difficult for pedestrians (especially the disabled or elderly) to cross the Enstone Road crossroads safely.

Our Reply

Comments are adequately covered by policy ECT15 and Community Aspiration 8.


Glena Chadwick

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy NE4: Another street light is badly needed on the way up Enstone road–pools of dark—difficult for old and disabled.

Our Reply

Comment is not in conflict with policy NE4 which allows for lighting where necessary. Also see Appendix section C.4.5 within the revised plan. The Neighbourhood Plan does not provide a delivery mechanism for new street lighting but the town council notes these comments for future consideration.


Andrew Chapman

Response type: SUPPORT

I fully support the Charlbury Neighbourhood Plan, especially the recognition of the climate emergency and the protection of green spaces.

I fully support the plan and its recognition of the need for protecting the town’s rural character, green spaces, carefully considered housing provision at the affordable end of the market and the need to become carbon neutral in the face of climate emergency. I would also like to express gratitude for the vast amount of hard work that has gone into this from many dedicated members of the community. And as a resident of Bayliss Yard, I can only say how lucky we are to have a view of the Milky Way from such a central location!

Our Reply

We welcome your comments and support. Thank you.


Anna Cherry

Comment on policy NE7:

I write with regard to the school playing field at Wychwood Paddocks. Please can you give me any good reason why this has been excluded from the list of designated green spaces in the draft Neighbourhood Plan? It doesn’t make sense when the field is well-used for a variety of activities: viz. junior school sports, other local sports clubs and also for community function car parking. I await your response with interest.

Our Reply

The concern you have expressed over Wychwood Paddocks is recognised and is shared by several other residents. The value of the site as a school playing field is beyond doubt and is generally accepted. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Careful thought has been given to this question and the reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in Appendix E.3 (was Appendix F.3) of the draft plan. Following the strong representations from yourself and others, the site assessment was reviewed against the criteria for designation but the decision not to designate was still judged to be appropriate in this case. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary although the reasons for non-designation have been clarified further in Appendix E.3. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we believe that this covers your main concerns. This position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land and recognise its value to the community but strongly oppose LGS designation. If circumstances change in the future (e.g. if the primary school were to be relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meet the identified needs of the community.


John Chettleborough

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Positive feedback on much of the plan

I have only had time to skim read through the plan but would like to comment the Council for such a comprehensive effort. Particular elements I would commend are the commitment to ensuring that any new housing development is firmly in the ‘affordable’ bracket and the commitment to reduce carbon emissions ‘beyond existing standards’. The Plan acknowledges that the latter needs the support of the community. Is it possible to be clearer on how this support could be mobilized? There are a number of groups and clubs that can be encouraged to play a role. Can the Council incentivise this in some way – e.g paying for meeting space? Specifically are there ways to mobilize young people (e.g. Scouts, Youth Club) in local climate change related initiatives that support the objectives of the Plan but also provide young people with a positive experience of local politics and governance? There are also dedicated groups such as Sustainable Charlbury and Charlbury Climate Action Network which the Council could support / work with (declaration of interest – I am a member of Charlbury CAN) to assist it achieve its objectives. However for Charlbury to be truly carbon neutral would require change in resident’s behaviors and lifestyles that goes beyond the Objectives of the Plan and beyond possibly the remit of the Council (e.g. behaviors relating to international travel, consumption and diets). So an open question is, can the Council use community engagement as an opportunity to promote broader climate change-related awareness and behavioral change? For instance, could the Council purposefully encourage climate change awareness, amongst Charlbury residents, through sponsoring climate change meetings / talks/ events. It could also join forces with like-minded neighbouring town and parish councils in doing this.

Our Reply

We welcome your comments and support – thank you. We also welcome your detailed and constructive comments on mobilizing the community on environmental issues. In recognition of the climate emergency declared by Charlbury Town Council (and by central government and other councils), and also in response to comments from yourself and others, we have made significant changes throughout the plan to strengthen the commitment to tackling environmental issues (e.g. see new section 2.3 on the Climate Emergency plus enhanced wording of policies and supporting text especially in section 7). In particular, policy NE9 has been amended to strengthen commitment to environmental design standards. Beyond this, your suggestions are not within the scope for delivery through a Neighbourhood Plan but we welcome and note them for future consideration by the Town Council’s newly formed Environment Working Group, set up following the climate emergency declaration.


Jim Clemence

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comments on Affordable Housing allocation

WODC has a policy of allocating Affordable Housing in the District on a District wide basis without regard for local connection despite a Homeseeker plus policy which states that in rural settlements of less than 3,000, priority should be given to households with local connection. This will entirely undermine policies in both the Local Plan and the proposed Neighbourhood Plan that housing in the Cotswolds AONB in West Oxfordshire needs to respond to need which is local to the relevant settlement and to the AONB. The only circumstance when local connection is currently given priority is in the allocation of Rural Exception Site properties. The solution is that the Neighbourhood Plan requires the same planning obligation of all new Affordable Housing, whether in Rural Exception Sites or otherwise, as a policy between CH5 and CH6.

Our Reply

We share your concerns. Our views of Charlbury’s housing needs including the issue of local connection, are set out in Appendix A.3. We believe that the neighbourhood plan housing policies, which have been modified and clarified following the pre-submission consultation, reflect our objective of meeting identified local housing need within the constraints of compliance with national and local plan policies. In particular, we draw your attention to paragraph 5.3.8 of the revised submission draft.


Jim Clemence

Response type: OBJECT

References to Rushy Bank application and the site’s relationsip to the built-up area

I am unsure of the reliability of the Forum’s sources about the status of the development (p69 para 2). Last October the Rushy Bank legal agreement was said to be in “final draft” but on the 11th September the officer now dealing with the application responded to a request for information about the agreement’s progress saying “It is still in draft, I haven’t been able to get hold of the solicitor dealing with the S106 to establish why it has stalled”. Further requests for information have received no response. Nor is there any evidence that the supported living facility/care home is funded or even viable, in particular in this location. It is entirely appropriate for the plan to contemplate the impact of a major development for which a resolution to approve has been given but it is not in my view appropriate for a plan to anticipate whether something will or will not happen. Who is anticipating? The plan just needs to consider circumstances if this development proceeds or if it does not. Consequently the wording “as anticipated” should be removed from references to this development. The plan can of course refer to it as being approved. Your statement at 5.3.3 that the Rushy Bank site should not be considered as part of the built-up area for planning purposes is welcome. This recognises of course the obvious reality that the station and industrial area are also not in the built-up area, as the Local Plan makes clear at 9.6.9. The plan should endorse the statements in the Local Plan both at 9.6.9 and at 9.6.21, that the built-up area of the settlement and its immediate setting are within the Conservation Area and that for the avoidance of doubt the station, adjoining industrial and Rushy Bank are outside.

Our Reply

WODC confirmed approval of this application on 20th January 2020. The Neighbourhood Plan clearly states that outlying elements including the Rushy Bank development will not be regarded as part of the built-up area for future planning purposes (see paragraph 5.3.4 of the revised plan (modified version of paragraph 5.3.3. in the consultation draft)).


Jim Clemence

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy ECT4: More commitment needed to promoting tourism

The town’s commitment to tourism in 6.2.11 is too lukewarm. Drawing in visitors is part of the essential purpose of an AONB, should be embraced and should be an equally essential part of improving employment opportunities in the town. While Charlbury cannot of course compete with Woodstock or Burford, its aspiration should not be limited.

Our Reply

It is felt that the level of tourism suggested is appropriate for the Town. The plan encourages walkers, cyclists, campers etc, but is mindful of the need to do so without spoiling the attractiveness of the Town and surroundings which justifies its designation as being within an AONB.


Jim Clemence

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy ECT2: Conversion of disused retail premises

Even though most of the retail in Charlbury had already gone by the time we moved to Charlbury in 2005, I can understand why it is so greatly missed. I don’t however think that seeking conversion of vacant retail to office just in case there is a demand for retail in Charlbury at some point in the future is a sensible strategy for the town and that permitting secondary and outlying retail premises to convert to residential would be a much more sensible approach and could significantly improve the attractiveness of the old town centre. Nor do I see that there is significant benefit in holding out for small office use for which there is little evidence of demand, which will likely result in a lower standard of refurbishment and regeneration and for which the employment benefits are limited, given that in many instances it is substituting homeworking. A landlord of multiple office premises in the town has confirmed that demand for small offices is limited and that a lack of parking means that Charlbury offices can only draw on a very local market. Conversion to low cost residential on the other hand offers tangible benefits.

Our Reply

Comments acknowledged. The wording of policy ECT2 has been revised in this regard.


Mrs Cynthia Cobley

Suggestion re local housing style

Initiate new competition in order to re-introduce local housing style. If Charlbury has to have more housing, set up a new competition for architecture and planning students to design one and two bedroom housing at low cost in local vernacular style, incorporating for example: 1. Using innovative building materials and methods; 2. Insulation – triple glazing, light wells, sheeps wool, mud walls etc. Good planning to gett off ground. Winner has opportunity to build and monitor one experimental 3 house terrace.

Our Reply

Thank you for your suggestion. Such a competition, which would require developer involvement, could not be delivered through the Neighbourhood Plan and therefore no changes to the plan are required. However, you are welcome to present a detailed proposal for such a scheme to the Town Council for consideration at some future time.


Robert Collery

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy ECT7, ECT8, CA3:

Policies ECT 7 and ECT8 and CA3 The Plan states the following: The narrow streets in the historic town centre are an important part of the character of Charlbury, but they also pose difficulties for traffic and parking. Most properties on the central roads do not have private parking and their residents need to park on street. Visitors to the houses, shops, businesses and churches can struggle to find parking. The Spendlove car park is very convenient for the Co-Op, medical centre and nearby businesses, but fills up at peak times. There is also the issue of railway station users parking on street, either to avoid parking charges at the railway car park or because it is full. All-day parking in the town centre by people working for local businesses is as much of an issue for local residents as that of rail commuters. While residents are pleased to have local businesses in the town, we would ask businesses to consider how they might help staff to arrange parking which does not tie up from 9.00 to 17.00 town centre spaces used by residents and visitors to the town for their own day-to-day business. Policy ECT7 Parking The Policy includes the following: “Creation of appropriate additional parking in or near the town centre is supported should opportunities arise, in accordance with Local Plan 2031 policy T4.” A Community Aspiration should be added as follows: “Ways of creating appropriate additional parking in or near the town centre will be actively sought in consultation with local businesses and residents” CA3 – Residents’ Parking I support this but Residents‘ Parking should be the title of this CA3 – Not Station Car Park – the issue goes wider than this.

Our Reply

Firstly, we accept your comment regarding the title of Community Aspiration 3 and have renamed it as you suggest. Secondly, the Town Council is pleased to note your other comments and suggestions for consideration by the Traffic Working Group when reviewing traffic-related issues and formulating recommendations for changes to parking restrictions and related measures.


Dawn Colvin

Comment on policy CH5: Comment only

Most impressed and supportive of the plan. Feel strongly that affordable housing built in Charlbury should be restricted to people with local connections and that town’s stock of right to buy and shared ownership prperty should be exempt from being available for right to buy. I wish to echo “Friends of West Oxfordshire Cotswolds” comments too.

Our Reply

We welcome your support and comments. Thank you.


Sue Cox

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy CH6: The need for more family units that are affordable for local and new households; and empty properties

The report shows that too many larger homes are being built which are then under occupied. The town needs newcomers and well as local connected families to widen the diversity. There are not enough smaller family homes for key and working age people; the demographic shows the town loses the 20 – 45 yo who might use the school and keep the community thriving, making the town unbalanced.. A lot of the clubs are dependent on the 55’s and well over. I feel this report justifies restrictions on the type of development approved for sale. Affordability is vital to increase the diversity of the population. There are a number of empty properties in the town which could be brought back into use; WODC has identified a figure of at least 12. in the town. Supported living – the report identifies this area as lacking; if the older residents who want to downsize within the town there should be an option for sheltered homes..

Our Reply

We acknowledge your comments which we believe to be in line with the aims and objectives of the draft Neighbourhood Plan and which echo the analysis set out in Appendix A.3 of the draft plan. Policies CH1 to CH6 seek to restrict the type of homes approved for development in the way you suggest within the constraints of compliance with national and local policy required for a Neighbourhood Plan. Policy CH10 addresses the needs of older people and those with disabilities. Regarding empty properties, many of which were formally retail or employment premises, Policy ECT2 has now been revised to acknowledge change of use to residential whilst seeking to ensure that such changes address the need for lower cost homes.


Ian Cox

Concerns about the process, lack of openness, representation, late issue of minutes of meetings, delays to draft being made public

I have previously expressed concerns about the following to the Town Council: Errors in Questionnaire; false statement that population has risen when census data confirms that it hasn’t; self-selectionof, and exclusion of individuals from, NP group; lack of declarations of interest, lack of openness of process, out of date information on town notice boards; lack of governance and oversight by Town Council; repeated delays in issue of consultation draft.

Our Reply

Your concerns are acknowledged and noted.


Ian Cox

General comments on consultation draft

NP process should have started earlier; Draft is comprehensive and the commitment to sustaining a mixed and balanced community is good; lack of recognition for the need to identify locations for employment that would reduce journeys to work; over influence of conservation group, as a single issue group, on a draft document; climate emergency not given a high enough profile; Overall, I support the intent, policies and aspirations in the draft. The Town Council needs to leqd on the preparation of an implementation plan to ensure that the NP is proactively taken forward.

Our Reply

Your concerns are acknowledged and noted.


Stephen Darnell

Comment on policy NE7: Inclusion Wychwood Paddocks

I note that Wychwood Paddocks Playing Field has not so far been included as a designated Local Green Space in the draft Charlbury Neighbourhood Plan. The reasons given for exclusion centre on the view that the National Planning Policy Framework already affords protection to playing fields, and that the area lies within the Cotswolds AONB and the Charlbury Conservation Area. However, I feel that these reasons do not in themselves provide strong enough protection for an area which the Plan recognises as ‘meeting important local needs’ as both a ‘functional’ and an ‘environmentally comforting’ space. The fact that OCC is also opposed to designation gives me additional concerns as to the medium term future of the area as a green space, particularly when one notes that some 215 school playing fields have been sold across England in the last nine years. As ‘an agreeable and valuable amenity of local significance’ I urge that Wychwood Paddocks playing field be included as a designated Local Green Space in the final Neighbourhood Plan in order to prevent any future development, and provide strong long term protection for a valued local asset.

Our Reply

The concern you have expressed over Wychwood Paddocks is recognised and is shared by several other residents. The value of the site as a school playing field is beyond doubt and is generally accepted. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Careful thought has been given to this question and the reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in appendix E.3 (was appendix F.3) of the draft plan. Following the strong representations from yourself and others, the site assessment was reviewed against the criteria for designation but the decision not to designate was still judged to be appropriate in this case. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary although the reasons for non-designation have been clarified further in appendix E.3. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we believe that this covers your main concerns. This position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land and recognise its value to the community but strongly oppose LGS designation. If circumstances change in the future (e.g. if the primary school were to be relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meet the identified needs of the community.


Liz Drake

Comment on policy NE1, NE7, CH7, CH2, CH3, CH5: Suggestio to extend conservation area

Green Space and Conservation Status Concerns. Thank you for the work. Green spaces include Clarkes Bottom (LGS13) but should consider fields opposite (area where there was a proposed housing development behind Jeffersons Piece). Conservation Area should extend up Clarkes Bottom and also include the same area opposite. We do need more affordable housing, but it needs creful thought to where it goes. Rushy Bank was a good option but was objected to.

Our Reply

Designation of the Conservation Area is not within the scope of a Neighbourhood Plan but Charlbury’s conservation area is already widely drawn to take account of the strong setting of the town and it is unlikely that any extension would be approved. Much of Clarke’s bottom and surrounding areas are already included in the conservation area (see Map 5 on page 87 of the revised plan). Strict criteria are laid down in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for Local Green Space designation and we do not believe these would be met for the additional spaces that you mention. With regard to Clarke’s Bottom (LGS13), following strong objections from the landowner and other advice, the assessment was reviewed and are now persuaded that LGS designation is not the appropriate approach to protection of this space. The field forms part of a much larger tract of land (including the fields to which you refer) and may not be judged on examination to meet the criteria for LGS designation. We have therefore taken steps to ensure that the site is strongly protected through other means within this plan and elsewhere as outlined below and have agreed to remove this site from LGS designation under Policy NE7. The reasons for this decision are set out in Appendix E.3 (formerly Appendix F.3) of the revised plan. This decision in no way implies any reduced commitment to the protection of Clarke’s Bottom but reflects a reassessment of the most appropriate means of achieving this. The site forms an important part of the Wigwell Blue/Green Corridor which is strongly protected by a strengthened Policy NE6 of the revised Neighbourhood Plan. We are also confident that the site and the views across it, from and towards the town, are protected by the site’s location within the Cotswolds AONB in accordance with WO Local Plan 2031 policy EH1, by the policies of the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan and by the revised policies NE1 and NE2 of this Plan. In addition, Policy NE5 of this plan, which has also been substantially strengthened, will provide further strong protection for wildlife and biodiversity.


Basil Eastwood

General Comment and suggestions

I have read the Charlbury Neighbourhood Plan with great interest. It is an excellent piece of work and should stand the town in good stead in future decision-making. I do have a few comments but I offer these hesitantly as a relative newcomer to the town. You were of course hampered by the limitations on your remit. Many of your traffic and parking ideas could therefore only be Community Aspirations. Even so I think there could be more of them and they could be more vigorously expressed. The plan does not really grapple with the fact that the town’s development as a regional hub and the maintenance of its shopping facilities are at least hindered by the difficulties of bringing cars in and parking them, but we certainly do not want more cars in the centre. Should we therefore be thinking about partial or time-limited pedestrianisation coupled with improved parking on the edge of the town, ideally supported by a community shuttle bus (electric of course)? The draft puts a lot of effort into listing unlisted buildings and emphasises their importance in the townscape. That is surely right, but the text should also emphasise the importance to the townscape of the listed buildings. And some deserve special mention. St Mary’s Church for example is not as architecturally distinguished as Lee Place (what one can see of it) but it is far more significant to the townscape and is arguably one of the visual icons of the town quite apart from its role through history as a if not the centre of the community. The draft rightly pays homage to the role that volunteers play in the life of the town. It might also note that the town’s churches and chapels and their communities are disproportionately important in this respect. And the fact that Charlbury a town of less than 3000 has Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and Quaker Churches/chapels is another way in which it serves a wider area. On page 14 the draft recognises that the churches make their buildings available for community use but that use should also be noted in 6.3 where they should be listed as community facilities. The Quaker Meeting house is regularly used for choir practices, Pilates classes, talks etc and, quite apart from religious activities, St Mary’s hosts coffee mornings, art exhibitions, concerts etc – and that’s just the two that I know something about.. But as I say the plan is an excellent piece of work. Congratulations to all concerned.

Our Reply

Thank you for your comments and suggestions which we acknowledge and welcome. As you acknowledge, the main purpose of the plan is to guide future development in the town and the plan’s content must therefore be viewed with that in mind. However, an informative outline of historic development is included in section 8.2 and further information is included within the Local Area Character Assessment, which is a supporting document prepared with substantial input from local residents to inform the plan. Your comments on traffic and parking issues will be noted by the Town Council for future consideration by the Traffic Working Group as the Neighbourhood Plan does not provide a delivery mechanism for such matters. The valuable contribution made by the churches to the community are recognised under Community Life in Section 2 page 14. St Mary’s Church is referenced as a listed building in sections 8.3 but listed buildings are already protected nationally and therefore do not require additional protection via the Neighbourhood Plan. Other places of worship are included within the Local List (Policy HE1 and Appendix D). The townscape is protected by virtue of the designated conservation area and also through Policy NE2 for the associated views.


Christine Elliott

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE9: Environmental Design Standards need to increase standard of building regs within the town as done elsewhere, e.g. Wirksworth in Derbyshire

Wirksworth Nieghbourhood Plan: https://www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/images/documents/W/WIRKSWORTH_NEIGHBOURHOOD_PLAN_FINAL_24_June_2015.pdf

Our Reply

Policy NE9 has been amended and strengthened in this regard.


Christine Elliott

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Need to have a policy to replace mature trees within the community that succomb to disease such as Ash Dieback.

Our Reply

Policy NE5 and the supporting text have been substantially enhanced to include more details on trees and tree planting strategy.


Christine Elliott

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Support of use of empty shops for community use would be good.

Our Reply

Policy ECT2 and the supporting text have been amended to include this option.


Christine Elliott

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Smart bus stops would make secondary bus stops more usable, i.e. to know whether the bus has gone past already

Our Reply

Community Aspiration 5 has been amended to include this suggestion.


Christine Elliott

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Permission for cyclists to go up Brown’s Lane contrary to one-way direction

Our Reply

Not deliverable by the Neighbourhood Plan but your suggestion is noted for consideration by the Town Council Traffic Working Group (indeed this is already on the list of options under consideration).


Christine Elliott

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Factual Corrections

My surname is spelt wrong in the report, it should have two Ts. Thatched cottage is wrongly called Rose Cottage Sturt Road and Woodstock Road developments were 1930s and 40s Wormwood Cottage is listed twice Tythe map is 1847

Our Reply

Errors acknowledged and corrected – thank you.


Christine Elliott

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Support use of land for local food production

Our Reply

This is included as part of the justification for Local Green Space (LGS) designation for two allotment sites (LGS4 and LGS12).


Christine Elliott

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Acknowledge importance of the quarry as a central privately protected oasis for wildlife, if lost, other sites would be poorer

Our Reply

Conservation and protection for the quarry site has now been explicitly included within Policy NE6 recognising its very important contribution to biodiversity and carbon sequestration.


John England

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy ECT2: Policy ECT2 is very important. The future retail and commercial role of the town centre must be strengthened.

I have a particular interest in the town centre as a retired town planning consultant specialising in retail and town centre planning. Having recently moved to Charlbury I love the town. It is a really good place to live. Although the town centre still retains some important retail and commercial businesses, the number of vacant former retail and commercial premises is a negative feature which detracts from the overall character of the town centre. It is unlikely that viable retail and other businesses will want to re-occupy these vacant premises. The objective within Aim 4 to prioritise the town centre and support existing businesses and services is very important. I strongly support Policy ECT2 which strikes a realistic balance between encouraging new commercial uses and ensuring that changes to non-commercial uses are carried out appropriately.

Our Reply

We welcome these well-informed comments and support for policy ECT2.


John England

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Just a minor correction to the text

In terms of location Charlbury is actually north west of Oxford, not as stated (north east).

Our Reply

Error acknowledged and corrected – thank you.


Simon Fenn

Response type: SUPPORT

The NP is clear, positive and helpful.

The Plan seems to me to do a good job of reflecting the many views and opinions of the community and is clear and constructive in the descriptions, aspirations and policies it sets out. I hope it gets the support from the community that it deserves.

Our Reply

Your support and comments are acknowledged and welcome – thank you.


Mrs R J Fitzmaurice

Comment only

I support the plan as a whole. I find this form very confusing but generally agree with the contents so I feel I should submit rather than not

Our Reply

Thank you for your support. I’m sorry you found the form confusing but thank you for engaging with the consultation process nevertheless.


Mrs R J Fitzmaurice

Comment on policy NE7: Inclusion Wychwood Paddocks

(Wychwood Paddocks) really not suitable for development except for the school or much needed smaller homes for older people seeking to downsize.

Our Reply

Thank you for your comments. We agree and the policies within this plan support this view. The current use of this site as a school playing field is strongly protected by national policy but if circumstances were to change, our housing policies seek to ensure that any development would meet identifiable local needs such as those you mention.


Mrs R J Fitzmaurice

Not relevant to NDP

Parking enforced and yellow lines renewed.

Our Reply

Comments noted but not applicable to the Neighbourhood Plan.


Mrs R J Fitzmaurice

Comment on policy NE7: Support for LGS designation

Blenheim have twice submitted planning applications for executive-type houses which we do not need. It is a very valuable space for wildlife – owls, foxes etc.

Our Reply

Comments noted and welcome but it is not clear which LGS site you mean.


Duncan Forbes

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy NE7, NE6: Coordinated management of local green spaces as part of the support of green infrastructure

The Council is requested to include as a policy the development of a voluntary coordinated management plan, in conjunction with landowners and other stakeholders, of the various green spaces and corridors identified in the plan. This would help to ensure that as far as practicable the encouragement of biodiversity and of the protection and enhancement of habitat for specific species took place in a consistent way across all green spaces. It could also promote best practice in management of local green spaces by providing access to advice on for example chemical and pesticide use. The plan should be developed in conjunction with surrounding landowners to take account of how their polices and practices related to the green infrastructure identified in the plan.

Our Reply

This suggestion is welcome but we believe it would be difficult to achieve through a policy at this stage. Revisions have been made to section 7 of the plan to enhance the protection of blue/green infrastructure. The suggestion of possible establishment of a management plan in collaboration with landowners and other stakeholders is noted for future consideration by the Town Council Environment Working Group.


Duncan Forbes

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Recognition of Climate emergency by Town Council

Now that the Town Council has recognised the Climate Emergency and committed itself to take action locally this should be referred to in the overview.

Our Reply

Accepted. Appropriate changes have been made throughout the plan including the overview and vision statement.


Duncan Forbes

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy NE9: New buildings and alterations requiring planning permission should be required to meet the highest environmental standards.

Whilst NE9 refers to the need for new development to demonstrate “excellent environmental performance” it does not require developers or improvers to meet standards in excess of current building regulations. The HQM is a voluntary code of quality. Given the long life of buildings and their cumulative energy use over many decades, every effort should be made to ramp up environmental performance to as high a level as practicable. I believe that under the existing planning system and the current NPPF, neighbourhood plans can set specific standards for developments which all applications would be required to meet. If this is the case then I would request the Town Council to set such standards, possibly using HQM criteria. If the same can be applied to building extensions or alterations requiring planning consent, they should be included. Adoption of this proposal would send a strong message about the Council’s commitment to a sustainable future.

Our Reply

Modifications have been made throughout the plan in recognition of the declared climate emergency. In particular, the wording of Policy NE9 has been strengthened with regard to environmental standards within the constraints of compliance with national and local policy and legislation.


D W Ford

Comments only affecting OCC responsibilities

Infrastructure, Planning, Health & Safety, Utilities, Local Gov’t. As the local Charlbury vicar wrote in the parish leaflet (Sept 2019), “people who live in small rural towns known as “chocolate-boxes” can be adversely affected by poor infrastructure and communiications, isolation, lack of amenities and public transport”. After many years of austerity and future warnings about climate change in the not too distant future, even Charlbury will need careful management and swifter actions when dealing with concerns. Utilities: local streams are reported as highly polluted, surface water drainage is inadequate – too few drains; sewage smells in some parts, possibly needs upgrading of sewerage systems. Neglect of read surfaces has left drain covers low or high (e.g. Crawborough). Rights of Way: more needed to replace those lost in 20th century or earlier. Roads and Bridleways: Surfaces have been neglected – major concern. Huge potholes in town and rural roads in area poor (e.g. Taston). County Council must deal with its statutory reponsibilities. there are too many health and safety issues for road and path users which need addressing (e.g. Enstone Road, Crawborough), Primary School frontage is a disgrace, cycle tracks are a necessity. Local Government: User liaison needed (e.g. planning). Public consultation is essential. Shops: Pharmacy needs preserving (leaflet re: Pharmacy2U enclosed as a warning!) – private postal services are not a good substitute. Nowadays, opportunities to work in rural areas are limited. Farming and Landscape: More trees needed to replace old diseased specimens. Hedges could be improved (gaps filled). Mini water reservoirs shoudl be constructed on farms. Soil quality and loss are major issues. Pesticides still a problem. New trees shoudl be suitable for Cotswold soils and of mixed varieties. Planning: appropriate affordable housing, clean water, efficient drains and sewerage, less pollution and good healthy facilities are, of course, essentials.

Our Reply

Comments noted. Where applicable these issues are addressed throughout the plan. However, the Neighbourhood Plan does not provide a mechanism to address specific matters mentioned so these should be raised separately with the appropriate authorities.


Joanne Fox

Comment on policy NE7: request additional LGS Triangle – Dyers Hill / Church Lane

Dyers Hill junction w Church Lane has a small triangular shaped green space w. a mature tree, grass and bench seat (similar to LGS6). Please include it on the green space. It acts like a small park with frutilla [sic], bulbs. People & children use it as a resting place coming from station. Tranquil spot and a bench with a plaque.

Our Reply

Request noted. However, we do not believe that this site satisfies the required criteria for Local Green Space designation.


Michael Geeson-Brown

Response type: SUPPORT

To protect the strong landscape setting within the Cotswolds AONB including its views, green spaces,and wildlife ,important for biodiversity

The plan is very impressive , well researched, and presented in a fair and balanced format. It will help to try and ensure that further development in Charlbury is appropriate for its needs in the years to come. I am supportive of the plan’s housing and environmental policies in particular. The proposed Neighbourhood Green Spaces will protect some important open spaces both within and in the setting of the town. I am particularly pleased to see the proposed designation of the area of the Cricket Club at LGS7, and other designated areas for recreation within the town .I also welcome the inclusion of LGS17, known as the “horse field” and which is featured on the front cover of the Information Sheet for the CNP 2031.The site is a haven for a whole range of wildlife, particularly birds, and any type of development on that site would be highly detrimental .It would in addition to its impact as an AONB be a source of light pollution, and an increase in the towns carbon foot print. It is also of course a sight of some archaeological and historic interest which adds to its significance as a designated green space. In addition of course the site demonstrates the striking visual gateway into Charlbury from the west , providing as it does a unique and stunning entrance into the Evenlode Valley. The site borders the Oxfordshire Way which provides an important source of recreation for walkers and cyclists .The site designated as a Green Space would support the towns continued aspirations to “welcome walkers” and it would maintain the significant visual impact that it provides looking back across the Evenlode Valley . I support and recognise that there is need for affordable housing and this is recognised as a key issue for Charlbury. We have a thriving and diverse community with a balanced age and social structure requiring a mix of housing stock particularly properties which are affordable by those on lower incomes. Recent market housing in Charlbury has not provided for this need. I have been through the whole draft proposed plan-it is an excellent piece of work, and taking into account my comments above I wholeheartedly support it. .

Our Reply

Thank you for your detailed comments and support which are acknowledged and welcome. With specific reference to the two Local Green Space (LGS) sites that you mention (LGS7 and LGS17), we wholeheartedly share your view of their importance in terms of landscape value, local amenity and wildlife. Protection of these sites is of major importance and the above issues informed our original decision to nominate them for LGS designation. However, following strong opposition to designation from the landowner and other advice, we have reviewed the assessments and now believe that these particular sites may not be judged on examination to meet the required criteria for LGS designation and therefore that LGS designation is not the appropriate approach to deliver protection in these specific cases. We have therefore taken steps to ensure that the sites are strongly protected through other means within this plan and elsewhere as outlined below but have also agreed to remove these sites from LGS designation under Policy NE7 and have set out the reasons for this decision in Appendix E.3 (formerly Appendix F.3) of the revised plan. This decision in no way implies any reduced commitment to the protection of the area but reflects a reassessment of the most appropriate means of achieving this protection. Both sites are prominent within the whole Evenlode valley, an area deserving of strong protection in its entirety as clearly echoed by your comments. The cricket club grounds site (LGS7) is also important to the community as playing fields as well as lying within a high-risk flood zone. We are confident that both sites and the views across them, from and towards the town, are protected by their prominent location within the sensitive landscape of the Evenlode Valley and within the Cotswolds AONB in accordance with WO Local Plan 2031 policy EH1, by the policies of the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan and by the revised policies NE1, NE2 and NE3 of this Plan. In addition, Policies NE5 & NE6 of this plan, both of which have been substantially strengthened, will provide strong protection for wildlife and biodiversity. LGS7 is also afforded strong protection in its usage as playing fields by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and development on the site would also be unacceptable due to its location within the Evenlode flood plain with recent history of severe flooding. This site also lies within the Evenlode blue/green corridor and is therefore protected by Policy NE6 of this plan.


Sarah Geeson-Brown

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy NE7: I support the need to allocate and preserve LGS within and around the town,.

LGS are important in any settlement, adding character as well as valuable access to the beauty and health giving properties of nature. My comment relates particularly to LGS numbers 7, 8 and 17. LGS 17 – interestingly this area features in photos used for this NP, both on the front of the website homepage, as well as the leaflet. Which underlines just how important it is for Charlbury’s setting. I acknowledge the importance of the history of the site, its popularity with walkers (both local and from afar) and the local significance of the beauty of its views. I would also like to add that I have for 15 years observed the richness of wildlife in this area. This includes a huge variety of birdlife: buzzards, kites, a rare pair of ravens, rooks and crows, woodpeckers, field fares, swallows, house martins, cuckoo, owls (tawny, little and barn), partridge and pheasant, robins, dunnocks,and blackbirds, herons, and of course wood pigeon. Small mammals include foxes, moles, rabbits, hares, roe deer and muntjak. Any development on this area would not only destroy the rich wildlife habitat, but also the character-defining views of the town, and the fine rural setting of the hamlet of Walcot.

Our Reply

Thank you for your detailed comments and support which are acknowledged and welcome. We fully accept the importance of Local Green Space (LGS) sites. With specific reference to the Local Green Space (LGS) sites that you mention (LGS7, LGS8 and LGS17), we wholeheartedly share your view of their importance in terms of landscape value, local amenity and wildlife. Protection of these sites is of major importance and the above issues informed our original decision to nominate them for LGS designation. However, following strong opposition to designation from the landowner and other advice, we have reviewed the assessments and now believe that two of these sites (LGS7 & LGS17) may not be judged on examination to meet the required criteria for LGS designation and therefore that LGS designation is not the appropriate approach to deliver protection in these specific cases. We have therefore taken steps to ensure that the sites are strongly protected through other means within this plan and elsewhere as outlined below but have also agreed to remove these sites from LGS designation under Policy NE7 and have set out the reasons for this decision in Appendix E.3 (formerly Appendix F.3) of the revised plan. This decision in no way implies any reduced commitment to the protection of the area but reflects a reassessment of the most appropriate means of achieving this protection. Designation has been retained for site LGS8. Both sites LGS7 & LGS17 are prominent within the whole Evenlode valley, an area deserving of strong protection in its entirety as clearly echoed by your comments. The cricket club grounds site (LGS7) is also important to the community as playing fields as well as lying within a high-risk flood zone. We are confident that both sites and the views across them, from and towards the town, are protected by their prominent location within the sensitive landscape of the Evenlode Valley and within the Cotswolds AONB in accordance with WO Local Plan 2031 policy EH1, by the policies of the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan and by the revised policies NE1, NE2 and NE3 of this Plan. In addition, Policies NE5 & NE6 of this plan, both of which have been substantially strengthened, will provide strong protection for wildlife and biodiversity. LGS7 is also afforded strong protection in its usage as playing fields by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and development on the site would also be unacceptable due to its location within the Evenlode flood plain with recent history of severe flooding. This site also lies within the Evenlode blue/green corridor and is therefore protected by Policy NE6 of this plan. We also believe that development on site LGS17 would be contrary to WO Local Plan Policy OS2 of the which requires the avoidance of coalescence of separate communities.


Margaret Jean Gilmour

Comment only

Having read the whole CNP 2031 I found it extremely informative, well researched and very well worth as a plan for the future of Charlbury

Our Reply

We welcome your support. Thank you.


M Glasgow

Response type: SUPPORT

Our Reply

We welcome your support. Thank you.


John Hind

Comment on policy CA4: Comment only

Fully support

Our Reply

We welcome your support. Thank you.


John Hind

Comment only

Many thanks to all concerned for their considerable efforts in producing this plan

Our Reply

Thank you.


John Hind

Comment on policy NE7: request additional LGS TChurch Lane

Add the magical view over the Evenlode & cricket Club from Church Lane (Dyers Hill end)

Our Reply

Request noted but LGS designation is not necessary and would not meet the required criteria as this area would be classified as an “extensive tract of land”. Protection for these views and the Evenlode Valley is covered by Policies NE2 and NE3.


John Hind

Comment on policy NE9: Comment only

Fully support but suggest aimimng for highest possible standards

Our Reply

Policy NE9 has been amended in this respect.


John Hind

Comment on policy CH10: request for clarification

Fully support the need for such facilities [older people and those with disabilities]. Do not Hanover Close and Cognatum (Playing Close) support older people?

Our Reply

We welcome your support for this policy. The facilities you mention do support older people but do not necessarily meet current standards for such support. Amongst other things, Policy CH10 seeks to ensure that any redevelopment of such sites will retain such support whilst meeting the latest requirements.


John Hind

Comment on policy HE2: Comment only

New build must “fit in” with existing building styles

Our Reply

Agreed. This is covered by Policy HE2 and the associated Designs Guidance in Appendix C.


John Hind

Comment on policy ECT12, CA6: Comment only

Fully support and suggest Spendlove Car Park and Rail Station.

Our Reply

We welcome your support and note your suggestions for locations.


John Hind

Comment on policy ECT11: Comment re bus service

A better service please. Busses often empty so suggest more smaller busses

Our Reply

Your comments are noted for consideration by the Town Council Traffic Working Group.


John Hind

Comment on policy ECT2: see upadted planning application

New Barn Garage move to Enstone? Will remove employment from Charlbury & cause more traffic to/from Enstone. Conversion of site will be to high-cost housing

Our Reply

Comments relating to specific planning applications are not appropriate to this consultation and must be directed to the local planning authority (WODC in this case).


Simon Hogg

From page 64 of the draft plan: For these buildings, permitted development rights should be withdrawn for proposed works, as listed below, to/on the principal or side elevation, or at the front or side, fronting the highway or visible from a publicly accessible space. Work to be covered to include: • alterations to elevations, including windows and doors; • alterations to roofs, including changes to roofing materials or their colour; • erections, alteration or demolition of chimneys or flues; • the erection of porches; • the painting of previously unpainted exterior walls; • erection or demolition of gates, fences, walls or railings; • erection of solar panels. This list covers work that would materially affect the external appearance of the building, and which therefore counts as development under planning legislation, but which would otherwise be permitted under Part 1 Classes A, C or D or Part 2 Class C of the GPDO. As already explained, withdrawing permitted development rights would not prevent changes being made to the external appearance of buildings; it would simply mean that planning permission would be required prior to any works. In considering any planning application, the local authority would be required to make a balanced judgement taking into account the scale of any harm or loss to the character of the conservation area and the extent of the public benefit that would accrue from the proposed work.


Simon Hogg

I have a few concerns about this, with regard to my own property (5 Ditchley Road), not surprisingly. My primary concerns are below: 1. The retrospective application of such a direction, which would require me to 1. Fit cast iron guttering 2. Replace the existing UVPC windows 3. Remove the front path (concrete) 4. Remove a Velux window 5. Rebuild the chimney – a previous occupant reduced the height for an unknown reason 6. Demolish the porch 2. I have UVPC windows, which are not attractive and should be replaced due to age and poor energy efficiency. These houses were originally fitted with single glazed sash windows. Would such a direction enforce the type of window to be replaced? My sister is currently renovating her house (in Cumbria) and decided to replace such windows, with new timber, but double glazed sash windows at a cost of £4,000, much more than UVPC, even timber like UVPC windows. 3. I had the chimney repaired last year, some frost damaged bricks were replaced and pointing was done. That took two men a morning to do. Such a direction would make such a simple repair complicated due to the requirement of applying for planning permission. Who would object to such work being done? 4. I’m just about to replace the front down pipe, a very simple task, but again, would that require an application? 5. I made a new front gate last year, tanalised unpainted timber, again, would that require an application? 6. I painted my front door green this year, will that have to be checked? 7. What about TV aerials and satellite dishes, if I replaced the TV aerial due to age with something identical, would that require an application? 8. There is the time and cost (£206) involved in a planning application ie, using the chimney repair example, which only took a couple of phone calls, it could add weeks to such a simple thing. I realise the desire to preserve things, but given the fact that the list above is already in place ie UVPC windows etc., it seems a bit pointless to apply such a regulation when the scope for any future changes/development is exceedingly limited or nil. Also the fact that such changes to things that are already in place, would require an application eg like-for-like windows. It just seems to be excessive and pointless, this is of course from my own perspective with regards to my own property. However, I’m not sure what such an application will actually achieve, except make such changes as above take more time, cost a bit more and would no doubt be approved anyway. I think the only way to do this sensibly would be almost on a per property basis. They’re my views

Our Reply

Comments noted. On advice from WODC, section 8.7 of the draft plan and all reference to an Article 4 Direction have been removed as inappropriate for a Neighbourhood Plan. Note that the Local List itself highlights features of interest but does not impose any further planning restrictions as would have been the case with an Article 4 Direction in place.


Valerie Holman

Comment only

Strongly support section 5 (Housing) and 7 (Green Space). Very thoughtful and balanced Neighbourhood Plan. Excellent idea to identify special local green spaces and green corridors. The setting and natural environment is one of the main reasons for choosing to live in Charlbury. Sound approach to housing policy and welcome to see mention of needs of older people (giving them opportunity to downsize) as well as emphasis on mix of dwelling sizes.

Our Reply

Comments and support noted and welcome – thank you.


Katherine Holmes

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy ECT6: Should this policy be re-worded to encourage the creation of new play areas without being a part of new development?

Is there scope for obtaining funding for purchasing land / play equipment / facility maintenance without waiting for a new development to occur? There are many children in the vicinity of Sturt Close / Woodstock Road in need of nearby play facilities. It is too late to do anything about the development that took place on the former play area off Sturt Close, but perhaps its tiny new LAP could be furnished with some limited play equipment? There are also a couple of other small patches of land in this area of Charlbury (e.g. off Sturt Close) which it may be possible to use for this purpose if funding / permissions could be sought?

Our Reply

In the context of the Neighbourhood Plan such funding can only be requested as a contribution for new developments. Where suitable land is available, a request can be made via the Town Council.


Katherine Holmes

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE6, NE7: Excellent green space / corridor assessment, however green spaces along Woodstock Road appear a little lacking.

The maps of Green Spaces and green corridors within Charlbury generally seems to be very good and comprehensive. These are extremely important assets that need protecting in Charlbury. However there are a couple of places where there appear to be gaps. Firstly, there is a triangular field on the south side of Woodstock Road opposite the new developments which appears to be relatively species-rich and which offers a rural view as you enter Charlbury from this direction. It would be worth taking this field into consideration as a green space. Secondly, Stonesfield Lane and the bridleway towards Stonesfield represents an important ancient wildlife corridor, and whilst the wooded stretch does get somewhat cut-off before you get to Stonesfield, within the bounds of Charlbury it is at least retained and represents an important link into the countryside. I would suggest it is also worthy of consideration as a green corridor or similar.

Our Reply

Suggestions noted but we do not believe that additional protection is required or justified for these sites. The areas mentioned all lie within designated Conservation Target Areas and, as such, are afforded additional protection under Policy NE6 of the plan. The bridleway towards Stonesfield is also protected by the same policy as a public right of way. Important views are protected under Policy NE2. Protection for biodiversity is also covered by Policy NE5. Significant enhancements to protection have been incorporated into policies NE5 and NE6 and the supporting text in the revised plan.


Jessie Horn

Comment on policy NE7:

To date, Wychwood Paddocks Playing Field has not been included as a designated green space in the draft Charlbury Neighbourhood Plan even though the Neighbourhood Plan recognises the space as “an agreeable and valuable amenity of local significance”. This is somewhat worrying as this space is used every weekend for football and during the week for training, not to mention that the school use it for the children to “run their daily mile” which is a Government backed scheme and parking for football tournaments on Nine Acres, Street Fair etc.. It would be hoped that the Neighbourhood Plan would recognise that the Playing Field is a valuable asset for Charlbury. Considering the number of school playing fields that have been sold off in the last few years, surely Charlbury and OCC could set a precedence and assign this field as a designated green space. It is hoped that the final Neighbourhood Plan will include Wychwood Paddocks Playing Field as a designated Local Green Space to provide long term protection to a valued local space and to prevent future development of the site which would probably have overpriced houses that locals would not be able to afford as has happened too often in Charlbury.

Our Reply

The concern you have expressed over Wychwood Paddocks is recognised and is shared by several other residents. The value of the site as a school playing field is beyond doubt and is generally accepted. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Careful thought has been given to this question and the reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in appendix E.3 (was appendix F.3) of the draft plan. Following the strong representations from yourself and others, the site assessment was reviewed against the criteria for designation but the decision not to designate was still judged to be appropriate in this case. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary although the reasons for non-designation have been clarified further in appendix E.3. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we believe that this covers your main concerns. This position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land and recognise its value to the community but strongly oppose LGS designation. If circumstances change in the future (e.g. if the primary school were to be relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meets the identified needs of the community (e.g. affordable/low-cost housing and/or development to support the needs of older people or those with disabilities. i.e. NOT overpriced houses that are not affordable to local people).


Russell Ingham

There is no justification for an Article 4 direction to be applied to section 8.7 addresses

I am against the Town Council pursuing an “Article 4 Direction” for the NP’s section 8.7 properties as I believe that this will not preserve or enhance the “Charlbury character”. 1. The NP champions Charlbury’s “historic environment”, its AONB “gateway” and Conservation Area status. However, the “historical environment” has already been severely compromised. Hixet Wood has non-authentic windows, wall coverings, satellite dishes, driveways, car-charging points and yet even with these developments the Council still deems these addresses to be noteworthy and attractive. An “Article 4” exemption would therefore only encumber residents that haven’t (as yet) taken any self-improvement steps, and, thereby, deter them from becoming more energy efficient or environmentally “greener”. 2. The last town appraisal and the planning authorities do not highlight the section 8.7 addresses as being deserving of any protection beyond that conferred by the existing Conservation Area. Whilst the NP’s authors may themselves believe that our “historical character” can be reinforced by restricting small-scale projects they have not provided evidence to support their presumed view. This omission plus the failure to date to seek and utilise extant planning powers in order to protect our “historical character” suggests that an Article 4 direction is the result of well-intentioned but over-enthusiastic and somewhat desperate zeal. 3. The section 8.7 vulnerable addresses form a miniscule part of Charlbury. In general they adjoin the town centre which with its “listed buildings” enjoys both protected and strictly enforced development status. However, curiously, developments of new, pseudo-Cotswold, non-traditional, stone-faced and modern-windowed buildings have been permitted within the very areas listed within section 8.7 (eg. The Hixet Wood “Galliards” and the “Police Houses” developments). It is now, therefore, illogical to throttle nationally permitted developments within the same areas merely based on a well-intentioned local wish to retain a stereotypical character over a wider area, as clearly, this character has already been compromised. In short this is an example of “closing the barn door after the horse has bolted” and existing and future residents will have to suffer increased restrictions merely in order to keep an unsubstantiated status quo. 4. Finally, the NP infers that Charlbury will remain a “commuter” town with most future development occurring on its periphery. Thus the increasing majority of Charlbury residents will live in non-authentic estates or pocket developments eg “Little Lees” or “Ticknell Piece” in modern, non-authentic buildings. An “Article 4” restriction would not affect them. It is therefore again difficult to justify restricting a tiny minority of residents by removing their national right to undergo small scale projects purely to satisfy the anonymous opinion of the NP’s authors. Logically, the effort ought to go into controlling and harmonising the inevitable future housing developments. I therefore respectfully submit that the existing “Listed” building protections will continue to protect the visual centre of the town. In addition, the town’s Conservation Area status and the judicious use of the extant planning system should ensure that the “historical character” of the town is maintained.

Our Reply

Comments acknowledged. On advice from WODC, section 8.7 of the draft plan and all reference to an Article 4 Direction have been removed as inappropriate for a Neighbourhood Plan.


Margaret Jenkins

Comment on policy NE7:

1) As a resident of Charlbury for over 45 years I am very disappointed to note that the Wychwood Paddocks Playing Field is not included in the Neighbourhood Green Space Plan. My three children attended local schools and two of my children now live in Charlbury and consequently five of my grandchildren also attend the same schools. This playing field green space is essential for our today’s and future schoolchildren and should be preserved for them by including it in the plan. 2) This space is used by many of our young community sporting clubs. 3) When Charlbury Town hold a big event such as Street Fair, Football clubs tournament etc. and require car parking facilities, this field is well used. The present parking facilities in the town cannot cope with these events without this green space. 4) Buildings and Houses are spreading over the few remaining open green areas near the centre of town and we urgently need to protect our remaining spaces for future generations by including it in the Neighbourhood valuable designated green space plan. 5) This open space should be preserved and included in the plan. Please do not let our future generations down.

Our Reply

The concern you have expressed over Wychwood Paddocks is recognised and is shared by several other residents. The value of the site as a school playing field is beyond doubt and is generally accepted. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Careful thought has been given to this question and the reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in appendix E.3 (was appendix F.3) of the draft plan. Following the strong representations from yourself and others, the site assessment was reviewed against the criteria for designation but the decision not to designate was still judged to be appropriate in this case. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary although the reasons for non-designation have been clarified further in appendix E.3. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we believe that this covers your main concerns. This position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land and recognise its value to the community but strongly oppose LGS designation. If circumstances change in the future (e.g. if the primary school were to be relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required (unlikely) or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meets the identified needs of the community (e.g. affordable/low-cost housing and/or development to support the needs of older people or those with disabilities).


Guy Ker

Objection re comments Rushy Bank

The Rushy Bank narrative is misleading. The plan should not anticipate the development known as Rushy Bank, particularly as that development’s position contradicts key priorities and aims of the entire plan including transport, parking, AONB status, affordability and others. It should read “all plans or proposals for development outside the built-up area of the town are not regarded as appropriate for the plan”.

Our Reply

These comments are noted but as WODC has now confirmed the approval of this application, the references made to Rushy Bank are considered appropriate. Also note that paragraph 5.3.4 of the revised draft (formerly 5.3.3) explicitly states: “Outlying elements such as the station complex or the Rushy Bank development will not therefore be regarded as part of the built up area for future planning purposes”.


Guy Ker

Objection re comments Rushy Bank

Assumptions are made about the housing mix of Rushy Bank which are not reliable. Rushy Bank sought to justify itself with various promises of social housing, social care facilities etc. which have gradually disappeared. Since the position of the development contradicts 3 of the 4 main aims of the entire Charlbury NEighbourhood Plan 2031, it should not be counting or counted in the plan especially in terms of contributing to social housing needs.

Our Reply

These comments are noted but as WODC has now confirmed the approval of this application the references are considered appropriate.


Guy Ker

Comment only

The plan is an extremely worthwhile body of work which has identified key priorities for the future of Charlbury. Thank you. Having identified these priorities and principles I believe the plan must be approved and implemented without any support – faint or specific – for developments which clearly undermine the very pillars of the plan.

Our Reply

These comments are noted.


Andrew Lawson

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Rushy Bank development contradicts Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and conservation of the Evenlode valley

I think that Planners should re-visit their approval of the Rushy Bank Development scheme. In my opinion, this development should be refused on the grounds that it contravenes the protection of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty within the Evenlode valley at the western approach to the town.

Our Reply

Comments relating to specific applications are not appropriate to this consultation and should be directed to WODC as the planning authority.


Anthony Landale

Response type: OBJECT

Re: Rushy Bank development. Please change wording used … “as anticipated”. It may not happen.

We are concerned that the wording “as anticipated” will be argued to imply that the Rushy Bank development is necessary for the plan, in the same way that Rushy Bank’s housing contribution was argued to “underpin” the West Oxfordshire local plan. The last update received from WODC is that the legal agreement and consent are not progressing right now and we remain unconvinced that the dementia facility is viable in this location, that there is funding for it or that the approval is legally sound. We also think that all Affordable Housing built in Charlbury should be allocated with a local connection priority.

Our Reply

These comments are noted but as WODC has now confirmed the approval of this application the references are considered appropriate.


Margaret Landale

Response type: OBJECT

Please note that the wording “as anticipated” for Rushy Bank may be misleading

The plan should not anticipate what will happen. The last update received from WODC is that the legal agreement and consent for Rushy Bank are not progressing right now. There are questions regarding whether the dementia facility is viable in this location, that there is funding for it or that the approval is legally sound. We also think that all Affordable Housing built in Charlbury should be allocated with a local connection priority.

Our Reply

These comments are noted but as WODC has now confirmed the approval of this application the references are considered appropriate.


John Lanyon

Suggestions re Shed and community garden

Creation of a community garden and the refurbishment of “The Shed”. 1. I would like the plan to include a community garden in central Charlbury where everyone can enjoy plants, trees, insects and birds. This could be maintained by volunteers and be a great place to be in contact with the natural world and to socialise with other people. 2. I would like the plan to consider the refurbishment of The Shed in Nine Acres Lane. This is currently Charlbury’s only dedicated arts space. I believe both of these initiatives would make strong contributions to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those who live here.

Our Reply

An interesting and good idea but not in the remit of the Neighbourhood Plan. This idea could be followed through by the Town Council Environment Working Group.


Nicolette Lethbridge

Comment on policy NE7: Inclusion Wychwood Paddocks

Wychwood Paddocks should be given LGS designation. This is a much needed green area in the centre of Charlbury and to buiold on it would produce a too dense collection of building. Charlbury is a small rural town and a characteristic should be plenty of green space.

Our Reply

Your request for Wychwood Paddocks to be designated as a Local Green Space (LGS) is acknowledged and is shared by several other residents. The value of the site as a school playing field is beyond doubt and is generally accepted. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Careful thought has been given to this question and the reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in appendix E.3 (was appendix F.3) of the draft plan. Following the strong representations from yourself and others, the site assessment was reviewed against the criteria for designation but the decision not to designate was still judged to be appropriate in this case. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary although the reasons for non-designation have been clarified further in appendix E.3. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we believe that this covers your main concerns. This position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land and recognise its value to the community but strongly oppose LGS designation. If circumstances change in the future (e.g. if the primary school were to be relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required (unlikely) or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meet the identified needs of the community. We also believe that the LGS sites that have been designated will ensure the retention of plenty of green space within the town.


Nicolette Lethbridge

Comment on policy NE7: Request additional LGS designation

The whole of the Evenlode Valley is very special and needs to be protected. The LGS areas should include the gardens, one of which is very large, of the houses (mainly on Pound Hill) which are on the opposite side of the Evenlode river from the Mill Field.

Our Reply

The importance of the Evenlode Valley is recognised and is protected by Policy NE3. Important views are also protected by Policy NE2. LGS designation is not appropriate for “tracts of land” such as the Evenlode Valley. We also do not believe that LGS designation is generally appropriate or necessary for private gardens and that such sites are unlikely to meet the criteria required for designation. Policy CH9 seeks to restrict development within residential gardens which make an important contribution to the character or appearance of the area.


Anna Lethbridge

Response type: SUPPORT

I support the plan’s housing and environmental aspirations.

I support the plan’s aim to build more affordable homes and limit the number of large expensive houses, and to stop new building on residents’ gardens. I support the environmental aims of the plan, relating to new buildings and also to the nature reserves and surrounding green environment. I agree with the statements about parking and traffic problems in the town, but I think that they could have been stronger in their aim to reduce traffic speed on the Slade and to provide safer crossing by the school, and also to make the Enstone Road crossroads safer for both pedestrians and drivers.

Our Reply

The aims of further reducing traffic speed in these areas could be met by relevant developer contributions. They are included in the infrastructure delivery plan should funding become available. This is also an aim of the Town Council Traffic Working Group


Nicolette Lethbridge

Comment on policy NE7: Support LGS designation

This land is a vital path for many people. The enclosed path is often blocked by sheep which have strayed onto it and which might frighten children. In winter it will as in the past be flooded and it is so narrow people will not be able to bypass the puddles. People have walked on a wider pathway for over 20 years and surely have a right to a wider path.

Our Reply

Your comments are noted but are not pertinent to LGS designation, the purpose of which is solely to protect a site from inappropriate development. Please note that LGS designation does not affect public rights of access in any way. Concerns relating to access to existing public rights of way are not appropriate to this consultation and should be addressed to OCC Highways Department.


Nicolette Lethbridge

Comment on policy CH3: Comment only

We need more small houses but not until parking and drain problems have been solved. Small houses for elderly and “starter homes” are needed and not large ones especially with relatively small gardens (Charlbury needs green spaces including gardens). However, first the traffic/parking problems must be solved together with inadequate draining / sewer problems. Allowing new build only within walking distance of the town centre would help

Our Reply

These comments are noted and are generally in line with the aims and policies of the draft plan.


Ian Lewis

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy NE7: I object strongly to two of the reasons given for non-adoption of Wychwood playing fields as a green space.

OCC ‘s objection to the adoption of Wychwood Paddocks as a protected green space is quite frankly irrelevant, this is our local plan! The open space has an impact much more than a just a view to residents of Wychwood Paddocks. When walking from the town centre past the Coop and doctor’s surgery, you are basically in a rural setting, with very little building to the right and only the Enstone road houses to the left all the way past the edge of the town. A change of use of Wychwood Paddocks playing field would affect this walk consideran=bly especially as it is raised quite a height above road/footpath level.

Our Reply

Your objections to our non-designation of Wychwood Paddocks as a Local Green Space (LGS) are noted. The value of the site is generally accepted and acknowledged, especially as a school playing field. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Careful thought has been given to this question and the reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in appendix E.3 (was appendix F.3) of the draft plan. Following the strong representations from yourself and others, the site assessment was reviewed against the criteria for designation but the decision not to designate was still judged to be appropriate in this case. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary although the reasons for non-designation have been clarified further in appendix E.3. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and this position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land and recognise its value to the community but strongly oppose LGS designation. If circumstances change in the future (e.g. if the primary school were to be relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required (unlikely) or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meet the identified needs of the community. We also believe that the LGS sites that have been designated will ensure the retention of plenty of green space within the town.


Louise Manners

Comment on policy NE7:

I am writing to ask that the Primary school playing field at Wychwood Paddocks be included as a designated green space in the draft neighbourhood plan. The field is used on a regular basis by the children for school activities and also for football practice. It is a pleasant safe space which they can reach without crossing any busy roads. It is also used for car parking for the Street Fair, Football tournaments etc. It would greatly diminish the attractiveness of the town if it was lost.

Our Reply

The concern you have expressed over Wychwood Paddocks is recognised and is shared by several other residents. The value of the site as a school playing field is beyond doubt and is generally accepted. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Careful thought has been given to this question and the reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in appendix E.3 (was appendix F.3) of the draft plan. Following the strong representations from yourself and others, the site assessment was reviewed against the criteria for designation but the decision not to designate was still judged to be appropriate in this case. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary although the reasons for non-designation have been clarified further in appendix E.3. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we believe that this covers your main concerns. This position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land and recognise its value to the community but strongly oppose LGS designation. If circumstances change in the future (e.g. if the primary school were to be relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meet the identified needs of the community.


Anne Miller

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

The aspiration on NEGS is weak: not only protecting wildlife and biodiversity but enhancing it and restoring key ecological functions

This area is not only notable for the views, but also sits in the middle of an extensive Conservation Target Area, and as such is officially designated, with the good fortune to have the Wychwood Project part of the local capacity to deliver ecological restoration and net gain of biodiversity in this area. So we need to reflect that in the wording, not just talk about the views, lovely though they are. This is an ecologically very significant landscape, which delivers all sorts of key functions that are under-recognised (for example soil is an important potential carbon store, which we should be doing things to protect in accordance with our response to the climate emergency). Of similar importance is the way we manage the land around and above the river, to retain water and ‘slow the flow’ of intense rainfall which otherwise risks causing flooding given the flashy nature of the Evenlode. We could also make mention of blue/ green corridors, to emphasis that we are connecting not only the wildlife but also linking it to the other ecologically important feature of the landscape. The AONB and other local estates are increasingly referring to this, so we should ensure we key the terms into our vision.

Our Reply

These constructive comments are acknowledged and are most welcome. Points raised here have been taken into account in a comprehensive review and revision of section 7 of the draft plan. In particular, revisions to policies NE5, NE6 and NE8 (plus supporting text) recognise the need for ecology restoration and biodiversity gain, the greater importance of wildlife corridors (now renamed as “blue/green” corridors) and address the need to protect and improve water quality in the Evenlode.


Anne Miller

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE8: Should be some mention of Rural SUDS here, not just SUDS

Would suggest there is also scope in the justification here to mention more about Rural Sustainable Drainage Systems, and the opportunity for Charlbury to have a more integrated approach as has been done successfully elsewhere in the Cotswolds, (e.g. around Stroud), so that adjacent landowners can play their part in reducing flood risk and improving equality of the water in the river and its tributaries, building in the blue-green corridor elements. So all new developments would be based on contributing to this.

Our Reply

Comments acknowledged. The wording of Policy NE8 and supporting text has been amended accordingly.


Anne Miller

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE6: Could you change the wording to blue-green corridors since all three of these are linked to the streams/ rivers

The point of referring to blue-green infrastructure is that it sets out clearly that the river and the surrounding land are deeply and integrally linked and to divorce them is to continue to the damage that has led to the Evenlode becoming poor quality in terms of the Water Frameswork Directive, and no longer home to so much biodiversity, as well as other health and safety issues for river users. We could be emphasising this more with a stated aspiration to restore Water Voles to the river in our area, as has been achieved elsewhere. 30 years ago the river banks were said to be full of them, so we know they used to like living here! this would be the sort of specific example of our objective of not just protecting but restoring ecology. I would also suggest removing the final sentence under the Evenlode Green Corridor paragraph and replacing it with Development is totally inappropriate within this corridor due to its environmental sensitive nature and the key resulting function it performs with respect to water management (both the quality and quantity)

Our Reply

These comments are acknowledged and welcome. The wording of Policy NE6 and supporting text has been amended to refer to “blue/green corridors” and to reflect the comments made.


Anne Miller

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE5: Would suggest changing wording as below:

Paragraph 4 uses the wording ‘where it is necessary for new trees, shrubs and hedgerows to be planted…’: would suggest the wording be changed to ‘wherever it is possible, new trees, shrubs and hedgerows’…’ since this changes the onus to a proactive one.

Our Reply

Comment acknowledged and accepted. The wording has been changed as suggested.


Anne Miller

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy NE7: Why is the old Quarry not in the list?

There is no mention of the outstanding role that the old Quarry performs in supporting populations of red listed farmland bird species, such as the linnet and yellow hammer, which are flourishing there despite suffering nationally catastrophic declines. The Wychwood bird aid project has been monitoring and supplementary feeding in this area for years, and the data is there to show that this is a key site. The whole site was also planted up 20+ years ago with thousands of native trees (as part of the original planning conditions applied to it when it was an active site, with the requirement that it would be returned to native woodland), so it is illogical not to list it as a green space, valued and protected even if not accessible to people, for both the wildlife and the carbon sequestration, not only into the trees there but also with the soil formation which has over the last 20 years taken place as the new woodland becomes established. I understand that there is an area close to the Ditchley road which was originally discussed as possible for light industry, since it was not part of the SSSI, and not planted up with trees, but by now it will have become overgrown and probably of significance for wildlife in its own right. But even if that area is exempted as not being part of the geological SSSI the rest of the site should be listed as a green space, especially with respect to the birds that it supports. Not sure why the exemption is noted under section 7.5, since it does not relate to Flood risk

Our Reply

Comment acknowledged. Although it is not considered appropriate to list the quarry as a local green space, the site’s value is recognised and accepted. Specific protection for the site has therefore been added to Policy NE6 and a new paragraph 7.3.19 has been added which details the value of the site as a wildlife habitat including points you have mentioned here.


Anne Miller

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Nothing in here about what we aspire to do to protect and improve the quality of water in the Evenlode

The river is a vital part of this community and yet apart from mention of the canoe club and the Mill Field, there is nothing about what Charlbury should do not only to protect this important tourist and recreational resource, but also to work to improve it, through a combination of better riparian management, education and working with the Evenlode Catchment Partnership and Thames Water to ensure all new developments will not pose any further risk to the quality of the water in the river and its tributary streams.

Our Reply

We recognise this notable omission and welcome your input on this matter. Policy NE8 and supporting text have been strengthened to reflect your comments.


Anne Miller

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

The objectives under Aim 5 could be expressed much more strongly to not only protect but to explicitly enhance biodiversity

Looking at South Leigh’s Neighbourhood plan stated aim about the natural environment (reproduced below) this seems a much stronger expression of ambition, so think we should take a leaf out of their book and reframe the second objective accordingly: The biodiversity, important habitats and Green Corridors of the Parish will be protected and enhanced to achieve an overall net gain in biodiversity.

Our Reply

Comment acknowledged. Revisions to section 7 of the draft plan reflect a stronger ambition.


Anne Miller

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Aim 2 should also include ensuring that carbon sequestration is increased through appropriate land management and tree planting.

As this is a rural area surrounded by farmland and woods, there is considerable opportunity for the village to sequester a lot of Carbon through better management of the land. This could be achieved not only by planting more deep rooted species in the grassland and green space areas, accompanied by with much more woody shrub and tree planting, but also through encouraging local landowners to participate in arable reversion schemes, restoring the pasture with tree landscape that was typical of this part of the Cotswolds, as is being done on the community solar farm site on the edge of town. This could also play a part in developing local carbon offsetting payment schemes, and would fit with other aspects (aims 4 and 5).

Our Reply

The importance of such tree planting is recognised and Policy NE5 and supporting information have been revised to reflect this.


Anne Miller

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

No mention in the final list of key considerations for encouraging and supporting projects that also seek to enhance biodiversity.

Would suggest having another bullet point that says encouraging and supporting developments of all sizes to have measures to enhance and increase biodiversity, e.g. with bat boxes, bee homes, swift boxes, hedgehog gates and similar as standard requirements. We should be promoting B4 (Bats, Birds, Bees and Butterflies) as well as hedgehogs: they all live around here and are on the decline!

Our Reply

Additional bullet point added as suggested.


John Moore

Comment on policy NE7: Comment

Ref: Wychwwod Paddocks sports field; Spendlove car park frequently is full; where else can cars be parked during popular events? Wychwood Paddocks playing field has, for many years, proved its worth as the most convenient site for car parking during Street Fair, football matches etc. Access to the site is not difficult as used at present or a new access could be created as was done for Wychwood Paddocks houses. Spendlove car park is regularly completely full causing much frustration for motorists, Co-op customers and all needing to get to the centre of Charlbury. Further parking provision is most important for Charlbury businesses to prosper and for Charlbury as a whole.

Our Reply

The concern you have expressed over Wychwood Paddocks is recognised and is shared by several other residents. The value of the site as a school playing field is beyond doubt and is generally accepted. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Careful thought has been given to this question and the reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in appendix E.3 (was appendix F.3) of the draft plan. Following the strong representations from yourself and others, the site assessment was reviewed against the criteria for designation but the decision not to designate was still judged to be appropriate in this case. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary although the reasons for non-designation have been clarified further in appendix E.3. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we believe that this covers your main concerns. This position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land and recognise its value to the community but strongly oppose LGS designation. If circumstances change in the future (e.g. if the primary school were to be relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meet the identified needs of the community.


Linda Mowat

Comment on policy NE7: Inclusion Wychwood Paddocks

I would like to express my surprise and disappointment that Wychwood Paddocks Playing Field has not been included in the Neighbourhood Plan as a Designated Green Space. This is particularly hard to understand in view of the Plan’s claim to support ‘biodiversity, beauty and recreation’ in its designation of green spaces. Wychwood Paddocks is not only a valuable playing field in regular use by Charlbury’s younger children both in and out of school hours. With its grassy space surrounded by mature trees and hedgerows, it provides a natural haven for wildlife including bats, hedgehogs, mice, butterflies, owls, woodpeckers, sparrows and many other species of birds and insects. It also provides one of the ‘spectacular sweeping views from the town looking out’ which the Plan declares its intention to preserve. The reasons given on p 115 of the Consultation Draft for not choosing Wychwood Paddocks as a Designated Green Space seem unsatisfactory and I would like to make the following points: (a) The fact that the site is at present preserved by the NPPF is no reason for Charlbury’s Neighbourhood Plan simply to ignore it. (b) It is inaccurate to claim that views across the site are limited to the residents of Wychwood Paddocks. Its open aspect can be appreciated by anyone using the Enstone Road, one of the main routes of access into Charlbury. Its more distant views of Wychwood and the Evenlode Valley can be enjoyed by anyone using the popular walking route along Wychwood Paddocks between the Enstone Road and Crawborough; and particularly by the many families who regularly participate in recreational events on the Paddocks with their children. (c) That OCC as the landowners are not supportive of the designation is worrying. If they have other plans for the site, surely it would be in Charlbury’s interests to make it a Designated Green Space now, rather than vaguely observing that ‘it may be in the best interests of the community as a whole to consider alternative uses of the land’. (d) The site is not accessible to the public at present for good reasons. But as a Designated Green Space it could become so in future to the whole community’s advantage, perhaps as an adjunct to Nine Acres. I hope this matter can be reconsidered and that Wychwood Paddocks Playing Field will be included as a Designated Green Space in the final Neighbourhood Plan.

Our Reply

The concern you have expressed over Wychwood Paddocks is recognised and is shared by several other residents. The value of the site as a school playing field is beyond doubt and is generally accepted. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Careful thought has been given to this question and the reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in appendix E.3 (was appendix F.3) of the draft plan. Following the strong representations from yourself and others, the site assessment was reviewed against the criteria for designation but the decision not to designate was still judged to be appropriate in this case. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary although the reasons for non-designation have been clarified further in appendix E.3. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we believe that this covers your main concerns. This position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land and recognise its value to the community but strongly oppose LGS designation. If circumstances change in the future (e.g. if the primary school were to be relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meet the identified needs of the community.


David Nicholls

Response type: SUPPORT

Apart from few suggestions and questions, as below, I am very happy to support the Plan.

I would like to thank and pay tribute to the team who have given so much of their time to put together such a well thought-out and coherent Plan. Their hard work is evidence of how much the community values and cares for the town and its environment. Furthermore, the impressive effort they have put into involving the community in development of the Plan is evidence of willingness to listen to each other and present a good and faithful reflection of community views. It deserves a positive reception.

Our Reply

Your comments and support are acknowledged and welcome. Thank you.


David Nicholls

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

I would like to see more specific policies encouraging renewable energy and energy conservation projects of all kinds.

While there is some content relating to solar panels and insulation, and a policy (ECT12)on electric vehicle charging points, there is nothing on other forms of renewable energy generation or energy conservation, such as community solar or wind projects. Given the climate emergency, these should be encouraged. Visual and other community / environmental impacts are important, but it should be remembered that most such developments can be removed without significant permanent harm to the landscape or environment as needs and technologies move on.

Our Reply

The plan has been revised in this regard in recognition of the declared climate emergency. Encouragement and support for projects to reduce carbon emissions is presented as a key consideration on page 18.


David Nicholls

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE9: Policy NE9 could be more ambitious in requiring the highest standards of building energy efficiency.

Policy NE9 states “Applications for new buildings should demonstrate how the development will seek to achieve excellent environmental performance ….Developments should seek to incorporate energy and water efficiency measures and applications should demonstrate how this will be done.” To help achieve the WODC target of carbon neutrality by 2030, this should be more ambitious. For example, it could also apply to applications for certain changes to existing buildings. It could also specify that compliance with the highest relevant standard at the time (e.g. Passivhaus at present, just as an example) would be the default expectation. It should be for the applicant to explain what standard(s) they will comply with and why, with a robust justification for anything less than compliance with the most stringent standard.

Our Reply

These comments are acknowledged. The wording of Policy NE9 and supporting text have been revised and strengthened in this regard.


Stuart Parker

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

as below

As an architect, I assisted the formation of the Beacon Project which had, and still has, the aims of providing self-build housing to a group of local families, all of whom participate in local activities, all of whom had children at Charlbury School and all of whom work locally. The original discussions commenced with Charlbury Town Council and the local landowner nearly 9 years ago with objectives which accord with the general premises outlined in the draft Neighbourhood Plan. Following numerous delays, the original concept was absorbed within the Rushy Bank Project with the same objective to provide affordable/low cost housing for local families. This approach is endorsed by the Draft Neighbourhood Plan yet after the best part of a decade, the Beacon Project has not reached fruition, mainly due to local objections and planning delays and this in spite of having secured an option on locally available land at the outset. The lesson which may be drawn from this is that the Neighbourhood Plan, in addition to supporting the notion of low cost and much needed housing for local people, must ensure that the mechanism for the delivery of innovative and sustainable housing are identified as in other parts of the country.

Our Reply

These comments are noted.


Stuart Parker

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

As constructive comments below

DRAFT NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN RESPONSE As one who was involved in the early stages of the development of the original Community Led Plan and attended a number of briefing meetings in the District and County, I am fully appreciative of the huge effort that has been invested in the Draft Neighbourhood Plan for Charlbury which we are considering. I do however, have some comments: • The visual images of the town portrayed in the NP flier give an impression of a traditional Cotswold town and has no visual references indicating the areas where most of the population lives, in for instance, The Green, Sandford Rise, Hughes Close and the areas off Sturt Road. This gives a very unbalanced and unrealistic picture of the town. • The draft plan is very strong on landscape and conservation issues and it recognises the important factors that affect Charlbury and its setting in the AONB and the strong conservationist lobby which exists here. It also states very clearly that there is a strong argument to maintain a balanced community without offering any specific solutions as to how this aim might be achieved. • In the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, the town expanded a great deal and one could make a strong argument that a significant part of the population which lives in the houses from this period contribute a great deal to the cultural and sporting activities that are such an important part of the life here. If this approach was relevant 40 years ago, it must still be relevant now especially as we are now a recognised service centre with a main line railway station and the demographics indicate an ageing population. • If the town is to achieve the aims of maintaining a balanced community for the future; one in which there is affordable housing for our community members who teach at the school, run various cultural and sporting activities, mend our roofs and fix the plumbing and electrics, then this report cannot hide behind the defence that we are entirely surrounded by the AONB. There has to be a positive approach to realistic planning which identifies solutions to the problems including down-sizing and the division of larger plots and the recognition of a hidden housing demand as elsewhere as development is not precluded from within the AONB. We cannot hide behind the AONB constraints. • The Neighbourhood Plan once adopted has legal force and if we do not address the issues above we may be constraining the town to an unsustainable future. 30 October 2019

Our Reply

These constructive comments are welcomed. We have tried to reconcile the protection of the landscape as far as possible with the need to provide more housing particularly that which is affordable. We feel that our policies do this in a balanced way and will allow developments which meet specific local housing needs as explained in section 5.2.


David Payne

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy NE7: Support for designation of Green Space to Horseground/Field north of Forest Road LGS 17

Comments detailed below refer to an incorporation of Wildlife activity and sightings in and around Walcot House and Estate grounds, Walcot Cottages, and the field referred to as LGS 17 (Horseground) Walcot and Horseground support a diverse range of wildlife, and each location is complimentary to the other. There are frequent sightings of Barn, Tawny, and Little Owls. Barn Owls being resident in Ancient Oak trees at Walcot. Ancient Beech and large Ash trees provide roosts for Red Kite, and Buzzard. Kestrels also use this site on a daily basis. During the late Autumn into the winter months, Common, and Jack Snipe, Lapwing, and on the odd occasion, Golden Plover can be seen on the stubbles or wet fields. Muntjac, Roe, and sometimes Sika Deer are regular visitors to the site. Badger and fox use the field and adjoining land for feeding and transit. The Hamlet of Walcot and its immediate surrounds are a Wildlife and Birdwatchers ‘Oasis’ and would be detrimentally affected by any deviation from its present use and the proposed status is fully supported

Our Reply

Thank you for these comments which are welcome. We share your view of the importance of this space for wildlife and for its landscape value and your determination to protect it. This informed our original decision to nominate this field as a Local Green Space (LGS). However, following strong opposition to designation from the landowner and other advice, we have reviewed the criteria for designation and are now persuaded that LGS designation is not the appropriate approach to protection of this space which forms part of a much larger tract of land within the Evenlode valley deserving of protection in its entirety. Such areas of land may not be judged on examination to meet the criteria for LGS designation and we have therefore taken steps to ensure that the site is strongly protected through other means within this plan and elsewhere. On this basis we have agreed to remove this site from LGS designation under Policy NE7 and have set out for reasons for this decision in Appendix E.3 of the revised plan. This decision in no way implies any reduced commitment to the protection of the area but reflects a reassessment of the most appropriate means of achieving this. In particular, we are confident that the site and the views across it, from and towards the town, are protected by its prominent location within the sensitive landscape of the Evenlode Valley and within the Cotswolds AONB in accordance with WO Local Plan 2031 policy EH1, by the policies of the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan and by the revised policies NE1, NE2 and NE3 of this Plan. In addition, Policies NE5 & NE6 of this plan, both of which have been substantially strengthened, will provide strong protection for wildlife and biodiversity.


Julie Penny

Comment on policy NE7:

Please see landowner responses above

Our Reply


Hugo Rittson Thomas

Response type: OBJECT

The plan doesn’t go far enough in separating Charlbury from the Hamlet of Walcot -required by WOLP policy OS2

I thank and congratulate the council and contributors for achieving this very detailed and very thoughtful plan; it’s an exciting vision for Charlbury. Also for the environmental policies and the Local Green Spaces. However LGS 17, the field North of Forest road is such a key strategic view of very high landscape value ‘which preserves the setting and the character of the market town’, that photographs of it are featured twice in your document. But it is also a clear precursor of the dangers that lie ahead. My gravest concern is the plan does not sufficiently state the separation of the Hamlet of Walcot, from that of Charlbury (as much as we love it). The West Oxfordshire Local Plan OS2 requires avoiding the coalescence of the Hamlet with Charlbury. I strongly feel that the plan has not gone far enough, and into enough detail, in making clear that the Rushy Bank development causes significant harms both in the context of the aims of the West Oxfordshire Plan and the proposed Neighbourhood Plan and should be reevaluated in the context of the Neighbourhood Plan and at a minimum very carefully policed to ensure it will deliver the social benefits it claims. The plan should not just accept and “anticipate” this development, and should make it totally clear that the built up area of Charlbury is contained by the river and does not include the station area or Rushy Bank. The grave dangers I referred to are exemplified by the planning application from Mr Richard Cutler of Bloombridge developers of 27-29 Glasshouse street, London W1 .They chose LGS17 (currently the twice featured key strategic view ), as the site for their mixed business park ,on the back of Rushy bank going ahead.The councillors turned them down this time .However these are the developers who achieved the first major release from the Oxford Green belt which became the Oxford technology park. The Wychwood project have owl nesting boxes in and around the Hamlet of Walcot and LGS17 is where you mainly see them flying and hunting.It is an important site for them, the 32 other bird species that have been identified in the last year, the community of ramblers,the dog walkers, as well as providing the Charlbury community with ‘a key strategic view of very high landscape value’ and in the community survey was regraded as ‘a highly treasured reason for living here’. Please help us keep it that way for future generations. Thank you.

Our Reply

Thank you for kind words of support and for your very detailed comments which we are pleased to acknowledge. Concerning the separation of the hamlet of Walcot from Charlbury, as you have noted, Policy OS2 of the WO Local Plan 2031 already requires the avoidance of coalescence of communities and we are aware that planning applications have indeed been refused on the basis of this policy. Policy NE3 of the draft Neighbourhood Plan also clearly addresses your comments about the building line to the west of the town. With regard to the proposed development at Rushy Bank, WODC has now confirmed approval of the planning application and it is beyond the remit of the Neighbourhood Plan to call for any reassessment. Also, in addition to the protection for the Evenlode valley provided by Policy NE3 of the draft Neighbourhood Plan, paragraph 5.3.4 of the revised plan (formerly 5.3.3) supporting Policy CH1 states that: “Outlying elements such as the station complex or the Rushy Bank development will not therefore be regarded as part of the built up area for future planning purposes”. With specific reference to Local Green Space LGS17, we acknowledge the strategic importance of this area for its landscape value and for wildlife and we share your wish to protect it. This informed our original decision to nominate this field as a Local Green Space (LGS). However, following strong opposition to designation from the landowner and other advice, we have reviewed the criteria for designation and are now persuaded that LGS designation is not the appropriate approach to protection of this space. The field forms part of a much larger tract of land within the Evenlode valley deserving of protection in its entirety as echoed by your comments. Such areas of land may not be judged on examination to meet the criteria for LGS designation and we have therefore taken steps to ensure that the site is strongly protected through other means within this plan and elsewhere as outlined below. On this basis we have agreed to remove this site from LGS designation under Policy NE7 and have set out for reasons for this decision in Appendix E.3 (formerly Appendix F.3) of the revised plan. This decision in no way implies any reduced commitment to the protection of the area but reflects a reassessment of the most appropriate means of achieving this. In particular, we are confident that the site and the views across it, from and towards the town, are protected by its prominent location within the sensitive landscape of the Evenlode Valley and within the Cotswolds AONB in accordance with WO Local Plan 2031 policy EH1, by the policies of the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan and by the revised policies NE1, NE2 and NE3 of this Plan. In addition, Policies NE5 & NE6 of this plan, both of which have been substantially strengthened, will provide strong protection for wildlife and biodiversity.


Peter Riviere

I was greatly impressed by the thoroughness, depth and detail show in the plan. I think everyone involved should be congratulated, especially those most involved since it must have occupied a great deal of time and effort. I have a few small comment. The plan, at more than one place, makes the assumption that the Rushy Bank development will go ahead. It seems to me not that assured since the continuing delays in the planning permission suggest that WODC is hesitant. What will the impact on the plan be if this development does not go ahead. Second, the plan obviously could not take into account the implications of the Cotswold AONB becoming a National Park as seems quite possible. Even so, some rider included in the plan concerning such an event might be helpful in the long run. Finally, as the plan is so detailed perhaps I may query a very small and inconsequential detail. I own and reside in Sessions Cottage, Park Street. It is mentioned twice in the plan once as notable house in that street and then listing the four criteria by which is included in D1 Proposed Local List. My query relates to the entry in the Appendix dealing with the West Area, in the paragraphs relating to Park Street it reads ‘ Sessions Cottage (possibly part of a larger late C17 or early C18 house).’ This is not in keeping with the information I have that places it exactly 100 years earlier. In 2000 I bought the cottage when the Wesley Barrel works were still being developed. The cottage had been the Wesley Barrell offices. The renovation was only just underway when I bought it; all the internal plaster and the external on the north wall had been stripped off exposing al the stonework underneath. While in this state an architectural historian undertook a report on the premises for me and produced a detailed and fully illustrated memoir. As for the age of building he wrote the cottage is ‘the result of at least two and more probably three periods of building between c.1570 and c.1660’. In the next paragraph, there is more detail about which parts of the building belong to which one of these three phases. Jeff West may well be basing his dates on evidence which disproves those earlier dates. I would very much like to see it and would more than welcome Jeff West getting in touch with me.

Our Reply

Thank you for your kind words and support. With regard to your specific comments. Firstly, WODC has now confirmed approval of the application of the application for the development at Rushy Bank. Secondly, suggestions relating to the establishment of a National Park for the Cotswolds are insufficiently detailed to assess any possible impact or the views of the community on such a change. We do not therefore believe that It would be appropriate to include any reference to this within the plan. Finally, your comments relating to Sessions Cottage are covered in the reply given by Juliet West below.


Peter Riviere

This is a postscript to my earlier communication. When I sent that I had not received your letter of 18th September which specifically asks for my views on section 8.7 of the draft plan, ‘Article 4 Direction’, as owner of a building to which this would apply. I did not comment on this previously as it seemed a sensible and logical progression from what had preceded it. In other words I would fully support exploring the possibility of an Article 4 Direction.

Our Reply

On the advice of WODC, all reference to the proposed Article 4 Direction has now been removed from the draft neighbourhood plan. Any request for such a measure would have to be made by the Town Council directly to WODC with clear evidence of public support.


Peter Riviere

Reply by Juliet West

I have been asked to respond to your comments about Sessions House since I was involved with the Charlbury Character Assessment completed in 2018 and in the compilation of the candidates proposed for the Local List in the draft Neighbourhood Plan. I am most interested to learn that a report was produced for you on Sessions House in 2000 by an architectural historian. My own knowledge of the building comes solely from David Pollock’s 2012-13 dissertation for the Oxford Department of Continuing Education postgraduate certificate in Architectural History. He also gave a lecture in Charlbury to which I went. David very kindly let me see his dissertation to assist with the Historic Environment section of the draft Neighbourhood Plan and I consulted it when I was putting together the draft Local List earlier this year. David considers the current Sessions House to have originated in the early 17th century – c 1600-30, adjoining a now-destroyed mid/late 16C building. He cites a report by David Sturdy of 2000 which I assume is the one you refer to. As you will have realised, the Character Assessment commissioned for the Neighbourhood Plan in 2017 was concerned largely with the overall character and appearance of the town rather than with individual buildings. It was done from the street and thus considered only the visible exterior of the buildings. The rather more detailed area assessments in the Appendix were carried out by small groups of local volunteers and again they were restricted to what could be seen from the public highway. The Park Street assessment was done by my husband, Jeff West, who like me has a professional background in historic buildings. His suggested approximate date for Sessions House was based on its current external appearance only. Jeff and I would both be most interested to read the detailed illustrated memoir produced for you in 2000 if you were willing to let us see it. I imagine that we will have to provide a short justification for the proposed Local list candidates in due course and any additional information would be most gratefully received.


Philip Roberts

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy CA4: No aspiration to designate roads in and around Charlbury under the Quiet Lanes and Home Zones (England) Regulations 2006

The Quiet Lanes Regulations are appropriate to Charlbury to meet its objectives to become a walking and cycling gateway to the Cotswolds and also to improve the quality of the environment for residents and visitors. Surveys show that traffic speeds outside of the proposed 20mph zone are excessive and dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and riders. A commitment to preparing proposals for Quiet Lanes would support key objectives in the Plan

Our Reply

The application of these regulations is a complex matter and further detailed consideration is required before such a recommendation can be put forward. However, the suggestion is welcomed and is noted for possible future consideration by the Town Council Traffic Working Group.


Nikki Rycroft

Response type: SUPPORT

I fully support the Aims and Objectives set out in Section 3.

Transport and parking are clearly a major issue in the town and must be resolved in order to preserve the unique and historic nature of Charlbury as well as the important consideration of environmental protection . It is clear that this is a challenge. For those living on the edge of town , particularly those wishing to walk into town and the station, and not wanting to take up a parking space, it can be difficult in inclement weather, or when having to carry a heavy load/ shopping. The walk along Grammar school hill is dangerous, particularly in the dark, and on the corners, due to the speed of cars and the buses along this section of road, and the reverse camber of the narrow pavement. The proposal of a free Community bus, possibly volunteer driven, stopping on request , and operating throughout the day covering all the main residential and business areas of town, should be considered.

Our Reply

This is a useful suggestion and is noted for possible future consideration by the Town Council Transport Working Group.


Clive Salisbury

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy HE1: I don’t support local listing or article 4 action

We live in a conservation area (which already provides significant extra planning restrictions/protections above national standards). Yew Tee Cottage is not (nationally) listed and doesn’t justify it. I consider a ‘Local list’ to represent an unnecessary additional constraint and to be unjustified. Similarly any Article 4 direction (to remove PD rights) would be unwarranted. If any of these things were appropriate national government would already have legislated for it.

Our Reply

On the advice of WODC, all reference to the proposed Article 4 Direction has now been removed from the draft neighbourhood plan. Any request for such a measure would have to be made by the Town Council directly to WODC with clear evidence of public support. Establishment of a local list, which is welcomed by Historic England, highlights aspects of interest but this does not impose additional planning constraints as would be the case for statutory listing or with the imposition of an Article 4 Direction. Explanations for all local list proposals have now been included in a new section D.3 within Appendix D of the revised draft plan.


Alexander Sevier

Response type: OBJECT

Objection to the suggestion of an Article 4 Direction

Dear sir/madam CHARLBURY NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN: PRE-SUBMISSION CONSULTATION RESPONSE I am commenting on section 8.7 of the consultation document, which deals with the possibility of an Article 4 direction. My wife and I own number 9 Ditchley Road, one of the properties that would be affected. The Government’s on-line guidance on such directions says “The potential harm that the direction is intended to address will need to be clearly identified.” Section 8.7 of the consultation document includes a list of the type of work that would require planning permission if a direction was made. But it does not identify any specific threats to the appearance of the properties in question. The local authority has power to make an immediate direction if a specific threat is identified. Depending on the nature of the threat, we might have no difficulty with that. But we are not happy with the consultation document’s suggestion of a general direction covering theoretical threats. If such a general direction were to be made we would therefore submit a formal objection to the local authority and to the Secretary of State. Alexander Sevier 9 Ditchley Road Charlbury OX7 3QS

Our Reply

On the advice of WODC, all reference to the proposed Article 4 Direction has now been removed from the draft neighbourhood plan. Any request for such a measure would have to be made by the Town Council directly to WODC with clear evidence of public support.


Mr Henry Siford

Comment only

To secure affordable housing, rent to buy scheme for future generations for life blood to town. Safeguard our green belt.

Our Reply

Comments noted and are generally in line with the aims of the plan. Rent to Buy is a government scheme and cannot be delivered through a neighbourhood plan.


Janet Sly

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy NE5: Plant more trees

Both within the local green spaces and more generally there should be a commitment to promote tree planting as well as replacing trees that are cut down or die through disease. We might discuss with local farmers how we can support them with tree planting and even consider agroforestry.

Our Reply

The importance of tree planting is recognised and now is covered in detail in Policy NE3 and supporting text, which have been significantly revised in this regard.


Janet Sly

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Add a bullet point re insulation and low energy standards

– to facilitate the incorporation of high insulation and low energy standards in both new housing and existing buildings Address this objective by: encouraging housing that is designed to very low energy or passiv house standards encouraging retrofit schemes to increase the energy efficiency of existing housing These points should then be carried through in subsequent sections where appropriate and also be reflected in the Design Standards appendix.

Our Reply

Policy NE9 and supporting text have now been revised and strengthened in this regard.


Janet Sly

Response type: SUPPORT

The climate emergency

I welcome the emphasis on sustainability and actions to reduce carbon emissions locally within the plan. Over the last year this has become an area of significant concern for many people. (MORI poll reported in the Guardian in July 2019 found 85% of Britons are now concerned about climate change and 52% are very concerned.) My comments on the plan are aimed at strengthening this commitment.

Our Reply

Revisions have been made throughout the plan in recognition of the climate emergency declared by the Town Council and reflecting comments received from yourself and others.


Janet Sly

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Challenge of climate change should be reflected more strongly in Aim 3.

I welcome the inclusion of Aim 2 as a separate Aim. However, I believe Aim 3 should also include a specific point regarding the design standards for newbuild, alterations and extensions aiming for carbon emissions to be as low as possible. Promotion and support for ‘eco retrofit’ should also be included. I would like to see Aim 5 include a commitment to growing more trees as well as protecting them as we know how important trees are for carbon capture.

Our Reply

Revisions have been made throughout the plan in recognition of the climate emergency declared by the Town Council and reflecting comments received from yourself and others.


Janet Sly

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy HE2: Add insulation and energy efficiency requirements throughout the design guidance

Current building regs standards are not high enough to meet the need to move to a carbon neutral economy. External wall insulation is an important element of eco retrofits. While it would not be appropriate for the older historic housing stock in the town centre, I do not consider it necessary to maintain the external appearance of all housing built in the post war years to its original design. Other creative solutions can be found to ensure our housing remains attractive which do not exclude the possibility of external wall insulation. Similarly, the rear of historic buildings not visible from the highway may not always need to have their current appearance retained.

Our Reply

This matter is covered by Policy NE9, which has been revised and strengthened in this regard. Reference to energy efficiency is also now included within the design guidance in Appendix C referenced by Policy HE2. For work relating to historic buildings, advice from Historic England should be considered.


Janet Sly

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy ECT1: Supporting local employment

Would like to see support for co-operative and community owned projects to use empty retail units. This is obviously aspirational as the costs of renting or buying units are beyond the reach of most community initiatives – however there could be a statement of support in general for community use of empty buildings.

Our Reply

This is now covered within Policy ECT2.


Janet Sly

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy ECT11, CA5: Public Transport

It would be easier to use buses if all bus stops had electronic signboards. This is particularly important where buses do a loop around the entire town passing some bus stops twice before continuing their journey. I think more people would use buses if, for example, they did not have to walk to The Bell to ensure they did not miss the S3 which had already passed their local stop. I would also like to see the rail bus re-instated (or an on demand service set up) – this could possibly be a community run bus such as the one in Chipping Norton.

Our Reply

Your suggestion of electronic signboards is now included within Community Aspiration 5. We acknowledge your suggestion for re-instatement of the rail bus service but as the neighbourhood plan does not provide a mechanism to deliver this, the town council notes your suggestion for possible future consideration.


Janet Sly

Response type: SUPPORT

Buses, homeworking, Cycling, parking, electric vehicles, Enstone Road Crossroads

Very much support these points. On Cycling (6.5) I would like to work towards the development of safe cycle routes to leave the town as well as within the town. Hilly and windy roads leaving Charlbury make it difficult to use bikes for leisure and shopping trips to other nearby towns. Families with young children might particularly benefit from this and it would encourage children to grow up with a love of cycling.

Our Reply

We welcome your support. We also welcome your important aspiration for safe cycling routes on the approaches to the town but the neighbourhood plan does not provide a mechanism to deliver this. The town council therefore notes your suggestion for future consideration and possible action by other means.


Meryl Smith

Response type: SUPPORT

Support the Plan overall subject to the comments which follow

Our Reply

Thank you for your support.


Meryl Smith

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE4:

Policy NE4 – Tranquillity and Dark Skies I support the objective of keeping light pollution to an appropriate minimum. However, the statement “Existing light pollution should be reduced or removed where possible”, needs to recognise the needs of residents, especially older people, whose mobility around the town and access to services and activities might be restricted or curtailed, if streets are totally dark

Our Reply

We acknowledge your comment and concern. However, we do not believe there is any conflict between the needs of residents and Policy NE4, which allows for lighting where necessary. This matter is also covered in more detail in section C.4.5 (Appendix C – Charlbury Design Guidance) of the revised plan. (NOTE: section C.4 on Streetscape design was omitted in error from the consultation draft).


Meryl Smith

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy ECT6:

Policy ECT6 Childrens Play Areas I support this but do not overlook the needs of older children and young people. The OPFA is available to give help and advice

Our Reply

Your comments are noted.


Meryl Smith

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy ECT7:

The Plan states the following: “The narrow streets in the historic town centre are an important part of the character of Charlbury, but they also pose difficulties for traffic and parking. Most properties on the central roads do not have private parking and their residents need to park on street. Visitors to the houses, shops, businesses and churches can struggle to find parking. The Spendlove car park is very convenient for the Co-Op, medical centre and nearby businesses, but fills up at peak times. There is also the issue of railway station users parking on street, either to avoid parking charges at the railway car park or because it is full.” All-day parking in the town centre by people working for local businesses is as much of an issue for local residents as that of rail commuters. While residents are pleased to have local businesses in the town, we would ask businesses to consider how they might help staff to arrange parking which does not tie up from 9.00 to 17.00 town centre spaces used by residents and visitors to the town for their own day-to-day business. Policy ECT7 Parking The Policy includes the following: “Creation of appropriate additional parking in or near the town centre is supported should opportunities arise, in accordance with Local Plan 2031 policy T4.” A Community Aspiration should be added as follows: “Ways of creating appropriate additional parking in or near the town centre will be actively sought in consultation with local businesses and residents” CA3 – Residents’ Parking I support this but Residents‘ Parking should be the title of this CA3 – Not Station Car Park – the issue goes wider than this.

Our Reply

Firstly, we accept your comment regarding the title of Community Aspiration 3 and have renamed it as you suggest. Secondly, the Town Council is pleased to note your other comments and suggestions for consideration by the Traffic Working Group when reviewing traffic-related issues and formulating recommendations for changes to parking restrictions and related measures. We consider this to be the most appropriate way forward as the Neighbourhood Plan does not provide a delivery mechanism for such measures.


Meryl Smith

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

2.3 Key Challenges Key issues for local residents from Town Survey include the following: “Address concerns about the challenges of parking recognising that a third of the residents in traditional homes in the town centre do not have private off-road parking.” Not clear where this fits into the Aims. Aim 4 seems the most appropriate but does not include parking for residents as an objective. Later on in the draft Plan this issue is covered by the first 2 items in the Local Infrastructure Plan and it would make sense to refer to the LIP when dealing with the relevant Policies.

Our Reply

This is covered under ECT7 and any contributions from development would be expected to address this where relevant with reference to the infrastructure Delivery Plan.


Meryl Smith

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Vision “Charlbury will continue to be a thriving, active community, welcoming and supportive to people of all ages and circumstances to live, work and visit. Future development will focus on supporting this primary vision whilst sustaining and enhancing the built and natural environment.” We need to make sure that we really are, as far as possible, supportive to people of all ages and circumstances to live, work and visit. We must not be complacent. I support the focus for future development.

Our Reply

We acknowledge and support your comment, which we believe to be in line with the aims and policies of the plan.


Meryl Smith

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Section 8.7 – Exploring the scope for an Article 4 Direction It is not clear what is the status of this Section in terms of the NP. It is not a policy or a CA. Is it a proposal or something definitely to be explored or what? How are residents likely to be affected to regard this? As one of those residents (on List E) I am not necessarily opposed to the idea but would welcome some more information and consultation, if and when a decision is taken to pursue it. I would want to see a commitment to this added to this section in the Plan before being happy with its inclusion. This section includes the following final paragraph: “As already explained, withdrawing permitted development rights would not prevent changes being made to the external appearance of buildings; it would simply mean that planning permission would be required prior to any works. In considering any planning application, the local authority would be required to make a balanced judgement taking into account the scale of any harm or loss to the character of the conservation area and the extent of the public benefit that would accrue from the proposed work. That’s fine but what about the needs of the occupiers in coming to any “balanced judgement”? Charlbury is a living town with individual residents with views and needs as well as a historic one well-loved by the public.”

Our Reply

On the advice of WODC, all reference to the proposed Article 4 Direction has now been removed from the draft neighbourhood plan. Any request for such a measure would have to be made by the Town Council directly to WODC with clear evidence of public support.


Susan Smith

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE7: I propose an additional green space for consideration.

Field NE of Wigwell, to the W of the B4022, Charlbury to Enstone Road. OS grid ref: SP35979 20266 I’d like to nominate this field for its fine view over Charlbury to the hills beyond; the skylarks which soar and sing in summer and the pink orchids which bloom next to the path.

Our Reply

Your suggestion is noted but we do not consider that the site would satisfy the conditions for Local Green Space designation. Protection for this area is also afforded under Policies NE1 and NE2.


Louise Spicer

Suggestion additional LGS

I include items to add for your consideration. Well done for a truly excellent document! Page 15 para 6. Volunteers: also Blenheim Farm Supporters and Wychwood Project – Bird Aid. Page 46 Policy NE2 : Protecting important views : Looking south from school from the Slade down the hill and valley. Page 48 Policy NE5 : Include House Martin nest boxes. Page 50 Green Corridors : Add Quarry Lane. Page 58 – We found a small cannonball in our garden in the 1970s – given to Charlbury Museum.

Our Reply

Your suggestions are noted. Substantial revisions have been made to section 7 of the draft plan to improve support and protection for wildlife, biodiversity and the landscape. In particular: the Wychwood Project and Blenheim Farm Supporters are acknowledged in the descriptions of LGS sites LGS5 (Wigwell) and LGS10 (Blenheim Farm Nature Reserve) in Appendix E (was Appendix F); and the Sanford Slade Blue/Green Corridor has been extended across Centenary Wood to the Quarry site.


Louise Spicer

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE6, NE7: Charlbury quarry is a wonderful wildlife site particularly for endangered farmland birds and flowers and acts as a reservoir.

Over 40 species of birds have been seen in the quarry. At present there are over 40 yellowhammers and 20 linnets being fed with many more expected during the winter. The abundance of berries attracts huge numbers of overwintering fieldfare and redwing and also snipe. The abundance of scrub habitat is an important resource for nesting warblers.

Our Reply

Thank you for your comments. We fully accept the importance of the quarry site for wildlife and Policy NE6 has been amended to include explicit protection for this site. This is backed up by the new supporting paragraph 7.3.19 which reflects your comments and makes reference to the Bird Aid project.


Rob Stepney

Comment only

I support the draft plan especically re: need for affordable housing and its proposed designation of Local Green Spaces. Those responsible for drawing up the plan are to be congratulated and hearily thanked. I strongly agree that a thriving community requires affordable housing and support efforts to that end. I also support proposed designated green spaces and in particular inclusion on the list of the “field north of Forest Road”. This is an important element in the gateway approach to Charlbury – the only one affording a view of the town in its historic setting in the Evenlode Valley. Conservation of this view is of unique value – as reflected in the fact the field appears in the photographs used in the summary document including the front page.

Our Reply

Thank you for these comments which are welcome. We share your view of the importance of the “Field north of Forest Road” for its landscape value and the part it plays in defining the historic setting of the town. This informed our original decision to nominate this field as a Local Green Space (LGS). However, following strong opposition to designation from the landowner and other advice, we have reviewed the criteria for designation and are now persuaded that LGS designation is not the appropriate approach to protection of this space. The field forms part of a much larger tract of land within the Evenlode valley deserving of protection in its entirety as echoed by your comments. Such areas of land may not be judged on examination to meet the criteria for LGS designation and we have therefore taken steps to ensure that the site is strongly protected through other means within this plan and elsewhere as outlined below. On this basis we have agreed to remove this site from LGS designation under Policy NE7 and have set out for reasons for this decision in Appendix E.3 (formerly Appendix F.3) of the revised plan. This decision in no way implies any reduced commitment to the protection of the space but reflects a reassessment of the most appropriate means of achieving this. We are confident that the site and the views across it, from and towards the town, are protected by the site’s prominent location within the sensitive landscape of the Evenlode Valley and within the Cotswolds AONB in accordance with WO Local Plan 2031 policy EH1, by the policies of the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan and by the revised policies NE1, NE2 and NE3 of this Plan. In addition, Policies NE5 & NE6 of this plan, both of which have been substantially strengthened, will provide strong protection for wildlife and biodiversity.


William Stevenson

Comment on policy NE2: Suggest addtional vview – already cobvered ?

Addition to list of examples. I feel strongly that one other “iconic” view should be added to the list viz: The view across the allotments to the Evenlode Valley from Wellington Cottages.

Our Reply

This view is already covered as an example in Policy NE2 as well as in the justification for Local Green Space designation of the allotments (LGS4).


Geoffrey Strachan

Comment on policy ECT1, ECT3: Comment only

Local shops and proper facilities for home workers should be encouraged. Improve bus services. Agree more shop premises should not lapse into residential use. All strategies to encourage local shops should be adopted. For home workers we need a proper stationery supplier now that News and Things, the Post Office and Larcums have now closed. We need a proper pillar box in the street to catch the latest post at all times of day for heaven’s sake!

Our Reply

Your comments are noted and are considered to be in line with the aims and policies of the draft Neighbourhood Plan, notably ECT1, ECT2 and ECT3. We certainly support your comments regarding a stationery supplier and post box but, regrettably, delivery of such facilities is beyond the scope of a Neighbourhood Plan.


Geoffrey Strachan

Comment and additional road safety requests

I support the aim to reduce traffic speeed and danger to pedestrians of all ages. I support the aim to reduce traffic speeds in the town. Traffic on The Slade should not exceed 30mph. This must be done with cameras. We need a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights just beyond the school. Residents of all ages cross at all times – not just school children. EC15: there should be proper traffic lights for cars and pavements for all pedestrians where The Slade meets the Enstone Road. It’s a death trap. The surface of Crawborough should be cycle and pram friendly.

Our Reply

Your comments are noted and are considered to be in line with the aims, policies and community aspirations of the draft plan. Delivery of specific measures, such as those mentioned, is beyond the scope of a Neighbourhood Plan but road safety improvements in these areas are identified in the Town Council Infrastructure Delivery Plan (Appendix B of the draft Neighbourhood Plan) as priorities for infrastructure spending and potential use of developer contributions from future developments. The Town Council notes your specific suggestions for future consideration.


Susan Strachan

Request additional road safety measures

Speeding and parking of major concern, particularly on The Slade & Enstone Road. A zebra crossing or traffic lights needed at the top of Crawborough – It is not only parents and schoolchildren who cross the road here (Ticknell Piece rresidents, dogwalkers, etc). ECT13: Sturt Road & The Slade road safety to be supported. ECT9: Walking and cycling – safer routes into the town centre. ECT8 – Station Car Park – resident permits would be welcome. Cross Roads atb the Enstone Road needs to be sorted (demolishing the Toll House to make space for a proper roundabout – probably sacrilege!). Double yellow lines needed at bottom of Nine Acres Lane. Enstone Road – 2 or 3 double yellow lines to stop parking all the way down. Travelling up very difficult. Thank you to all involved in such a detailed report.

Our Reply

Your comments are noted and are considered to be in line with the aims, policies and community aspirations of the draft plan. Delivery of specific measures, such as those mentioned, is beyond the scope of a Neighbourhood Plan but road safety improvements in these areas are identified in the Town Council Infrastructure Delivery Plan (Appendix B of the draft Neighbourhood Plan) as priorities for infrastructure spending and potential use of developer contributions from future developments. The Town Council notes your specific suggestions for future consideration.


Christina Surawy

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE7, NE4: I think the plan is excellent and I am fully in support of it.

The section on local green space is very important given the pressure to build/sell land. I think it is invaluable to protect the field north of Forest rd which provides unique views of the town, gives it its rural character, and contributes to the dark skies around the town.

Our Reply

Thank you for these comments which are welcome. We share your view of the importance of the “Field north of Forest Road” for its landscape value and its unique views of the town. This informed our original decision to nominate this field as a Local Green Space (LGS). However, following strong opposition to designation from the landowner and other advice, we have reviewed the criteria for designation and whilst our commitment to the protection of the space is in no way diminished, we are now persuaded that LGS designation is not the appropriate approach to protection of this space. The field forms part of a much larger tract of land within the Evenlode valley deserving of protection in its entirety and as such may not be judged on examination to meet the strict criteria for LGS designation. We have therefore taken steps to ensure that the site is strongly protected through other means within this plan and elsewhere as outlined below. On this basis we have agreed to remove this site from LGS designation under Policy NE7 and have set out the reasons for this decision in Appendix E.3 (formerly Appendix F.3) of the revised plan. We are now confident that the site and the views across it, from and towards the town, are protected by the site’s prominent location within the sensitive landscape of the Evenlode Valley and within the Cotswolds AONB in accordance with WO Local Plan 2031 policy EH1, by the policies of the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan and by the revised policies NE1, NE2 and NE3 of this Plan. In addition, Policies NE5 & NE6 of this plan, both of which have been substantially strengthened, will provide strong protection for wildlife and biodiversity in this area and beyond.


David Thomas

Request clarification

Recognised Built-up Area is difficult to grasp. The definition of the “recognised built up area” isn’t that clear and I wonder therefore it this will lead to interpretation issues in the future. For instance, there have been several large houses reccently built on Woodstock Road towards the outer limits of Charlbury (but within the 30mph area) – does this mean that this part of the the town is now woithin the recognised built-up area?

Our Reply

This matter has been given significant consideration but it was concluded that the inclusion of a definitive map of the built-up area could be problematic and counter-productive. The extent of the built-up area to the west of the town is clearly defined within Policy NE3 (Protecting the Evenlode Valley) and is further clarified in paragraph 5.3.4 of the revised draft plan. With regard to recent developments on Woodstock Road (for which approval was granted before the adoption of the West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2031), we note that a subsequent adjacent application (submitted after adoption of the local plan) was refused with the refusal upheld on appeal. In this case it was not judged that the proposed development site formed part of the built-up area.


David Thomas

Request clarification

Not clear how the 6 aims have been arrived at. Section 3.1 Aims: It is not clear how some of the 6 aims have been arrived at. E.g. point 2 mentions climate change but this aspect didn’t crop up at all in the CNF survey 2016. More clarity as to where / how the aims have been drawn from would be helpful.

Our Reply

The process leading to the preparation of the draft Neighbourhood Plan is outlined in section 4 of the plan with further detail included within the Consultation Statement which accompanies the submission of the revised plan. With regard to Climate Change, public awareness and support for action has risen rapidly during the period of plan preparation culminating in the declaration of a climate emergency by the Town Council in October 2019. Revisions have been included throughout the plan in recognition of the climate emergency and to reflect associated responses to this consultation.


David Thomas

Request additional information

Missing Information Source. Section 3.1 Aims: The first sentence states “other public engagement exercises”. Information sources need to be identified to enable the reader to check veracity.

Our Reply

The process leading to the preparation of the draft Neighbourhood Plan is outlined in section 4 of the plan with further detail included within the Consultation Statement which accompanies the submission of the revised plan.


David Thomas

Objection re priority order

Key issues don’t reflect respondents priorities. The key issues bullet point list does not reflect the respondents priority list within the CNF survey 2016 (question 76). This showed that the top 3 issues were; 1 – Traffic, road safety and parking; 2 – Public Transport and 3 – housing affordability, type and mix. Your bullet point list should have these three as the top items. Please re-order the bullet points to link to the results from the CNF Survey 2016.

Our Reply

Your objection is noted. No priority is implied by the sequence of items in this bullet list.


David Thomas

Comment re environmental stands enforcability

Environmental Standards for New Houses. The second part of section 2.3 states “Require new housing and extensions to be built to the highest environmental standardds possible”. I cannot see how this will be enacted/enforces in terms of requriements placed on builders, therefore is of rather limited value. Aspirations should be realisitically achieveable if they are to be included.

Our Reply

Revisions have been made to Policy NE9 and supporting text in this regard.


David Thomas

Suggestion for formating change

Link with Section 5 – Housing Policies. It would make sense to link this or add it to one of the Section 5 housing policies (e.g. any new development will not be supported without a fibre optic connection into the property.

Our Reply

The requirement for access to superfast broadband is covered by WO Local Plan 2031 policies E2, T1 and BC1 and is also recognised in Community Aspiration 1.


David Thomas

Comment on policy CA4: Comment re 20 mph zone – should be made to OCC consultation

A 20mph area-wide limit is beneficial, not a 20mph zone. The proposed 20mph zone is too limited and lots of residents will not benefit. Charlbury needs a 20mph area-wide limit. The Jan 2013 DfT guidance permits such area-wide limits (See paragraphs 95 to 101in the DfT document). Plenty of other towns in the country have done this so there is no reason why Charlbury cannot. 20mph area-wide limits do not require speed humps or other traffic calming measures.

Our Reply

The 20mph speed limit now in place but will be kept under review by the Town Council Traffic Working Group and your comments are noted in this regard. No changes to the Neighbourhood Plan are appropriate as the delivery of any change to this scheme is not within the scope of this plan.


David Thomas

Suggestion re tree planting

Increase Tree Population. The emphasis in NE5 is on retaining existing trees but why not include an increase in the total tree population? More trees reduce urban temperatures and are good environmentally so you could include an aspiration to get all households to plant trees in their gardens.

Our Reply

More detail on tree planting is now provided in Policy NE5 and the supporting text.


David Thomas

Suggestion for formating change

Mis-titled Section – should be Transport. Section 6.4 should be titled “transport”.. The objectives here nare greateer than just parking. For instance, to create a safer.less polluted environment that encourages walking and cycling (particularly on The Slade and Sturt Road), why not include a 7.5 tonne weight limit? There would be no impact on shop deliveries as these are permitted in weight restricted areas. The majority of HGVs on the above route are using Charlbury as a short cut from Enstone to Witney, why can’t they keep to the A44 and A4095?

Our Reply

Walking and Cycling are covered in section 6.5 and road safety in section 6.8. A weight limit is already in force within the central area and changes to such arrangements are not within the scope of this plan.


David Vernon-Jones

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy NE7: We object to the fact that Wychwood Paddocks was not chosen for designation as a Local Green Space, despite assessment.

As residents of Wychwood Paddocks, we would like to express our concern that our street has not been included as one of the Local Green Spaces sites (Local Green Space Assessment, 3.1, pp.152-158). We are aware, when reading the assessment of this site, just how positive the observations are, not only in terms of community recreation and local purpose but also in relation to tranquility and wildlife value. This is an open green space which has proven significance and value to the local community. The local purpose credentials of the site are strong: not only is it used by the Primary School on a regular basis but, in addition, two local teams use the field on Sunday mornings (spring/autumn) and an additional two teams use the field one evening per week. Occasional matches are played on Saturday mornings all year round. These attract parents and other adults who no doubt enjoy the views. One reason why the site is not accessible to the public is because there were instances of dog fouling in the past when the site was open to the general public, itself especially unhelpful with children from the Primary School using the space However, the question of public access to the site could perhaps be reviewed and perhaps benches could be provided to enable people to enjoy the views. The surrounding hedges could be pruned. The proposed three green corridors (Neighbourhood Plan Draft, paragraph 7.3.5) could lead to a reduction in the number of green spaces in the centre of the town which, given that green infrastructure is identified in planning policy as ‘integral to the health and quality of life of sustainable communities’ (paragraph 7.3.3), is of concern. Recent new developments, such as in Pooles Lane, surely justify the protection of existing green spaces. Development of the Wychwood Paddocks site with housing or car parking would result in a significant increase in traffic between the Co-op and the Enstone Road Crossroads, highlighted in the Town Survey as one of the top two danger areas in Charlbury (Neghbourhood Plan Draft, paragraph 6.9.1).

Our Reply

The concern you have expressed over Wychwood Paddocks is recognised and is shared by several other residents. The value of the site as a school playing field is beyond doubt and is generally accepted. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Careful thought has been given to this question and the reasons for non-designation in this case are clearly set out in appendix E.3 (was appendix F.3) of the draft plan. Following the strong representations from yourself and others, the site assessment was reviewed against the criteria for designation but the decision not to designate was still judged to be appropriate in this case. Therefore, no further action was deemed to be necessary although the reasons for non-designation have been clarified further in appendix E.3. Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we believe that this covers your main concerns. This position is supported in other neighbourhood plans where protection of school playing fields has been considered. It is also noted that this position is strongly supported by Oxfordshire County Council who own the land and recognise its value to the community but strongly oppose LGS designation. If circumstances change in the future (e.g. if the primary school were to be relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meet the identified needs of the community.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: SUPPORT

Collateral impact on parking of new developments

Currently permitted housing developments can also have a knock-on effect on parking on nearby streets that is not directly linked to cars from the new houses. A case in point is the prospective development behind the former police houses in Hixet Wood, where the creation of a new access will inevitably have an impact on existing on-street parking on the opposite side of the road. If the owners of cars find that it becomes unsafe to continue parking them there, then presumably they will have to find other places nearby – if any are available.

Our Reply

This matter is addressed in detail by Policy ECT7 and supporting text.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy ECT9: Clarification needed

The reference to the B4022 is unclear. Does this mean from the 30 mph sign on one side of the town to the 30 mph sign on the other, or just The Slade/Sturt Road, or what?

Our Reply

Policy ECT9 has been revised in this regard.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy ECT14: Most children do not have to be driven to and from school

We strongly support the policy that there must be safe walking routes from housing to the school. However, we feel that this does not go far enough, and that there should actually be incentivation and appropriate mechanisms for parents to stop using cars for the school run and to walk or cycle instead. All of Charlbury is within walking distance of the school.

Our Reply

This is covered in Community Aspiration 7. Delivery of specific measures is not within the scope of a Neighbourhood Plan but this issue is included within the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (see Appendix B) as a Town Council priority for infrastructure funding for which funding may be sought from future developments.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy ECT15: Enstone Road crossroads is very hazardous

We strongly agree that a redesign of the Enstone Road crossroads is needed as a matter of extreme urgency. With the exception of the often-ignored Stop sign at the bottom of Browns Lane, this is the most dangerous junction in the town from the pedestrian’s perspective.

Our Reply

Agreed. This is covered by Policy ECT15. It is also included within the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (see Appendix B) as a Town Council priority for infrastructure funding for which funding may be sought from future developments.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE2: There are also viewpoints outside the town

It is important to remember that views across the town are as important as those out from the town. The prime example of this is the view from footpath 156/23, across the town to the Evenlode Valley beyond.

Our Reply

Policy NE2 refers to “… important views of, from and WITHIN the town”. The policy also makes it clear that important views are “not limited to” the examples given. This list of examples has also been revised and we believe it now adequately reflects your comments.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

The library is omitted from the list of town facilities.

Our Reply

The library has now been included in section 2.1 under “Community Life”.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy HE1: Walls are visually important too

We strongly support the policy. However, it is very important to consider not only the buildings that provide the town with its distinctive character, but also features such as traditional stone walls. These are not mentioned here, yet are a critical aspect of the town’s architecture in their own right and need protection from needless demolition or unnecessary modification.

Our Reply

Walls are included in Appendix C.4 (Streetscape Design), part of the Design Guidance. This section was omitted by mistake from the consultation draft of the plan. They are also covered in the Charlbury Parish Character Assessment document and the WO Design Guide. Planning permission is needed to alter walls in the curtilage of a listed building or for work to walls over 2m or 1m adjacent to a road.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy HE1: We support the local list concept

As the owners of one of the houses identified in Appendix D (p.87), we strongly support the idea of creating a list of buildings of local heritage interest. We feel that the benefits of such a move should outweigh any potential drawbacks, if only through ensuring that these buildings are maintained or modified using appropriate materials and designs that are sympathetic to the surrounding built environment.

Our Reply

Thank you for your support. Descriptions explaining the reasons for inclusion in the local list are now included in Appendix D.3.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy ECT6: Good idea, but a bit late

We support the principle of having children’s play areas in various parts of the town, at a reasonable walking distance from residential areas. However, this does seem a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has long gone, given the development of the Wilkins Court houses on land that had previously been a playground.

Our Reply

Your comments are noted.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy ECT2: Questionable enforcibality

We support the policy as a concept, but are concerned whether it would be enforceable in practice. As is noted, there is clearly little incentive for current owners of vacant former retail properties to use them in this way, yet neither are there any signs of entrepreneurial diversification to other uses such as office space. Furthermore, it is difficult to envisage how an ‘affordable housing’ requirement could be enforced for any of these premises for which conversion permission was granted. Once a building has been converted from retail to housing, it is hard to imagine a situation where its subsequent return to retail use might be considered to be a better option.

Our Reply

Comments acknowledged. Policy ECT2 and supporting text have been revised in this regard.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Nine Acres Close stands out visually in the environment

While houses on Sandford Park and Woodfield Drive are indeed different architecturally from the ‘traditional’ designs of earlier construction, they are essentially internal to the town, so have limited visual impact. The same cannot be said for the houses on Nine Acres Close, which are on the edge of town and are highly visible from the countryside beyond.

Our Reply

Comments noted but this text is simply a quote from the Charlbury Parish Character Assessment which was prepared with substantial input from local volunteers and which was subject to a period of public consultation prior to publishing.


Simon And Rhona Walker

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy ECT4: Lack of affordable accommodation for tourists

We support the concept of promoting sustainable tourism in Charlbury. However, the main hurdle to this is the lack of affordable accommodation that might entice less affluent prospective visitors to stay here. At one end of the scale, the campsites offer an inexpensive option for those who enjoy that. At the other, the formal in-town facilities are too expensive for many people, and there needs to be more in the way of reasonably priced B&B, self-catering and youth hostel-type accommodation.

Our Reply

Comments acknowledged. Policy ECT4 has been revised to provide greater clarity.


Lesley Wasley

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Thank you for the time that many have given to this well considered document.

Our Reply

Thank you for your support.


Lesley Wasley

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE5: 4th paragraph, 6th line … delete ‘wherever possible’

Our Reply

Policy NE5 and supporting text have been substantially revised to provide greater detail and clarity.


Lesley Wasley

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy CH2: ‘Predominantly if not exclusively …’ ‘if not exclusively’ is unclear to me

Our Reply

Whilst it is not possible to exclude mixed developments, our preference, in order to meet local need, is for developments in which all homes conform to one of the affordable categories defined by the NPPF.


Susan Way

Comment on policy HE1: Object article 4 direction

I object to the inclusion of my house in Appendix D as a “non-designated asset”. My house is not a listed building. It is originally pre-C19 but with modern C20 and C21 additions such as a verandah, a porch and a kitchen extension. It does not front onto any public highway and can’t be seen from the road. If it’s valuable enough to list then it should be listed but, if not, I object to this “non-designated historic asset” status which as I understand it would make normal planning applications more difficult for an owner. (I do not have any plans to apply for planning permission but this would affect my future plans and those of any subsequent owner.) This objection also extends (for the same reasons) to the entire Appendix D list.

Our Reply

Your objection is acknowledged. In contrast to statutory listing, inclusion in a local list does not impose any additional planning constraints (see also our reply to your separate comment re: Article 4 Direction). Local listing, which is encouraged by national and local planning policies, merely flags up what is significant about a building to assist if a planning application is made. Descriptions explaining the reasons for inclusion in the local list are now included in Appendix D.3 of the revised plan.


Susan Way

Object article 4 direction

I object to the proposal that my house should be subject to an Article 4 Direction. I don’t agree that my house is of particular historical interest – it is pre- C19 but with C20 and C21 modern additions (verandah, porch, kitchen extension). As such I feel it has no historical or local significance. I think it would be unreasonable to disapply statutory permitted development rights by use of a blanket Article 4 Direction affecting a large number of disparate unlisted buildings including my own house. I think it is wrong to require us, or anyone else listed in Appendix D, to obtain planning permission for things which for other houses are within permitted development rights.

Our Reply

Your objection is acknowledged. On the advice of WODC, all reference to the proposed Article 4 Direction has now been removed from the draft neighbourhood plan. Any request for such a measure would have to be made by the Town Council directly to WODC with clear evidence of public support.


Nicholas Way

I am sending these comments, attached, on the Draft Neighbourhood Plan to you, as indicated on the Plan website, ahead of the publication of the Feedback Form. Please confirm receipt of this e-mail and its contents and that they will be considered alongside others, submitted later or via the Feedback Form process. Whilst I can understand the value of a Feedback Form approach, I hope you will find the comments submitted here, in this free form, useful. I have written them above all as a Charlbury resident, but one who has been involved, over three decades, with the joys of dealing with Planning Policy Guidance and rural economy politics (as Policy Director of the CLA), as a Board Member of a rural Housing Association (English Rural, owning and managing 1,250 affordable homes in small schemes in villages in various parts of England) and as a Board Member of the national Heritage Alliance. Whilst that gives my comments zero priority over anyone else’s, it may help to explain where they are coming from, although my main input is having lived here, with my family for 27 years, and having seen Charlbury improve, overall, as a place to live over that period. Against that background I would like to applaud all those who have prepared this authoritative, thoughtful and informative document. It is a tour de force and will be of enormous value to Charlbury for many years to come. Whilst I have some questions on the Draft, and on what it means, and whilst I do not agree with every word and every recommendation, I can see that the authors have gone to great efforts to address the issues and that the Draft deserves warm support, overall. I hope you find my questions and comments helpful. It would be good if a public response to the various questions raised by me and others could be made; I appreciate that it may not be possible to answer every individual question individually, but it would be useful if such a response could explain how the questions and comments have been corralled and addressed. Finally, there are only one or two areas where I believe the recommendations are substantially misdirected. I hope these areas, which I have highlighted, will be given serious consideration. Should you wish to discuss any of my comments, and I am sure you have better things to do, I would be happy talk. Best wishes and good luck with this very worthwhile project

Our Reply

These helpful and well informed comments on several section of the plan have been taken into account in revising the document. It should be noted the Consultation Statement which accompanies the submitted plan gives details gives detail on how we have responded to questions and comments on the plan.


Nicholas Way

Section 8: Historic Environment and Locally Appropriate Design It is fascinating to see a concise and well written history of the architecture and tangible character of Charlbury in one place, in Paragraphs 8.1 – 8.6. As the Plan will be referred to often and widely over the coming years, it is important that these paragraphs are retained in the final document! Policy HE1: Agree, so long as this policy does not stifle owners from making sympathetic adaptations over time, to meet the changing needs of buildings and families. For example, a requirement for the top of new dormer windows in a Grade II listed house to be a few inches lower than proposed, for subjectively aesthetic, historic environment reasons, does not make sense when the average height of people is greater than two hundred years ago, and the purpose of a dormer is to increase the usable space within a bedroom or (possibly new) bathroom. Policy HE2: Agree in principle. Decisions on street signage should take account of local circumstances as well as guiding principles. For example, a road sign should be visible to traffic from a distance appropriate to meet safety needs; it should not be positioned, or refused, entirely to meet aesthetic concerns. Policy HE3: Agree, except proposal for the use of Article 4 Directions. Use of an Article 4 Direction would enable the LPA to insist on the use of Stonesfield Slates, in preference to alternative materials on unlisted buildings. If the property is not worthy of listing, owners should not be required to go to the additional expense of using Stonesfield Slates when replacing or repairing roofs. Indeed, this proposal could have the unintended consequence of deterring owners from attending to the proper maintenance of their houses, for fear of facing an unnecessarily high bill, imposed by the LPA. I feel this particular proposal is disproportionate to the issue being described. There is not a wholesale trend towards unsympathetic management of old buildings in the Conservation Area, and many of the adaptations and conversions have enhanced the visual appeal of the town.

Our Reply

Your comments are acknowledged and welcome. Taking specific comments individually:

  1. Policy HE1. In contrast to statutory listing, inclusion in a local list does not impose any additional planning constraints (see also 3 below re: Article 4 Direction). Local listing, which is encouraged by national and local planning policies, merely flags up what is significant about a building to assist if a planning application is made. Descriptions explaining the reasons for inclusion in the local list are now included in Appendix D.3 of the revised plan.
  2. Policy HE2. Section C.4 (Streetscape design) of the Design Guidance in Appendix C addresses this matter. This section was omitted from the consultation draft of the Neighbourhood Plan but has now been added. Practical signage requirements such as those you mention are controlled by OCC Highways Authority.
  3. Article 4 Direction. On the advice of WODC, all reference to the proposed Article 4 Direction has now been removed from the draft neighbourhood plan. Any request for such a measure would have to be made by the Town Council directly to WODC with clear evidence of public support


Nicholas Way

Section 7: Natural Environment and Green Space. I sympathise with the tenor of this section, but have some questions: Policy NE 1: “Development of affordable housing that meets identified needs of the town will be supported provided it is consistent with the great weight that must be given to conserving and enhancing the landscape and natural scenic beauty of the area.” Is it realistic or reasonable to expect that affordable housing must always enhance landscape and natural scenic beauty? Or indeed any development? Policy NE2: Agree. Policy NE3: This appears to rule out Rushy Bank, although that has been designed not to be intrusive and will hardly be visible from the town, given the existence of the station and nearby existing buildings, and is justified for its contribution to mixed housing provision (predominantly affordable and socially, through the young Dementia centre). Is this the intention? Policy NE4. Reduction of light pollution is a laudable aim, but it should, I believe, be achieved by redesign of street lighting to cast light downwards, rather than by the removal of street lighting, which could create security fears for train and bus passengers returning to Charlbury, especially late at night and in the winter evenings. Policies NE5 and NE6: Agree. Policy NE7: Should Wychwood Paddocks also be included? Policy NE8: Paragraph 7.5.4: Does this paragraph belong better in the previous sub-section on Local Green Spaces, as the paragraph appears to focus on why the Quarry has not be proposed to become a Local Green Space? Policy NE9: In the past, photovoltaic panels have been refused on existing buildings in the Conservation Area, even when these were being adapted, converted or refurbished. Should this policy be reviewed, as the need for energy saving, given the climate emergency (specifically cited in 7.6.2) is not confined to new buildings? Advances in design mean that the installation of such panels can be sympathetic (and it is not as if 18th and 19th century houses in the Conservation Area have not been modernised in a range of other ways).

Our Reply

Your comments are acknowledged and welcome. This section of the plan has been modified substantially in the light of comments received and in recognition of the declared climate emergency. Taking your comments individually:

  1. Policy NE1. We believe this policy conforms with national and local plan policies relating to AONBs and conservation areas. Conservation and enhancement may involve mitigations.
  2. Policy NE3. Obviously the Neighbourhood Plan cannot act retrospectively so speculation on its impact on the Rushy Bank development is of purely academic interest. However, your point is well made with regard to future developments and this policy has been revised to permit development “if it can be robustly demonstrated that the consequent public benefit outweighs any harm to the landscape”.
  3. Policy NE4. The policy is compatible with the provision of lighting where “necessary”, such as for safety reasons, but it is intended to place an obligation to avoid unnecessary light pollution. Your comments on possible means of achieving this are noted but this policy is not intended to impose specific solutions. However, coverage of this topic is now included within the design guidance in Appendix C of the revised plan within a section (C.4) covering streetscape design (see paragraph C.4.5). Section C.4 was omitted from the consultation draft of the plan in error.
  4. Policy NE7 – possible inclusion of Wychwood Paddocks. Considerable thought was given to this possibility and the reasons for not designating this site were explained in Appendix F.3 of the consultation draft. As a result of your comment and those of others, we have reviewed this decision but have concluded that the decision not to designate Wychwood Paddocks remains appropriate. The value of the site to the community, particularly as a school playing field, is certainly recognised. The question is how this should be protected and whether designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) is the most appropriate approach. Further clarification of the reasons is included in the revised Appendix E.3 (formerly F.3). Strong protection for the site as a playing field is already provided by paragraph 97 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we are satisfied that the academisation of Charlbury Primary School has not undermined this position. If circumstances were to change in the future (e.g. if the primary school relocated to another site), the NPPF protection would still require demonstrable proof that the playing field facility was no longer required or that alternative (equivalent or better) facilities were being provided elsewhere. In such circumstances, it would be important to reassess the best use for site from the point of view of the community of Charlbury. Housing policies within the Neighbourhood Plan (e.g. CH1 & CH10) seek to ensure that any development that did take place meet the identified needs of the community
  5. Policy NE9. This policy has been revised in recognition of the declared climate emergency and in the light of your comments and those of others, subject to the constraints of national and local policy and legislation. Whilst not specific in relation to photovoltaic panels, the policy requires great weight to be given “for homes to be made zero carbon by improving their energy efficiency including the introduction of renewable heat and electricity generation as required”. This policy, plus the Design Guidance in Appendix C, now indicate that the advice from Historic England should be followed in the case of historic buildings.


Nicholas Way

Section 6: Economy, Community, Transport and Movement I think this is realistic and purposeful. Lifestyles have changed and people do not use the shops that existed in Sheep Street twenty or thirty years ago in the same way now. It seems sensible to seek takers for empty retail premises for office/employment space and to retain as much of the rented accommodation above or behind these and other retail premises as possible, for the reasons given. No comments on the analysis and proposals in the remainder of the section, apart from welcome and support.

Our Reply

Your comments are acknowledged and welcome. Policy ECT2 has been modified to accommodate changes of use which support the vitality and viability of the town centre through provision of community facilities or support for sustainable tourism.


Nicholas Way

Section 5: Housing I welcome the amount of thought that has gone into this section, which appears to be well justified by the evidence of Charlbury’s population trends, the Town Survey, the Housing Needs Assessment and recent development. It is slightly disappointing that no sites have been allocated for affordable or other lower cost housing. At the same time, the call for prioritisation of affordable housing over the coming years and the recommendation against any more developments of houses of 5 or more bedrooms are welcome. However, the section raises some questions, and it may be that some redrafting would reduce some ambiguities. For example: • Does the Plan support mixed housing, in the sense not only of mixed tenure – rented, shared ownership and owned – but also in terms of affordable (including Affordable and Social Rent) and market value? The draft makes a powerful case for affordable (which as the Vice Chair of a rural housing association I fully understand) but is a little equivocal on market value housing, for which there may be a continuing need, especially in the 2 and 3 bedroom size category. • Policy CH6 states support for: “at least 40% 1-2 bedrooms; no more than 20% 4 bedroom homes; 0% 5 bedroom or larger homes”. Should it make it clear that 3 bedroom houses are not excluded? • Where there are two households with sizeable gardens, and one has an older relation, and the other has not, are they both allowed to build a small house in the garden, or is that only allowed for the household with the older relation, as a “granny flat”? If the garden is big enough, should there be a difference of planning treatment, as in both cases an additional size-appropriate dwelling is being provided, whoever occupies it? I may have misunderstood the text, but greater clarity would remove any doubt. • What does “undeveloped land adjoining the built up area” mean, if it does not mean undeveloped land on the other side of the road? • Where is the boundary of the “built up area” and will any development outside this be permitted, if a strong case for it emerges over the coming years? • The draft Plan supports developments of affordable and lower cost homes – where are they going to be built? • How can the proposed prevention of Right to Buy for affordable housing and the retention of lower cost housing within the realms of lower cost be sustained, given the current legislation and the likelihood of the Parish of Charlbury not being a “Designated Rural Area” under the legislation? • Will Rushy Bank be developed? Personally, I hope so, as I think it is an appropriate and useful initiative on its own merits. Clarity would be helpful, if possible. • Is Rushy Bank to be treated as an Exception Site, in Planning terms? How else can the reassurance that it is not to be treated as “built up area” be given effect? Or does this Plan achieve that objective, on its own? • Which of the policies CH1 to CH13 have precedence? Which trump the others and which is supreme? I am not trying to catch out the authors of the draft. A lot of thought has gone into proposing substantive recommendations and I hope there are simple answers to what I hope are easy questions!

Our Reply

Your comments are acknowledged and welcome. Taking specific comments individually:

  1. No sites allocated. I refer you to Appendix A of the draft plan. We issued a “call for sites” in May 2017 with the intention of identifying one or more sites for future development. However, the response was minimal and did not identify any obviously acceptable and deliverable sites. This also coincided with the examination of the WO Local Plan 2031 as a result of which, local plan revisions were required to adopt a “more restrictive approach to new housing development” within the Burford-Charlbury sub-area in recognition that most of the sub-area lay within the Cotswolds AONB. This led to the removal of site allocations, including one in Charlbury, from the local plan and the adoption of a criteria-based approach to future development within the sub-area. Bearing these facts in mind, it was decided that the same criteria-based approach should be adopted by the Neighbourhood Plan as set out in Conclusion 1 to Appendix A (see also section 5.1).
  2. Clarification of Housing Policies. Some amendments have been made to the housing policies and supporting text to clarify matters and this includes changes to Policy CH6 to include 3 bed homes. We are constrained by the need to remain compliant with national and local policies and this prevents us from being as unequivocal as we would like in some respects.
  3. Granny Flats. Policy CH10 specifically covers the needs of older people and those with disabilities as clearly stated. However, other equivalent developments in gardens are likely to meet local need as small properties and are therefore not excluded provided they are compliant with other policies including CH9.
  4. Built-up Area. The option to include a map of the built-up area was given significant consideration but it was concluded that such a map may be problematic and have unintended consequences by setting arbitrary fixed boundaries. We have preferred to adopt a more flexible approach that can be judged on a case-by-case basis and prevailing circumstances. Planning experience in this regard since the adoption of the WO Local Plan 2031 has tended to reinforce this opinion. For example, an application for large executive homes on the eastern edge of the town was refused with the refusal upheld on appeal when it was judged that the proposed development site did not lie within the built-up area. See also “6” below re: Rushy Bank.
  5. Right to Buy etc. We accept that it may not be in the gift of the Neighbourhood Plan to prevent “Right to Buy” for affordable housing and changes have therefore been made to Policy CH5 to make it clear this is subject to statutory constraints. We know this may render the policy meaningless but the Town Council has long campaigned against recent extensions to Right to Buy and we believe that it is important for the Neighbourhood Plan to reflect that position and the reasons for it (as explained in the supporting text). On a related topic, we do believe that mechanisms are possible to enable properties to remain affordable for future occupants of affordable homes and it is therefore right for the plan to encourage this even if the precise details may not yet be clearly defined.
  6. Rushy Bank. WODC confirmed approval of this application on 20th January 2020. The application site was not classified as a Rural Exception Site (and could not have been) due to the mixed nature of the development. The acceptable building line west of the town is clearly defined in Policy NE3 of the Neighbourhood Plan and paragraph 5.3.4 of the revised plan (modified version of paragraph 5.3.3. of the consultation draft) clearly states that outlying elements including the station complex and the Rushy Bank development will not be regarded as part of the built-up area for future planning purposes.
  7. Policy Precedence – CH1, CH2 and CH3. Policy CH1 is paramount in setting out the need for development to meet the needs of the parish of Charlbury. CH2 & CH3 provide clarification of the requirements for affordable and lower-cost housing within this overall objective.


Nicholas Way

Section 3: Aims and Objectives I was very interested to read these, and to see the thought that has gone into reflecting the views from the 2016 Town Survey and to forming those views into coherent aims and objectives. The objectives should, therefore, be taken as a whole, but I would like to note the welcome reference to keeping affordable housing affordable, as that will not be easy given current legislation; it will require care and vigilance. I support the aspiration that the Primary School should aim to accommodate all the children of primary school age in Charlbury, it’s what the school is for.

Our Reply

Your comments are acknowledged and welcome.


Nicholas Way

Section 2: The Town of Charlbury Typo alert: Page 12: Charlbury lies North West of Oxford, not North East! Page 17: As indicated above, I think it is a mistake to single out one natural asset – the Evenlode Valley – over others, as is done in the Key Challenges section – see my comment above on other, equally valuable, assets and views. Singling out one asset in this section may give the impression that any change to any part of the asset being singled out should be prohibited altogether. However, even the Evenlode Valley has changed a little over the decades, and is not devoid of any buildings. The cricket club, houses at Walcot and some houses in the view from the top of Dyers Hill have been modified or extended within the last thirty years.

Our Reply

Your comments are acknowledged and welcome. The geographical error you identify has been corrected! We note your comment on singling out the Evenlode Valley and accept the significance of other aspects of the local landscape. We do believe that the strong landscape of the Evenlode Valley is of particular prominence and significance and, as such, is worthy of special mention (including Policy NE3). However, other policies within the plan (e.g. NE1, NE2, NE5 and NE6) do recognise the importance of other aspects of the landscape and seek to protect them.


Nicholas Way

Overview and Section 1: Introduction and Context “The Plan seeks to redress this balance with policies that support the provision of a limited supply of new housing affordable by those on or below the median income for the town.” I welcome and support the recognition of the shortage of modest housing required to meet local needs and – in my view – to keep a healthy mix of population. The evidence-based approach is welcome, particularly the use of a Housing Needs Assessment. So too is the cross reference to and support for Community aspirations, as taken forward in more detail in the Community Action Plan (CAP). That will help the Neighbourhood Plan to support the CAP, which is needed; conversely, the Neighbourhood Plan should not define or constrain the CAP. I support the recognition of the value of the historic environment in creating an attractive place in which to live and work, and to visit and enjoy. That said, the view across the Evenlode Valley from Dyers Hill is neither more nor less valuable than other natural assets. The views from Park Street and Grammar School Hill, from Nine Acres across the Wigwell Reserve and beyond, and from the top of the town, by Banbury Hill or behind Ticknell Piece and the Millennium Wood, are equally precious.

Our Reply

Your detailed comments are acknowledged and welcome. Regarding the relationship between the Neighbourhood and Community Action Plans, as indicated in section 4, the teams have worked together under the umbrella of the Neighbourhood Forum to enable the plans to inform each other and to ensure consistency. The CAP is not a statutory document and should be seen as a living document expressing the aspirations of the community to inform the priorities for the town council. It can be reviewed and revised at any time and is not constrained by the Neighbourhood Plan. Whether specific recommended actions are deliverable or not will be a matter for consideration by the Town Council at the appropriate time. The Infrastructure Delivery Plan (see Appendix B for the current version) is also a living document produced and maintained by the Town Council but informed by the CAP. Concerning views, Policy NE2 makes it clear that protection is not limited to the examples listed in the policy. Also note that the policy and supporting text have been revised for clarity.


Jeffrey West

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE6, NE7: The definition of the Evenlode Green Corridor (see Policy NE6) is not reflected in Map 3 on p.50

Policy NE6 says that the Evenlode Green Corridor is defined in paragraph 7.3.9, which says that it follows the River Evenlode through the Neighbourhood Plan area. Map 3 nevertheless shows it bounded the west by the railway line, and not by the river, which is of course the parish and Plan boundary. The same is true of proposed Local Green Space LGS15.

Our Reply

Map 3 has now been amended.


Jeffrey West

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE8: This paragraph is not part of the justification for the Flood Risk Management Policy NE8.

This paragraph is not part of the justification for the Flood Risk Management Policy NE8.

Our Reply

Error acknowledged and corrected.


Jeffrey West

Response type: SUPPORT

Some detailed drafting points

Page 78 refers to “a concluding section on streetscape design” which is missing from the consultation draft. In para C.1.4, penultimate bullet, for “form as” read “forms”. In para C.1.5, penultimate bullet, to “stone walls” add “and iron railings” (eg as in the new development at the Playing Close). On pp.87 and 90, why are some entries in red?

Our Reply

Errors acknowledged and corrected. The Streetscape design section (C.4) of the design guidance (Appendix C) was omitted in error and had been added.


Jeffrey West

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

This sub-section should make it clear that the CNP will not itself constitute an Article 4 Direction.

This sub-section should make it clear that the CNP would not itself constitute an Article 4 Direction, and should clarify whether this is a recommendation to the Town Council (to request WODC to make a Direction) or is itself a recommendation to WODC.

Our Reply

On advice from WODC, all reference to an Article 4 Direction (including the whole of section 8.7) has been removed from the draft plan.


Jeffrey West

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

There is no Part 4 of the Design Guidance on streetscape design.

There is no Part 4 of the Design Guidance on streetscape design.

Our Reply

Appendix section C.4 added.


Jeffrey West

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

The census figures in the Demography sub-section are either wrong or, if true, require explanation.

If it is true that there were 1,400 people aged 36-45 in Charlbury in 2001 but only 600 aged 46-55 ten years later, then at least 800 individuals (over a quarter of the population), all aged in their 40s, must have left the town in the first decade of this century. If so, why? And why were there so many 40-year-olds in the town in 2001?

Our Reply

Comment noted. There was an error in the census figures previously quoted which has now been corrected under the heading of demography. A revised graph illustrating this has also been substituted.


Jeffrey West

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy CH10: As drafted, Policy CH10 runs the risk of further exacerbating the age-imbalance of the town.

The report on housing and demography in the Burford-Charlbury Sub-area prepared by Peter Brett Associates and quoted in Appendix A considered that 70-80% of the inward migration resulting from development would be of people in the 65+ age group. We know from anecdotal evidence of the strong demand for retirement villages in the Cotswolds, and that developers of open-market assisted living and care homes would view Charlbury, with its facilities, public transport links and service-centre role, as a prime location. There would however be no guarantee that existing residents would obtain places in such developments, and the likely result of encouraging their construction would be to further unbalance the town’s demography. I think this needs to recognised and accepted as the likely consequence of Policy CH10. The alternative would be restrict Policy CH10 to “granny flats” and socially-rented assisted-living provision, such as that provided by some community housing trusts.

Our Reply

Comment acknowledged. Policy CH10 and supporting text have been amended to make it clear that such development must meet the needs of those currently living within the parish or with local connections.


Jeffrey West

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Appendix A is very clear and helpful. Section 5, on the other hand, is confused and contradictory.

Conclusion 2 of the Housing Need and Policy Analysis makes it clear that there is currently no identified need for for any further open-market housing, nor likely to be for some time. This needs to be reflected in Policy CH1, which opens the possibility of open-market housing if it meets the “goals and objectives” of the Plan (where are the “goals” identified?), or if it is necessary for a mixed-tenure development to be viable, or if only a single dwelling is proposed. (Paragraph 5.3.3 reads like special pleading and I would have thought is unlikely to be approved.) Policy CH2 by talking of new developments being “predominantly” affordable also opens the possibility of open-market housing; it might be better to have an explicit policy of restricting open-market housing to mixed-tenure developments that are predominantly affordable and where the open-market element is essential to their viability. Policy CH3 implies that social rented housing is to be preferred to “lower-cost housing” even though Appendix A (unnumbered paragraph on p.70) makes it clear that the emphasis should be on “intermediate” or “low cost” homes rather than social rented. I have put in a separate comment below my concerns about Policy CH10.

Our Reply

Comments noted. Policies CH1, CH2 and CH3 have been amended for clarification and are believed to reflect Appendix A as afar as is acceptable within the constraints of compliance with national and local policy.


Jeffrey West

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

This section confuses and contradicts the body of the Plan. It would be better replaced by an Executive Summary.

This section identifies a number of detailed objectives, some of which (such as retaining public transport links or supporting the Primary School) are not in the gift of a Neighbourhood Plan, and some of which could be read as policies overriding or contradicting those in the rest of the Plan. For example, would any development that sought to reduce carbon emissions (such as a windfarm) necessarily be supported? It would be better to include explicit policies (including those on climate change) in the body of the Plan, and to replace this section with an Executive Summary that accurately reflects what the Plan actually says.

Our Reply

Comments noted.


Jeffrey West

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy NE7: LGS15 (Land west of Grammar School Hill) should have the river as its western boundary, not the railway.

The rationale and comment supporting the proposed designation of land west of Grammar School Hill as Local Green Space follows the Character Assessment in identifying the view over Evenlode Valley from Grammar School Hill as one of the most important in the Cotswolds AONB. While it is clear that the CNP cannot designate land that lies outside the Plan area, the parish (and Plan) boundary runs along the river, and it is therefore unclear why the land between the railway and river has been excluded from the proposed designation. Although like the area to the east of the railway there is no public access, it is visible from the public footpath to North Lodge and from there forms a critical part of the green landscape setting of the town.

Our Reply

If this were to be included in the Local Green space LGS15 it would probably be regarded as an extensive tract of land and therefore not qualify for designation. The land is however included in the Evenlode valley blue/green corridor which recognises its importance.


Jeffrey West

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Comment on policy HE1: Undesignated field monuments and archaeological sites should also be on the Local List.

Local lists are not only used for historic buildings, but can also be used for other undesignated historic assets, including field monuments (which are visible in the landscape) and archaeological sites. In Charlbury, there is a strong case for locally listing the visible ridge-and-furrow and field boundaries that represent the medieval open fields north of the town (in particular, those in Glebelands that are also proposed as Local Green Space LGS16) and our two deserted medieval villages, Walcot (proposed as Local Green Space LGS17) and Cote, which, despite being ploughed in the 1980s, almost certainly retain archaeological evidence in pits and ditches.

Our Reply

Comments noted. The ridge and furrow field in Glebelands has now been added to the proposed Local List in Appendix D of the revised plan. The other sites mentioned are included in the Oxfordshire Historic Environment Record (HER) and therefore do not need to be included in the Local List. The description of the open countryside in Appendix C.3 also acknowledges these features.


Claire Wilding

Response type: SUPPORT

I strongly support this plan especially on housing and green space

Any further development should be in the interests of the town by providing affordable housing for families and working age people. We should not be ploughing up green space in the AONB to build large executive homes.

Our Reply

Thank you for your support. Your comments are very much in line with the aims and policies of the plan.


Claire Wilding

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy CH6: Strongly support this policy, too much green space has been wasted building million pound homes.

Our Reply

Comments noted. Thank you for your support.


Claire Wilding

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy CH1: Point about rushy bank being outside built up area maybe needs to be included in the policy itself

Our Reply

Policy NE3 clearly defines the acceptable building line to the west of the town into the Evenlode Valley. Further clarification regarding outlying developments is provided within section 5 in paragraph 5.3.4 (was 5.3.3).


Claire Wilding

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy NE7: Strongly support green spaces

I think the local green spaces are especially important to help promote biodiversity and manage flood risk, as well as making the town a pleasant place to live and providing opportunities for sport and exercise.

Our Reply

Thank you for your support.


Claire Wilding

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy ECT14: Strongly support, the traffic situation outside school is dangerous and a nightmare.

I would also like to see a community aspiration to have a crossing outside school. While the lollipop lady is there at 9 and 3, many children (and adults) are crossing the Slade here at other times of day and it can be very dangerous.

Our Reply

Suggestion noted. This is covered by Community Aspiration 7.


Claire Wilding

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy CH3: Clarify meaning of “proposals which include lower cost housing”

I read this policy as referring to development containing a mix of affordable and lower cost housing. I don’t think it means development of market housing which includes some lower cost housing. However this is not totally clear. To be clear I don’t think it should include development which is a mix of market and affordable housing.

Our Reply

Comments noted. We do not consider that it is consistent with local and national policy to totally rule out other development. However, this policy does make it clear that such policies must be in accord with other policies within the plan include CH1.


Claire Wilding

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy NE8: Strongly support and this is also important for mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Slowing down surface water run off will become more important as climate change leads to an increase in extreme rainfall events, so this policy should also refer to the declaration of a climate emergency.

Our Reply

Comments noted. Substantial revisions have been made throughout the plan including policy NE8 in recognition of the climate emergency.


Claire Wilding

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy CH2: Make clear that in addition to being affordable as defined in NPPF should ALSO be affordable in perpetuity

I read the policy as meaning that in addition to being “affordable” as defined under NPPF any development must also be affordable in perpetuity. Does this need to be made even clearer? The NPPF definition of affordable is quite weak really.

Our Reply

Policy CH2 already includes the phrase “… and will remain affordable for future eligible households”. This matter is also addressed by policy CH5.


James Williams

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy ECT9: ECT9 doesn’t address need for pedestrian priority on Charlbury roads where there is clear danger for pedestrians.

One of the stated objectives of Aim 2 of the Plan is – To promote more safe cycling and walking within Charlbury. Unfortunately, I believe the plan fails to identify initiatives that could achieve of this objective. Much of the character and attractiveness of Charlbury town centre arises from the narrow streets directly fronted by historic buildings. This offers the opportunity to provide road surface treatments and street furniture that enhances the historic character of the town centre. It also offers the opportunity to provide ‘shared space, for vehicular traffic, cycles and pedestrians. Apart from the heritage benefits that comprehensive planning of town centre street spaces would bring, experience elsewhere has shown that shared road space automatically causes motorists to reduce speed and improves pedestrian safety. It is accepted that the County Highways Authority appears unsympathetic to such measures in the County, with lack of available funding being the reason given. However, I still believe this is an objective that should be identified in a Plan covering the period up to 2031. It is reasonable to assume that the County will over time be shamed into adopting a more balanced approach to transport needs. For the purposes of illustration, I identify one particular part of the road network (there are others), where there is major and unnecessary conflict with motor vehicles and consequent danger for pedestrians – Pound Hill between the river and Nine Acres Lane. The problem has been recognised through the recent provision of a separate off-road route for ramblers, but this does not obviate the need to make on-road provision safer for local residents. There is inadequate space to provide a separate footpath on Pound Hill, but it would be a simple and inexpensive matter to provide a green tarmac strip on the uphill right-hand side indicating that cars must move over if any pedestrians are present. Such markings are common in many European countries, and absolute standard practice in Holland. Furthermore, the highway principle is the same as with zebra pedestrian crossings, which have been fully understood and accepted by all road users in the UK for decades. I would hope that the Charlbury community through the Neighbourhood Plan could press for a more enlightened and balanced approach to transport planning in the town.

Our Reply

Thank you for your detailed and well informed comments and suggestions, which are acknowledged and noted. Options for shared space and other innovative improvements to street space within the town centre featured within the 2016 town survey and whilst there was some support for such measures, this was by no means a majority view and there was a significant level of opposition. On this basis we did not feel justified to include such a scheme explicitly in a statutory Neighbourhood Plan. However, as part of the separate Community Action Plan the matter was explored further and a recommendation was made to the town council for a further study be commissioned. This is reflected in the Town Council’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan included as Appendix B to the draft Neighbourhood Plan. Therefore, these options remain under consideration by the Town Council Traffic Working Group and your comments are noted to inform this.


James Williams

Response type: OBJECT

Comment on policy ECT2: ECT2 should be split into two separate policies – employment throughout town, and acceptable development within town centre

Employment and Local Services A separate policy covering employment uses and local services throughout the town could read: “Premises used for employment and provision of local services will be retained and proposals for changes of use to such premises will be resisted in line with Local Plan 2031 Policy E5. Where an employment use is not viable and a residential use is proposed, this must provide lower-cost accommodation likely to be affordable to households on the average local wage.” Town Centre Policy The town centre is an important and distinctive asset of the town, as indicated by the first stated objective of Aim 4 of the Plan – To prioritise the town centre and support existing businesses and services. An effective policy for promoting and protecting the town centre needs first to define the policy area. Based on physical characteristics and building uses, I suggest – Market St to Larcums / Pharmacy; Sheep St east side only to Bayliss Yard; and Church St south side to The Bell. The problems of retailing are well known. However, the following national trends also need to be borne in mind (and circumstances could change in the future): • There has recently been some swing away from shopping in large supermarkets and reversion to use of small shops, particularly specialist shops: • There has been a significant growth of eating and drink establishments in town centres, which now play an important role in maintaining the viability of many centres: • A change to residential use of a property is unlikely to reversible in the future, even if a demand for commercial uses returns. A particular problem in Charlbury town centre is vacant premises, some of which have been left unkempt and are an eyesore, which is damaging to the image of the centre as a whole and could deter future investment in the centre. I believe that a policy for the town centre should encourage all commercially active uses at ground level (not just retail), and should encourage ground level frontages having visual interest. The range of uses should include retail, eating/drinking, a wide range of local professional and community services, gallery and window displays, studios, and many employment uses. It may be appropriate somewhere in the Plan to define uses that qualify as ‘commercially active’. Specific uses / proposals must of course be subject to no infringement of other environmental policies and standards. The policy could read: “Ground floor premises used for commercially active uses will be encouraged and proposals for changes of use to such premises will be resisted in line with Local Plan 2031 Policy E5. Where a ground level ‘commercially active’ use is not viable and a residential use is proposed, this must provide lower-cost accommodation likely to be affordable to households on the average local wage. In particular, existing accommodation above and behind retail premises must be retained and changes of use that convert flats into large residential properties will not be supported.”

Our Reply

Thank you for your detailed comments which are acknowledged and noted. Much debate has been had about where the boundaries lie around what might be called the “Town Centre”. Although the town centre boundaries are not formally designated, there is a general informal understanding of the historic centre which roughly aligns with your comments. We believe this flexible approach to be in the best interests of the town avoiding arbitrary distinctions and recognising the requirement for convenient services of those living remotely from the town centre. Section 6.2 of the draft plan, and Policy ECT2 in particular, aim to address the issues you mention in a flexible way. Some changes have been made to policy ECT2 and supporting text to provide additional clarification.


William Wood

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy NE7: The preservation of lgs8, the station field, is absolutely critical.

The report perfectly captures the significance of lgs8 in a number of different contexts from the point of view of landscape, flood plain and Evenlode green corridor. For us commuters out heart lifts as we emerge into those green spaces on our return home. I have seen an otter in the river beside the town bridge within the last year. Egrets visit and fish in the Evenlode beside the station field. This is a fragile but critical space.

Our Reply

Agreed.


William Wood

Response type: SUPPORT

Comment on policy CH1: As noted at 5.3.3 Rushy Bank must not be a trojan horse for wider development behind or around the station.

The area beyond the river towards and around the station is beautiful but fragile. Further development will destroy it. For us commuters out heart lifts as we emerge into those green spaces on our return home. I have seen an otter in the river beside the town bridge within the last year. Egrets visit and fish in the Evenlode beside the station field.

Our Reply

Agreed. The acceptable building line is clearly defined in Policy NE3. In addition, paragraph 5.3.4 (was 5.3.3) makes it very clear that outlying elements such as the station complex or the Rushy Bank development will not be regarded as part of the built-up area for future planning purposes.


Jayne Woodley

Response type: SUPPORT

I welcome this plan as a valuable community resource and great statement of intent for future reference.

More options to be considered regarding housing affordability e.g. affordability in perpetuity can be achieved by holding land within a community land trust and linking rental either to % of income or purchase on only on build costs. An aspiration could be for Charlbury to become a pioneer in piloting many different housing options that would make it an attractive place for all ages. A fitting legacy of the neighbourhood plan and for all those involved in its production who have given their time and talent to delivery of its many pages!

Our Reply

Thank you for your comments and support which are noted and welcome. Options such as Community Land Trusts have been considered but, to date, no suitable land has become available. Provision of homes affordable and attractive to all ages and to a wide demographic, remains a clear aspiration of the community as clearly demonstrated by the aims of the draft plan. The Town Council notes your suggestions for possible future consideration.


Christopher Wray

Response type: GENERAL COMMENT

Water capture be mandatory on all new buildings. Affordable housing remain affordable no extending.

With the future in mind all new housing should have water capture systems, reducing flooding in times of plenty and saving for use in times of little. These systems would have little financial impact if installed at time of build. Be assured that water will become more not less expensive the benefit will be not only be a green win but money in the pocket They should be part of the condition prior to any planning consent. Affordable homes existing and new should not be given permission to extend as this can easily turn an affordable home into a none affordable one. The plan speaks of a rise in the age group of Charlbury initiating a rise in the requirement for care, care workers need housing, it should be quite easy to to plan this requirement in to all future housing plans.

Our Reply

Policy NE8 and the supporting text have now been strengthened with regard to flood-risk avoidance and water quality management. Your comments regarding home extensions are well understood and acknowledged. A general ban on extensions to affordable homes would not be acceptable or proportionate but this plan seeks to address the issue by other means. Policy CH3 requests that lower-cost homes should remain affordable in perpetuity. Policy CH6 seeks the highest possible proportion of smaller homes in compensation for home extensions and Policy CH8 actively encourages subdivision of existing dwellings to create smaller units.