Bioabundance Community Interest Company has now filed its case with the High Court for statutory review of SODC’s Local Plan.
THIS IS NOW OUR LAST CHANCE to challenge, stop or change this hugely destructive Plan and Robert Jenrick’s intervention in our local planning.
Bioabundance need to raise an initial £10,000 within days and are actively seeking donations; they have set up an appeal on Crowdjustice:
Do consider taking swift action and making a donation, however modest.
(It is very easy to do: click the link above, decide the amount you wish to donate and enter your name and credit/debit card details. It is a pledge at this stage, with the amount taken from your card if the fundraising target is reached).
**Please also share the link on Facebook/Twitter or via email by following the easy path offered on the Crowdjustice site**
Next steps: Bioabundance now wait to hear if the court will accept it, and for the cost order under the Aarhus Convention.*
(*There may be some delay (as background Cherwell Development Watch Alliance (CDWA) launched their legal challenge to the partial Cherwell District Council plan in October and are still waiting to hear).
This is the Press Release that was sent out:
High Court case filed against South Oxfordshire District Council
On the 21st January 2021 Bioabundance Community Interest Company (“Bioabundance”) filed in the High Court for statutory review of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan.
Bioabundance is challenging the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 on the grounds of climate change, improper pressure put on councillors to adopt the plan, and excessive and incorrectly calculated housing numbers.
The Local Plan, which allocates areas for housing development, was forced through the Council by interventions from the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. This was against the will of newly-elected councillors who sought to withdraw the plan and start on a new one with climate change at its heart.
“This is a pioneering action by Bioabundance, and our last chance to put our environment before housebuilder profit in South Oxfordshire. This is the first time a local plan has ever been challenged because of our climate and ecological crisis.” Dr Sue Roberts, Bioabundance Chair
Legal advice for this important environmental challenge has come from lawyers with a successful track-record, such as working with Plan B and Friends of the Earth on the climate challenge of Heathrow’s 3rd runway (since overturned).
“We thank our excellent legal team for filing this claim and supporting our urgent action which responds to climate breakdown and the collapse of the natural world”, Dr Sue Roberts
“Local community groups, some of whom have fought this plan for years, are now joining Bioabundance and are delighted that this action is being brought forward” Ian Ashley Bioabundance Treasurer
Communities all over South Oxfordshire are worried about this plan, and are joining with Bioabundance to challenge it as it:
- will be catastrophic for an already massively-weakened natural ecosystem
- will increase carbon emissions markedly in the district
- will destroy the countryside and our part of the Green Belt around Oxford
- provides four times the number of homes that can even be filled, based on current trends (see household projections from the Office for National Statistics, and com/@ecomorph)
“This action is particularly important for South Oxfordshire itself. The Local Plan is incompatible with Council’s April 2019 declaration of a climate emergency, and its target for the district to be zero carbon by 2030,” Dr Amanda Griffin, Bioabundance Member
Notes to Editors
- Bioabundance Community Interest Company is the campaigning arm of South Oxfordshire Sustainability, itself founded in 2011; it works to protect and restore wildlife in South Oxfordshire and has many projects on the go.
- Bioabundance has over 30 members, including parishes and individual campaign groups.
- South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035
- If the public wish to donate funds to support this legal action, they can donate here:
There has been some good national press coverage so far:
28 January / The Guardian*
28 January / BBC News*
*CLARIFICATION ON HOUSING NUMBERS
Some of you may be confused by the bewildering differences in figures quoted in various articles. I thought it would be helpful to throw some light on this major issue (which is in the Local Plan document if you know where to look, Table 5c, Page 88). I will set this out below:
Committed components: 16,360
made up of:
Houses already built in the plan period (which although only just adopted runs from 2011 until 2035): 7,178
Sites under construction / with planning already granted: 9,182
New components (and the figure SODC are cunningly citing): 13,696
made up of:
New strategic sites (e.g. Culham the largest @ 3500, Berinsfield 1700, Northfields, Bayswater Brook: 11,785
Grenoble Road, Wheatley & Chalgrove)
Neighbourhood Development Plans: 454
Neighbourhood Development Plans outstanding: 211
Nettlebed allocations: 46
Windfall allowance: 1,200
TOTAL (in plan period to 2035): 30,056
TOTAL including 2815 houses delivered beyond 2035 by the strategic site like Culham: 32,871
▪ Office of National Statistics (ONS) assessed housing need in South Oxfordshire is 556 houses per year which would be: 13,344 for the 24 year period 2011-2035.
▪ SODC use out of date figures from 2014 of 627 houses per year
▪ Then, because of a Growth Deal with Government and all Oxfordshire councils, they inflate this to 775 per year
▪ Then they add 4950 as South Oxfordshire’s share of houses for Oxford City who say they cannot build within their boundary …
This brings the assessed need to 23,550 homes.
BUT it is the excess and buffer (32,871 allowed for in the plan instead of 23,550) that is the major cause for concern.
We do not question that affordable housing, in reasonable numbers, and in sensible brownfield places/urban areas are needed.
We need to protect our green spaces, our climate and air quality and our endangered nature.