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Timetable for the Local Plan

SODC have recently published a new version of the Local Development Scheme

This provides a timetable for the next phase of the Local Plan:

There will now be a NEW ROUND of Public Consultation on a revised Local Plan in January 2019 prior to its submission to the Secretary of State in March 2019.

SCGB understands that the result of the re-assessment currently being undertaken by Officers will be released in December 2018 at which point there will be meetings of the SODC Scrutiny committee and Cabinet  before a vote is taken by Full Council.

The Examination by an independent Inspector should be between March and September 2019

SODC hopes to adopt the plan in November 2019.

Under this timetable SODC will have to meet the tests of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and its strengthening of Green Belt protection.  See ‘Green Belt and Government Policy’ for further details

Government’s revisions to National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

On 24 July 2018, following public consultation, the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, announced the publication of the Government’s revisions to National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

See link below:

Of particular interest to Save Culham Green Belt are the statements in the announcement that:

‘Whilst giving councils real flexibility to make the most of their existing brownfield land, the revised framework makes sure they exhaust all other reasonable options for development before looking to alter a Green Belt boundary.

The government has more explicitly outlined the protection of the Green Belt in England, explaining the high expectations and considerable evidence that would be needed to alter any boundary.’

The direct link to a pdf of the complete NPPF is here:

Direct link

Section 13, paras 133-147 are specific to Green Belt.

See our page ‘Green Belt and Government Policy’ for more details.

South Oxfordshire District Council will have to reflect this new policy in their Local Plan, currently undergoing re-assessment.

Proposal agreed for ALL sites to be reassessed!

On 15th May  the Full Council meeting of South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) voted 19 to 5 (with two abstentions) to agree the proposal from the new Cabinet to reassess  ALL sites.  So the Local Plan is coming back to the drawing board!

Representatives of Save Culham Green Belt have spoken at the Cabinet and Full Council meetings in March and May and have consistently urged councillors to re-consider and revise the plan so this is good news.

All sites capable of performing a ‘strategic or regeneration role’, FIFTEEN IN TOTAL will be re-assessed. That is:

Those in the current draft:

  1. Culham
  2. Chalgrove
  3. Berinsfield
  4. Wheatley

Plus those previously considered but not progressed:

  1. Thornhill
  2. Wick Farm
  3. Lower Elsfield
  4. Grenoble Rd
  5. land at Great Western Park,


11. Northfields

AND sites submitted by developers late in the process:

  1. Emmer Green, Reading
  2. Reading Golf Club
  3. Playhatch at Reading
  4. Land off Thame Rd, North Weston

The date for submitting the revised draft Local Plan to the Secretary of State would be Jan 2020.

The PROVISO is that this is subject to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirming that submission in January 2020 would not significantly impact on the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal.  If that were the case SODC  would aim to submit the Plan as it currently stands, with Culham and Chalgrove still in, but with additional reserve site/s in the event that Chalgrove is not deliverable.  Naturally we hope and trust that this will not be the case.  July 2018 was mentioned as the date by which this would be known.

It is anticipated that there will be at least another two rounds of public consultation. Save Culham Green Belt will be on hand to help and we will hold  further public meetings when we know what the proposals are with regard to Culham.  We cannot say currently what these will be but we are, of course, urging strongly for SODC to reconsider taking land out of Green Belt in Culham to build an unsustainable town in our midst.

Fingers crossed!

Here is the link to the press release on SODC’s website:

Prime Minister Vows to Protect Green Belt

“We are not faced with a zero-sum choice between building the homes people need and protecting the open spaces we treasure”

On 5th March Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech on housing which vows to solve the ‘housing crisis’ but protect Green Belt

Here is a link to her speech:

Culham on Channel 4 News

On 5th March, the day of the Prime Minister’s speech on housing, Culham featured on Channel 4 News.  Here is the clip Channel 4 have allowed us to use:

Consultation on revisions to NPFF

Central Government have announced a Public Consultation on revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework. These aim to strengthen the protection of Green Belt (see particularly Chapter 13):

Latest Update – March


Villagers will be interested to know that South Oxfordshire District Council has not yet submitted the Local Plan to the Secretary of State for independent ‘Examination in Public’ as intended.

Instead there is to be a special Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 20th March to discuss ‘the next steps’.

The Cabinet meeting has been called because the other strategic site, in Chalgrove where 3000 houses are also planned, may be ‘undeliverable’ because of a long lease on the airfield by an international company, Martin Baker Aircraft Company Ltd, who develop, supply and test ejector seats. There are also concerns about the ‘infrastructure challenges’ and SODC have sought legal advice.

The Cabinet will decide whether to submit the Local Plan as it is or whether to add an additional site/s in which case further studies will be required and the Plan will need to be revised. There would then need to be a further round of Public Consultation (on the new site only).

Save Culham Green Belt / Culham Parish Council will be seizing this opportunity and have registered to attend and speak at the Cabinet meeting to urge councillors to revisit the Plan completely and remove the proposal of building 3500 houses in Culham on circa 250 hectares of Green Belt with even more severe infrastructure constraints.  We will keep you updated. 

A very helpful member of the village has performed a detailed review which identifies the reason for John Cotton’s claim, made on TV, public meetings and documents that there were more people in favour of building in Culham than those against.  The review shows that 93 people (over half the ‘supporters’) simply copied and pasted identikit responses from the ‘Sample Answers’ provided on the Chalgrove campaign’s website. No doubt many more from that area will have also registered support in their own words. SODC has the addresses of respondents and will know that the supporters are not people in Culham or nearby, but are campaigners desperate not to have development on their patch, yet Cllr Cotton represented it publicly as local support for the Culham proposal. We plan to raise this issue formally.

(SCGB was not formed back in May and hence no contact was made between the campaign groups proposing respect of respective aims.)


The consultation is now closed. Culham Parish Council has submitted its objection which included reports SCGB had commissioned on the Environmental Impact, Transport Assessment flaws and contraventions of national planning policy as regards development in Green Belt.  We will be closely monitoring the process from here and are ready to act again should there be a Planning Committee Meeting.  Again we will keep you updated.


Government has endorsed the National Infrastructure Commission’s proposal that there should be a new Expressway (a Motorway in all but name) connecting the M4 South of Oxford to the M11 near Cambridge, linked to the proposal to build another million houses along the route by 2050, 300,000 of which could be built in Oxfordshire.  Impact on the whole County will be transformational.

From Milton Keynes to Cambridge, the Expressway would upgrade existing roads.  But from the M4 to Milton Keynes, Highways England is looking at two alternatives, although it is keeping details secret. One is to upgrade the existing A34/M40/A421 roads to expressway standard.  The other is to build a completely new Expressway leaving the A34 and heading east, somewhere between Didcot and Kennington, before turning towards Thame and Aylesbury.  This would be a totally new road through open countryside that is largely Green Belt.

CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) Oxfordshire has asked for our support in calling for a Public Inquiry on the route proposed. Both SCGB and Culham Parish Council have written to our MP, John Howell and to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport pressing for a Public Inquiry.

There is a campaign group called Oxfordshire Expressway Action Group, and they are on Facebook if you would like to find out more.

** BREAKING NEWS ** John Cotton has quit as leader of the Tory party on the Council

John Cotton has quit as leader of the Tory party on the Council after being threatened with a motion of no confidence by fellow councillors. He remains (for how long?) Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC).

Read more:

Extension to consultation re “Project Swift” Activity/Camping Centre

Please note that Culham Parish Council has successfully requested an extension to the consultation period on this application for a huge outdoor Centre on 94.5 hectares of quickly disappearing Green Belt. The deadline is now Monday 26 February 2018. 

Save Culham Green Belt urges people to make their responses by one of the two methods:

1. Click the Comment button on the Council’s webpage which can be accessed by the link below:

2. Sending an email to :  and making sure to quote the application reference: P17/S4416/FUL and give your name and address.


There are lot of application documents but the two main documents, if you wish to consult them, are:

  1. Design and Access Statement
  2. Visitor Experience (which is Appendix E of Travel Assessment 4 – yes, it takes some finding!

Save Culham Green Belt’s Campaign Included in BBC Programme!

As many will know,  the BBC have been filming in Culham regarding the SODC Local Plan to build 3,000 houses and Save Culham Green Belt’s campaign.  We now know that the first programme, featuring Culham, will air on Wednesday 31 January at 21:00 on BBC2.  The programme is ominously called: ‘The Big Builds are Coming: Battle in the Countryside’. 

It will be available on BBC iPlayer after airing:

This is what the Preview says:

How do you mend the broken housing market? The country needs to build 300,000 homes a year just to keep up with demand. In this series, film-maker Richard Macer heads to one of our most expensive counties, Oxfordshire, where vast areas of once-protected countryside are being turned into housing. With remarkable access to councillors, developers, architects and campaigners, and filmed over nine months, Richard asks if building these vast estates is a solution to the crisis.

In episode one, Macer explores the controversial decision by the government to free up the green belt to developers. In the tiny charming village of Culham, he finds residents furious at plans to supersize their village to three and a half thousand new homes. But just a few weeks after the announcement of the new estate, sinister developments start to grip the small community. Has little Culham become the centre of a gold rush?

In the second film, Macer is on the other side of the fence, with the architects and the developers who are changing the face of rural Britain, with the people trying to create a sense of community from scratch, and the pioneers making these new mini-Utopias their homes. As one architect of a new development next to the village of Long Hanborough puts it: ‘No one has a right to a view -unfortunately. Things change, and we have to get used to that in Britain.’

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