Village gets more say over planning

MHBG-04-04-13 Michael Gibbard''Cllr Michael Gibbard
MHBG-04-04-13 Michael Gibbard''Cllr Michael Gibbard

Villagers in Stratton Audley near Bicester have won a greater say over developments within their parish boundary after their neighbourhood plan was accepted by Cherwell District Council (CDC).

A formal application for a Stratton Audley Neighbourhood Area was approved by members of CDC’s executive group at a meeting last week.

The new planning powers, introduced under the Localism Act 2011, lets town and parish councils have more of a say over how their communities will change and develop in the future.

Speaking at the meeting last Monday, Councillor Michael Gibbard, CDC’s lead member for planning, said: “Communities can identify a neighbourhood development area develop their own planning policies, leading to a neighbourhood development plan for the area.”

But he said parish councils would not be given a “clear run” to do as they pleased, adding: “Such development plans do have to conform with the local authority’s Local Plan.

“It has to be supported by the local authority, and has to be approved by referendum in that neighbourhood.”

CDC leader, Councillor Barry Wood, said: “The Neighbourhood Plan, as a concept, has come a long way since it was first mooted in publicity surrounding the Localism Act.

“Some people thought at first it was a way to stop things in their neighbourhood.

“In fact, it’s the direct opposite of that – it’s a way to facilitate what does happen.”