Planning for housing need

housing need
At North East Abingdon Community Centre this evening there was a second exhibition by the developers CEG who are planning to build 900 homes on fields north of Abingdon.
housing need
There were display boards to peruse, and questionnaires to fill in. The board also gave some feedback on what people have been saying at the first exhibition.
housing need
People appeared most concerned about good road infrastructure.

This comes at a time when the leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council is looking to put more housing into the local plan. He said yesterday, talking about unmet Oxford City housing need, “The work carried out by the Oxfordshire Growth Board has apportioned 2,200 of this unmet need to the Vale of White Horse district. Today I agreed that figure on behalf of the Vale and the Council will now work to address this as we develop our work on Local Plan Part 2“. So it is quite possible some of those 2,200 houses could be for Abingdon.

55 thoughts on “Planning for housing need

  1. Daniel

    By what mandate does Matthew Barber agree these figures on our behalf? Perhaps half of those 2200 houses could be built in “Steventon and The Hanneys”, which is *his* ward?

    It would be interesting to know how robustly he probed and clarrified and questioned those figures from the Oxfordshire Growth Board, before he accepted this on our behalf.

    Please can someone tell us, on my behalf, just how easily or begrudgingly he accepted this on our behalf?

    On whose behalf does the Oxfordshire Growth Board serve or represent?

    On whose behalf will these houses, accepted on our behalf actually benefit?

    On whose behalf did the Oxfordshire Growth Board get or base its figures on?

    What if those figures are wrong?

    Is Matthew Barber going to be accountable to us, on the council’s behalf, if these houses are detrimental to us rather than beneficial.

    On behalf of the put upon residents of Abingdon, I think Matthew’s a bit of a twit.

    Still, the flowers have looked lovely this year. And, in these days of austerity, it was reassuring to see the flowers being dumped and chucked… Rather than, say, given away for free to residents who could make use of the shrubs and bulbs. I guess it’s not their money they’re composting, it’s ours, so why should they worry.

  2. Julian Annells

    Why bother having the meetings? This is a forgone conclusion…palms have been greased..brown envelopes passed under the table… Like so many of the idiotic decisions that are made “on our behaf” that is the only conclusion that you can draw… No one benefits apart from the big developer who doesn’t give a stuff about the detriment to the town and the welfare of the people in it..he doesn’t live here so won’t bother him.. Likewise the councillors and officers who rubber stamp these ideas…(nimmo-smith in his ivory tower in Henley, springs to mind!). When arevwe going to stand up to these corrupt idiots and get someone who actually CARES about Abingdon!

  3. Janet

    Abingdon has been sold out as far as traffic is concerned. I sat for half an hour trying to get down the Drayton Road and this is after all the deception about moving the crossing in Ock Street should alleviate traffic on the Drayton Road. If people think that the diamond interchange will be built before the housing development they are very much mistaken. It is a done deal.

  4. newcomer

    The Vale’s politicians decide who takes what portfolio. It’s a party stitch-up and the Abingdon representatives either don’t get a look-in, or are just poodles to the party line. If you’re not a party clone then you’re sidelined.

    The voters’ views don’t matter as Tammany Hall grinds on.

    I’m just waiting for the Nicola-badged column in The Herald to carry a photograph of her in floods of crocodile tears as she boo-hoos for The Party.

  5. Daniel

    DavidofLuton, that is of course a fair point and one I realise. There wasn’t a whole lot of choice really, when we all ‘voted’, was there…both the orange team and the blue team have a pretty dire record when it comes to Abingdon. I can’t really even remember what bad option versus what bad option we had the choice between. But even then, as has been said, such decisions as this are made by “cabinet”; and there is no voice (that is heard) on that cabinet that adequately represents Abingdon. I guess that it is that same cabinet that elects the council Leader too? Or is that down to our more local representatives? Either way, I don’t remember anyone being given a mandate to “do what they want”. Or to do what they want without any accountability? I think we deserve some visibility and reasoning for Matthew’s decision – that he made on our behalf. Was he “told” to accept it on our behalf? Or does he think he knows best and what is good for us – on our behalf? Why is he doing what Oxford Growth Board say? Who are they, and why do they hold any sway over the decisions that he makes – on our behalf?

    You’ll have to forgive me, as I am a gullible, racist, homophobic, unintelligent, brexiter – and, according to yesterday’s meeeaaadya, am also poor. But one of the bitter pills that we were having stuffed down our lazy, stupid, gullible, bile filled gullets by the very intelligent, rational, educated, enlightened, Waitrose shopping, intelligentsia a mere few weeks ago was that, any moment now…thousands, and THOUsands and THOUSANDS of people are about to lose their jobs in this part of country now that we are casting ourselves adrift from the rest of the universe whilst we pick our asparagus ourselves (for Waitrose, no doubt). Anyway, with that in mind – oh, and also the imminent plunging of the housing market in to an almighty post-brexit abyss for decades to come, it cannot surely, be beyond the wit of man – or even councillors, to question the housing figures that we are having foist upon us. Matthew may have a ‘mandate’. But he also has a responsibility to ensure due diligence has been paid to the figures he is swallowing, and the decisions he makes based on them – on our behalf.

  6. ppjs

    Most voters don’t give any one a mandate. It is a weasel word, beloved by politicians of all stripes.We should ditch it.

    Even if you belong to a political party, it is unlikely that you agree with every word that everyone else in the party utters.

    At an election we are offered a wish-list – and not much more. Until those elected are in office they don’t know for sure what resources are available to implement their pipe dreams. And they are, as Harold MacMillan famously remarked, subject to “events”.

    For as long as we believe that the words in a manifesto are solemn contracts, we will be disappointed. Politicians, like the rest of us, muddle through.

  7. newcomer

    Agreed ppjs, but given a choice between retaining an all-expenses sinecure in the political hierarchy won through unwavering loyalty to the party versus keeping promises to the electorate the former will always prevail. Anything that crops up between elections that doesn’t involve a previous promise to the electorate is a conscienceless freebie for most politicians.

    We may all muddle through, but most of us do so in the Real World. Politicians do so in The Land Without Consequences.

  8. Daniel

    I do NOT believe that words in manifestos are solemn contracts; and I’m still disappointed.

    (Except when they are written on the sides of busses. I’ll believe anything written on a bus – All brexiters believe anything written on a bus. That’s how all stupid people get know everything).

  9. Annabel

    Getting fed up of everyone always complaining about the Vale / OCC / Town Council etc etc (not that I think either party is doing a good job – but it is not easy either) Why not stand for election to one of them and get stuck in to help our town?
    (I realise how hypocritical I am saying that, as I’m not willing to stand myself, but the Councils need new blood I’m sure)

  10. Captainkaos2

    Annabel, it’s ok, everything in the garden will be rosy because in Corbyns closing speech he’s promised extra funding to areas welcoming immigrants ! All we need to is fill those 1000 new homes planed for north abingdon with asylum seekers and we’ ll be awash with money ! Job done eh?

  11. Julian Annells

    Too much apathy allows TPTB to get away with whatever they want…and we have to suffer the consequences of them making decisions “on our behalf”

  12. newcomer

    To succeed in politics it helps if you’re willing to sell your soul to a party machine. To really succeed it is easier to ingratiate yourself with the power-brokers in your party machine than to do a good job for your constituents.

    It is naive to believe otherwise.

  13. Captainkaos2

    Well it’s 9.30 am in south abingdon, traffic has been queued across the iron bridge and as far back to Saxton rd, my wife has just given up trying to get along the Drayton rd after queuing from the top of Caldecott for 20 mins , meanwhile the new BID manager has entered Abingdon for the best High st in the country competition, get a grip please and focus on the real problems Abingdon has and that’s the appalling traffic system !

  14. crispy p

    I read in the Herald that there is another consultation meeting for the CEG proposal this Sat at Trinity Church 11:00-16:00.

  15. Guy

    Failed town council , failed vale , failed county council all weak destroying the beautiful town of Abingdon !!! As for Hudspeth and Nimmo-smith ( OCC ) I bet Woodstock and Henley are safe from new housing !!! A disgrace !!

  16. Daniel

    Have to disagree again Iain; I don’t think Annabel is a hypocrite for wanting change but also being aware of her own limitations. I’m the same.

    What’s wrong with being unhappy about things?

    In any other job, failing to deliver, consistently, on the issues that effect Abingdon, would lead to some sort of disciplinary, or picked up in someone’s pdr for not meeting an SLA or even OLA. Or simply being bad at your job.

    We don’t, as the paying public, even know whose responsble, let alone what their job description is. What their key dovetailed are. Whether they are meeting targets. Whether we are getting good value. All we have is observation. All we can give is feedback.

    Failure on such a level SHOULD be spoken about; it certainly isn’t addressed where it should be – so what’s the alternative? Capitulate? Endorse such a dire status quo?

    Since when did failure, or inadequacy, or poor service, or mediocrity (if only we could achieve so high), or “things could be worse”, or “look on the bright side”, or plain and simple really bad value for money, become acceptable?

    Ten years I have now been here. In those ten years not one of the significant issues has been adequately addressed, and certainly not resolved. Arguably, the situation is getting worse.

    Still, look on the bright side….it won’t always be this bad….will it?

  17. Graham

    Daniel, I am sorry your opinions of Abingdon seem so depressed; “it won’t always be this bad….will it?”, but I just don’t recognise this in my experiences of being here. Have you identified anywhere else in the UK that does not have the undoubted issues that we do? Overcrowding, busy roads, houses being shoe-horned in everywhere etc? For all its imperfections, I like living in Abingdon and have lived in many other places no where near as nice. If you do know where the grass is greener, do please share!

  18. Daniel

    Graham, I absolutely don’t. I have lived in a fair few places too, and I am proud and pleased and relieved to call Abingdon my home. I am investing in the most substantial and significant and valuable way that there is – it is my home. It’s where I got married. It’s where I have had children. It is our home. My investment is my life, my children and our integration into this community. That’s the biggest investment anyone can be asked to make, and I am eager to make it!

    There are scenes in the town that are on postcards. The views of the Thames and the alms houses and St Helens Wharf are some of the most beautiful images of Britain I’ve seen. And that’s at the end of my road. Time it right (when the flowers are looking good, of course), and that scene can hold its own with any, anywhere. I feel privileged to have it on my doorstep. Ditto the heritage, and numerous other factors, sights, sounds and experiences that a square few hundred metres has to offer.

    But… Because other places have awful things (traffic, highstreets, lack of facilities)… We should too? That’s what you’re saying, it seems. Little old ladies get knocked over every day… so, what are your saying, let ours get run over too?

    I’m not really fussed how bad the traffic is in Brighton or Bolton. I don’t really care how effective, or inept the councillors are in Croydon or Carlisle….. but I am passionate about Abingdon. I truely believe that Abingdon thrives as best as it can *despite* those tasked with its management, not because of them. Personally I feel we deserve better. I don’t see why that is a bad thing.

    I don’t think it is to much to ask that if people are paid to ‘deliver’ on Abingdon, then we need to know by what measure that delivery is judged. And we can then judge them accordingly, and that judgement renders them accountable; doesn’t it?

    What service do you pay for in the rest of your life where you are happy to pay, but not receive what you expect? Is a cloudy pint acceptable? Happy for your car to be serviced with old oil and plugs? It’s ok to find a hair o6n your food?

    Which ills that infect our town do you feel are acceptable?

    Is it really that unreasonable to have hoped that the issues that were effecting Abingdon in 2005 (when I arrived here) may have been resolved by now – or at the very least on the horizon to be addressed?

    Continuing to pat people on the back for merely doing their job is all well and good, but that is simply an expectation on my part. That’s what they are paid to do. Good. I want them to continue to do their job, but they should also be addressing the weaknesses, and I think it is up to all of us to point those out, otherwise they may actually start to believe that everything is OK. Lots certainly is, but everything most certainly is not.

    This topic will drop off the first page soon. My fear is that in 10 years time, we’ll be having the same conversation.

  19. newcomer

    Tour de Force, Daniel, and a spot-on response to those without any ambition for the Town whose inertia keeps the tired, old Smug Club (the politicians) in place.

    I came to this Town about the same time as you and I believe it needs ‘new eyes’ to see that the population has become lulled into accepting ‘leadership’ that’s not even second class.

    We really need rid of The Vale stratum of local government and bureaucracy to radically reduce costs and an obstructive level of mutual back-slappers.

    At its heart, I strongly suspect, that a dark secret of local government is that it’s not got much authority over anything in which case we would best be shot of them.

  20. Janet

    What I do not like is the deception. The criteria for building the Morlands Garden development along the Drayton Road was to move the crossing in Ock Street. Consultants, (obviously hired by the developer), said that the Drayton Road could assimilate the extra 250 cars coming out of this development as moving the crossing would alleviate the traffic jam. Although all knew that this was rubbish and it would make no difference Nimmo Smith agreed to moving the crossing and thererfore gave the developers permission to build the houses. As predicted moving the crossing has made no difference to the traffic at all. It was all smoke and mirrors to accommodate the developer.

  21. hester

    Daniel (and not-so Newcomer) – I share many of your frustrations – where I differ is on what to do about them:
    Council officers are accountable to the elected Councillors so it is the latter who define priorities, targets etc. If the officers then don’t deliver those, the elected councils should take them to task.
    The issues you are complaining about are largely the responsiility of the District and County Councils:
    – The District Council has an “Abingdon and North East Area Committee” – details of membership, terms of reference, meetings etc are at Why not put your questions into a formal letter and send it to that Committee? Or exercise your right to make a statement or put questions to one of its meetings? They re required to respond to that.
    – I am less familliar with the County Council organisation/procedures but they are probably similar and you should be able to find them on their website. In this case however you have an additional option because there are County Council elections next year. At the very least you will have the opportunity to lobby and question candidates – and vote of course! However there is a recurrent theme on here about the need for new blood:on the Councils- here is an opportunity for some such new blood to come forward and show what they can do.
    Two more observations:
    Councillors do a lot more behind the scenes than people may be aware of:we see a few familiar faces over and over again in the papers, but these are the “front people” – there are others.who beaver away quietly, dealing with problems raised by their constituents and making some council services work quite effectively (sadly, we tend only to notice those that don’t). These people are not publicity or status-seekers, nor do they get paid for the hours they put in – they genuinely want to do good – I think it was them that Annabel was defending and I agree with her.
    And finally…there are practical things which those of us who dont want to be Councillors can do to help with some of the problems:- the Souh Abingdon Childrens centre campaign urgently needs people with business skills, schools need governors, youth groups need helpers etc etc – all ways of making our town a better place to live. And while you may dismiss that as the words of a hummus-eating Waitrose shopper (!) don’t forget that we didnt start out like that – it is not that long since some of us were in quite a similar position to you!

  22. Daniel

    Some fair points hester – I like hummus too.

    I did have dialogue with Nimmo-Smith for a bit; and I asked him directly for information relating to accountability and decision making, as well as consultancy (in relation to the double round-about crossings). He was quite blunt in telling me that if I want any info to make an FOI request.

    That is a good call about the “Abingdon and Northeast Area Committee”, thanks for that. Of course…one would surely expect this to all be being addressed already, wouldn’t we?

    On another matter…Is it merely a rumour that Beales is closing down?

  23. Captainkaos2

    Hi Hester, while accepting there are conduits we can use to challenge and complain (or even suggest) one gets somewhat fatigued by having to do so, surely the public would be better served if after the event decision makers realise or are respectfully reminded they’ve got it wrong they ought to be honourable enough to re-visit the issue and act accordingly?
    Abits is a classic example, when first implemented it bought Abingdon (and many businesses) to its knees, as you know I commissioned an indeoendent review, which by and large was ignored, Nicol Blackwood invited me to OCC HQ in Speedwell st to view the live, inter-active control screen which showed all the junctions and light activations in real time, I quizzed and cross examined staff who were operating the layout and they didn’t have a clue, in the end and after much public pressure Ian Hudspeth said, if asked by the then lib/dem majority town and district councils he would be prepared to reverse the entire system, but yet again public opinion was ignored, the two councils refused his offer and the rest is history, we have a town with a defunct traffic system that is holding us to ransom but no-one will grasp the nettle?
    Similarly the Old Gaol debarkke, why should it take an F O I request to find out how much we the tax payer got for our piece of silver? Why will it take another to find out if we’ve actually been paid?
    Moreland Garden, democracy totally ignored, and to what end? We have a junction that’s worse now than ever it was, with more traffic jams, not less as Nimmio Smith promised and that’s BEFORE the estate has been built! Now the idiots have marked out two bus stops, on the road ( no lay-bys) virtually opposite each other! will N S admit to getting it wrong? but more importantly will ge be care img enough to revisit the issue and try to resolve the issues?
    It’s not so much about mistakes being made or even darn right bad decisions, but it is about recognising when things go wrong as s result of such and then being brave enough to sort it out ?

  24. newcomer

    Dear hummus-eating Waitrose shopper ;0)

    I’m aware that there are/have been really good councillors working below the radar. Our esteemed backstreeter was one, but he seems to have lost faith in the political process, though this hasn’t stopped him being a great asset to the Town. He was cheated out of being a (much deserving) Mayor by someone a tad too pompous.

    The main problem is the photo-opportunity politicians … and how can you avoid knowing who they are? They come across as rent-a-quote windbags of little substance. I might be being unfair, but Matthew Barber seems the epitome.

    There is one local politician that I’ve seem ‘operating’ in meetings who fancies himself as a kinda Boss Tweed, but is a rather loud and crude bully. He’s an embarrassment to the Town.

    Perhaps, were the unsung councillors doing all the work to back off the useless ones could be left to swing.

  25. Daniel

    Please can I just clarify something; there’s nothing wrong with hummus.

    There’s an old Abingdon saying though; when it comes to how people view all these issues. From memory it goes something like this….

    “You don’t have to eat hummus around here, but if you do, it helps”.

  26. Rachel

    The town needs to think wild. I was listening to something on the radio about building more high rise buildings at the edges of cities to use less of the green belt.

    At the edge of Southampton flats were built in the 1960s with large rooms and large windows, shared gardens and individual garages. Developments of this kind need fewer roadways, have fewer fences, better sustainable green space and offer huge opportunities for solar energy generation that can be shared by all householders.

    I think it is time to get away from building lots of little houses with lots of walls, houses needing to be highly insulated to keep their inhabitants warm, with tiny allocated gardens surrounded by fences that will blow down, tarmac parking spaces in front of the houses and many little road branches needed to enable cars to reach each driveway.

    Developments of only 3 storeys high can provide many more spacious homes in a space than lots of little hutches.

  27. Annabel

    The aim of my comment was to possibly encourage people to put their money where their mouth is and consider standing for the council etc. If no-one stands against the established members, it won’t change. If you stand and get in you can start to influence and change things.

    I love the discussion – else I wouldn’t read it, but it’s all so pessimistic. The only positive thing said about our town is often ‘the flowers are lovely’ and that’s done with irony!

  28. Captainkaos2

    Here you go then Annabel, I was going to wait for backstreeter to do a feature on today’s exhibition of the proposed new housing development to the north of town to reveal this bombshell.
    “Someone” at the MOD told me last week that the MOD have just sold the old gliding club land (along Barrow rd, Shipon) to a developer and because it’s MOD land it has some planning dispensations, they plan to build 3500 houses there which would then render the northern plan unecessary because the Vales housing quota will be exceeded by the Shipon development !

  29. Neil Fawcett

    People are right to be angry.

    The decision to allow the crossing to go ahead was clearly flawed, but the County Council Cabinet made it anyway.

    The Oxfordshire Growth Board figures are clearly flawed. It is simply inconceivable that the number of houses in Oxfordshire will increase by 40% in 15 years – yet the Vale and County Council go along with it and all the bad decisions that flow from it.

    And it is not that this hasn’t been spelled out to them in meeting after meeting.

  30. Captainkaos2

    Just been to the exhibition at Trinity church hall and asked the staff there if they were aware of the Shipon MOD site that’s been sold to a developer? Yes they are was the answer ? and what of the 3500 houses they are proposing to build there? Best you ask the VWHDC was the answer !

  31. Jenny

    Being genuinely new to all this commenting and local government stuff, how exactly do we, as Abingdon residents go about getting some sort of explanation from those with the final say. Specifically in the case of the Drayton Road traffic situation, asking DSM at what point the queue will reduce to the levels he expected. I work in finance and any decision we make has to be considered in detail both before and after. Post implementation reviews are vital for business to ensure that mistakes aren’t made and if they are, that they are rectified where possible and never repeated. Is the same not true for local government?

  32. Daniel

    Annabel, I have often considered standing for council. The issue is two fold. Firstly, just because I am frustrated with the status quo, I am acutely aware of my limitations and so realise I may not be very good at it. Sometimes I wish others would pause and question their own abilities and capabilities. Wanting to do something is great. Wanting to do something but realising that it may be beyond your skills is equally ok. Having a higher opinion of yourself and your abilities and becoming part of the problem rather than the solution is bad. Sometimes NOT standing is a better decision than to stand…..

    Secondly, the only way that it would be of any use to actually stand, would be if “independents” stood for election in every Abingdon ward, indeed every Ward in The Veil. Arguably one of the biggest problems is that the various council’s have political agendas. And once those blue, or red, or orange seams of poison have entered your veins, there’s no way back as pretty soon you’ll realise your soul has been sold.

    So, independents all the way, with an agenda to sort Abingdon is the only way forwards. But your going to need about 23 of them to cover each ward.

    Having said that, my understanding of politics and local politics is limited, so what do i know. Then again… Not being tarnished by the political machine may actual be a good thing!

    Captain – that is truely worrying on numerous levels. Let us hope that the people in power who are abreast of this are there on merit…. Not for political reasons….

  33. Daniel

    Jenny, welcome to our world!

    I asked for that explanation – happy to send you what I have; if I can find it (happy for my email address to be passed on by backstreeter), but it didn’t make particularly good reading. Above and beyond that, the elected and accountable decision maker David Nimmo-Smith told me to make an FOI request, rather than confine out dialogue.

    I work with a heavily audited finance system too jenny. Pre and post considerations, value for money, mistake avoidance, rectifying, lessons learned etc. These are all business critical processes and carried out because of the previously mentioned audit.

    All of these things are in place because, in that, real world situation, people are accountable. Actions have consequences ill decision has repercussions.

    It is clear, from what ee see today, and what has come to pass and seen to be acceptable that all the above absolutely does not apply to local government.

  34. newcomer

    So, potentially 5700 houses to be built on the North side of Abingdon … do you think The Vale know anything of this?

    My guess is that this many houses wouldn’t get planning permission and the announcement by The Grinning Idiot that even more houses were being considered for North Abingdon tipped the hand of the Shippon/MOD/developers to announce their plans.

    Unless Abingdon is going to be comprehensively stitched up this could be quite amusing with various land owners, developers and (perhaps even) politicians having a less merry Christmas than they were looking forward to ….

    Unfortunately, Jenny, this is local politics as the long-suffering voters of Abingdon know it. I worked in a FMCG/Entertainment environment with direct responsibility for large budgets and if I’d done some of the ill-thought-out stuff of the type the politicians round here and their bureaucratic creatures have done my feet wouldn’t have touched the floor on my way out of the door.

    But you know politicians … lots of authority and no responsibility. It’s only other people’s money and if it comes to war you can always sent other people’s children. No moral compass.

  35. Daniel

    Just rereading the contents made by Matty Barber; “…He said yesterday, talking about unmet Oxford City housing need…..”

    Why are we, or The Veil having to meet Oxford City’s housing needs – there’s land aplenty round the city, why don’t they build on that?

    As we know, if Abingdon is now in line for 5700 new houses, which it surely is as this is the exact sort off thing we have no power over but developers do…. one has to ask the question; just how many more Turkish barbers are we going to have to have then!?

  36. newcomer

    Just to flag up that Abingdon First has sent in an FOI request to The Vale re. the Shippon development.

    It was Abingdon First that eventually managed to squeeze out of The Vale the truth about the Old Gaol debacle. That took so long that The Vale should be in The Guinness Book of Records for the amount of time an organization can sit on its hands.

    Hopefully, this time they’ll cut out a few coffee breaks and get on the case a lot quicker.

  37. Daniel

    Annabel, I’m just curious, Matthew Barber either didn’t know about the 3500 home development proposed on the MOD land – which suggests he is ill informed – which is pretty danming indictment for our glorious leader’s ineptitude – considering he likes to do so much on our behalf.


    He did know. Which then leaves us with all manor of questions regarding his leadership and his original statements and proposals if the 2000+ homes north of Abingdon.

    With this in mind, would you prefer it was bought to the public’s attention, or not? I can’t see anything positive. But please, let me know what they are!?

  38. newcomer

    Daniel, this is for you.

    From Matthew Barber’s Twit account circa 4:00 pm today:

    ‘£11.45 for a double G&T! Almost forgotten how much I enjoy the annual tradition of being ripped off at Party Conference!’

    Never mind, Matthew, there’s always expenses.

  39. Daniel

    You know, this whole situation is very worrying. All being well we will have a councillor, or even Nicola, having a photo op, whilst pointing at a map of Shippon; perhaps even frowning.

    I’ll feel better then.

  40. hester

    Daniel – I don’t think anyone answered the questions about the Oxfordhire Growth Board which you raised in the very first post on this thread. I didn’t know the answer but have now done some digging and found the following on the County Council website:

    “The Growth Board is a joint committee of the six councils of Oxfordshire together with key strategic partners. It has been set up to facilitate and enable joint working on economic development, strategic planning and growth. It does this by overseeing the delivery of projects that the councils of Oxfordshire are seeking to deliver collaboratively in the fields of economic development and strategic planning.

    It also oversees all the projects agreed in the City Deal and Local Growth Deals that fall to the councils, working collaboratively, to deliver and has an overall responsibility to manage these programmes of work alongside the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP). Finally it also exists to advise on matters of collective interest, seek agreement on local priorities and influence relevant local, regional and national bodies.”

    Linking from that there is a 50-page report outlining how the “Oxford unmet housing need” should be appportioned between the Districts – and for the Vale that figure is 2200 as mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

    As far as I understand it, that figure is in addition to the 1028 houses per annum which are said to be required to meet the Vale’s own needs (whether existing needs or those from projected growth). I believe that Part 2 of the Local Plan which is now being worked on and due for completion in early 2018 will review how the additional requirements impact on the Local Plan figures. I hope that if I have got this wrong someone will correct me – but if I am right, the 900+ referred to in Backstreeter’s article will only represent a fraction of the total target.

  41. Daniel

    Hester, thank you so much for putting some skin on the bones of this. Very interesting, and your effort in finding this out is much appreciated.

    That said…and of course no reflection on the ‘messenger’ for this information, but none of what you found out gives me hope, or understanding, or empathy for the situation.

    There is much talk of ‘projects’ and ‘project deliverables’. I wonder what project methodology these ‘Quangos’ use? Agile? Waterfall? Prince 2? All these look to some MoSCW principles – Musts, Should, Could and Won’ts…. And, above all else, after their ‘transitions’ from Project to ‘Normal’ will have some kind of marry up to determine that the requirements have been met, most importantly lessons learned to ensure past mistakes do not happen again.

    Unfortunately, past mistakes WILL happen again. They’ve already started happening!!

    Project Managers are accountable. Are they here too?

    From what you’ve discovered, it sounds like 5700 homes may just be the start of it.

    I see nothing in this that “are of collective interest” for Abingdon. No one seems interested in setting “local priorities”. And absolutely no where is anyone seaking to influence local or national policy – by challenging the miscalculated and inaccurate growth figures foist upon us.

    A dire time for Abingdon indeed.

    I would be amazed if anyone can see anything positive in this.

    … and the town has free wi-fi.

  42. Martin Buckland

    This is rather long but is my response to CEG to the so-called new version of the proposals.

    Very little seems to have changed and the major issue of traffic management seems to have been completely ignored. See later for my suggestions for improvement. I shall not answer the following questions because they are clearly designed to be aggregated into an overwhelming support for the development which is most certainly not the case.

    Firstly a question regarding the bus routes.

    Will the services around the estates be run in both directions for each route?

    The link to Radley Railway Station is welcomed but unlikely to attract much custom to Oxford as the route (35) is slower and uncomfortable due to the large number of humps along the roads through Kennington.

    A more attractive alternative might be to divert some of the more frequent X3 and X13 on the western new loop.

    Alterations to the Wootton Road/Copenhagen Drive/Dunmore Road are welcome, ie the extra lane to turn left towards Abingdon Town Centre, which reinstates the situation which the County Council chose to remove a year or two ago which seemed a pointless exercise given the volume of traffic travelling to the west and south.

    The major criticism however is the still un-addressed problem of traffic gaining access to Dunmore Road. At present there is considerable difficulty in emerging from the existing Long Furlong estates wishing to turn right. To add a further volume of traffic from your estate can only make the situation much worse.

    Much of the traffic from your western, central and eastern estates is likely to be destined for Oxford or Abingdon via the A4183. A significant volume would be travelling to the west to the Wootton Road and Copenhagen Drive.

    This situation would be considerably relieved if a new roundabout were built on the A4183 further north of the existing Dunmore Road/Oxford Road/ Twelve Acre Drive roundabout linking to the central roads of these estates. This would allow traffic from the estates on the west and east of the Oxford road to directly access the A4183 without need to transit the Dunmore Road or Twelve Acre Drive considerable reducing the load on both these roads.

    Traffic would be slowed travelling north allowing easier joining access from the east and west estates. Similarly traffic leaving the A34 or joining the A34 via the new southbound junction would be slowed.

    To avoid rat-running if the first (western) access from Twelve Acre Drive were closed the longer route looping round to the eastern access would be less attractive to rat-runners, there being little or no advantage to be gained.

    It is unclear if there is a through access for vehicles between the western and central estates at the area labelled Lodge Hill Park. Could you clarify please?

    In spite of your protestations mini-roundabouts at the entrances to the central and western would provide the give-way rule to allow entry to the roundabout from all directions.

    It is unacceptable to ignore the evidence of local people who have lived in the area, for many years in some cases, and have direct experience of the current traffic problems. Relying on empirical road design guidelines is not successful as was clearly demonstrated a few years ago when the ABITS Abingdon traffic plan was introduced in spite of considerable anecdotal evidence that it would not improve the situation. This has proved to be the case to the detriment of the viability of the town and further remedial changes are being now considered.

    Building on the western estate right up to the A34 seems a bizarre decision. If I recall the statement that the increased noise would be un-discernable beyond 100 metres, still means that about half the houses on the eastern estate will be subjected to that noise. More logical would be to place the playing fields alongside the A34 which, while not blocking the sound by the presence of housing, would remove that housing from the immediate noise zone.

    The provision of cycle lanes should be entirely separate from pedestrian routes. Regrettable many cyclists do not warn pedestrians of their approach and barriers should be provided to prevent cycling along the footpaths. The present cycleways along the Dunmore road are frequently ignored by cyclists who persist in using the highway to the considerable inconvenience of vehicle traffic.

  43. Daniel

    That seems like a robust and sensible set of observations. How telling that it is coming from the public, the laypersons… and not the experts whom we are paying our expecting to trackside these issuess.

    Out of interest Martin, do you not think that whilst your points are valid, the fact there will be 3000+ houses built the other side of Abingdon render the whole of this northern plan…redundant?

  44. hester

    It will be ineresting to see what the FoI request reveals. In the meantime I have also made enquiries of the Vale and been given a categoric assurance that they have not been approached about proposals for housing development on the Abingdon MOD site. While I would not wish to question the veracity of Capt K’s rumour, I would suggest that
    a) it would be a very brave developer who bought this amount of land without taking soundings from the planning authority about his proposals
    b) it does seem a surprising coincidence that the number of houses quoted by the “informant” is exactly the same (3500) as the proposal which IS under discussion with SODC in relation to Chalgrove airfield.

    Having said all of that, we all know that the MOD are under pressure to reduce their land holdings so it is quite possible that someone somewhere is hatching a plan along these lines, so maybe it is a prophesy – which may or may not come true – rather than a statement of fact?

  45. Daniel

    Well found out, as usual! Thanks for keeping us informed.

    AND, AND , AND Hester….we know how abominably bad The Veil is at such things, and and and how readily Abingdon also gets thoroughly screwed over…so it doesn’t bode well.

    Having said that, the town does have free wi-fi.


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