Posted 10 weeks ago (25/09) by
The main issue from the Bloxham point of view is that while the Local Plan sensibly classes rural villages in terms of the services they provide and the facilities they offer (Cat A, B, C) there does not appear to be allowance for villages becoming ‘full’. In Bloxham’s case, population of the last few years has doubled with the creation of three large new housing estates in the last ten years. While Bloxham does indeed have retail, health and dental facilities, this growth has resulted in these facilities reaching their capacity. Added to this is that with the provision of a fourth school in Bloxham, the traffic system is now well over capacity particularly at drop-off and pick-up times.
We believe the categorization of villages in the plan needs to take into account those that are now at capacity and that cannot take anymore new housing developments, and we believe Bloxham fits into this category.
The consultation document specifically asks for feedback on developments put in place so far. Bloxham has had three major developments;
There were two clear messages that came out of these three developments. The first is that regardless of what promises the developer makes, once the houses are built the developer is gone. The Bovis site suffered right from the start with flooding of some of the houses, and the developer has never really addressed the issue effectively. The Tadmarton site has been a running sore for three years now, with the developer refusing to live up to commitments made in the planning process. The site has serious Health and Safety issues, the car park surface has never been laid, but there is little prospect the issues will be resolved. The District council must find ways to build in more enforceability into the conditions and then be prepared to take action to see them enforced.
The second message is that a blanket insistence on affordable housing is not suitable without taking into account local considerations. Developers have found it very hard to sell the affordable units in Bloxham, and in a number of cases have ended up handing them back to the council for social housing. But even this exposes other issues with this blanket approach; some of those placed in these properties have complained that for a family with no private transport, the heavily reduced bus service leaves little or nothing for young families to do and little scope for obtaining employment.
A common issue is that while a level of affordable housing is being delivered in the new developments, it is not the sort of affordable housing desired by elderly residents wishing to downsize to free up their existing houses for families.
Apart from this, the major issue by far has been covered earlier, but to reiterate the categorization of villages for further development and approval of sections of land for building has to take into account villages that are now at capacity in terms of services and infrastructure.