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Autumn 2012

Oxfordshire www.cpreoxon.org.uk

Cogges Link Road triumph 25 year campaign pays off as plans are scrapped

voice

Rural roads Time for a rethink

The future of waste Oxfordshire’s plans for waste disposal


OXFORDSHIRE

Voice Autumn 2012

Features 3 Cogges Link Road triumph 4 Railways and the rural community

5 6 8 9

The future of waste Rethinking rural roads Neighbourhood plans Oxford’s lost landscapes?

You will have noticed that we have changed the name of this publication to the Voice. This brings us in line with the titles of other CPRE county and national magazines. DIRECTORY Views expressed in the Voice are not necessarily those of CPRE Oxfordshire, which welcomes independent comment. Editor: Jane Tomlinson Cover photo: Witney Lakes and Meadows Country Park has been saved from the proposed Cogges Link Road. Photo: Jane Tomlinson Articles, letters, comments and suggestions for articles are welcome. Please contact the Branch Office below. Published November 2012 District Chairmen CPRE Oxfordshire Branch Brian Wood 01869 337904 Brianwood77@aol.com Banbury: Chris Hone 01295 265379 Bicester: Bruce Tremayne 01865 331289 bruce.tremayne@trek.demon.co.uk Henley & Mapledurham: Judith Crockett 01491 612801. judith.crockett@btinternet.com Oxford: Sietske Boeles 01865 728153 sietske.boeles@ntlworld.com Thame & Bullingdon: Michael Tyce 01844 339274 tycehouse@camcott.co.uk Vale of White Horse: Peter Collins St Edmund Hall, Oxford OX1 4AR Wallingford: Arnold Grayson 01491 837193 ArnoldGrayson@aol.com West Oxfordshire: Gillian Salway 01865 881934 salwaypg@btinternet.com Branch Office CPRE Oxfordshire, Punches Barn, Waterperry Road, Holton, Oxfordshire OX33 1PP (Registered office) T: 01865 874780 E: administrator@cpreoxon.org.uk

www.cpreoxon.org.uk Follow us on Twitter @CPREOxfordshire and like us on www.facebook.com/CPREOxfordshire CPRE Oxfordshire is registered in England as Charity No.1093081 and Company No. 4443278.

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Chairman’s voice Our recent reorganisation, which I described in the last Bulletin, to make us a much more professional organisation is really beginning to bear fruit. Helen Marshall, our Director, has picked up the complexities of the planning world, and has become well known to local newspapers and broadcasters, as well as other organisations working to protect our environment. She stood in for John Hoad, the head of planning at CPRE national office, at the Chilterns AONB Planning Conference to speak about recent changes in planning law, a testament of her grasp of what we are about. She is ably supported by Jane Tomlinson who is re-vitalising all our communications, including developing a new look for our website to make it easier to use and to keep up-to-date. Becky Crockett continues to look after office administration with commendable efficiency.

As I wrote in the previous edition of this newsletter, the final version of the National Planning Policy Framework was an improvement on the original consultation draft. It is still unclear exactly how it will work in practice. We are monitoring its implementation carefully, both here in Oxfordshire and nationally. We are not encouraged by the attitude of the Government which still appears to be influenced by those who claim that the planning system is holding back development. It is clear to everyone else that the main cause is the shortage of cash and mortgages. The Government is proposing to relax planning rules so that, for example, householders can build bigger conservatories without planning permission. This futile gesture cannot significantly increase development in the country, but could set neighbour against neighbour. It is precisely this sort of development which we have to guard against. We need more supporters to help us in our work. If you know people who also feel strongly about protecting the county please let us know who they are, and we will write to them inviting them to join us.

For 25 years we campaigned against the Cogges Link Road in Witney. The proposal has finally been rejected by the Secretary of State. Reasoned arguments and local expertise can win the day if it is supported by dogged determination. Gill Salway, who led our campaign, has written a more detailed update on page 3.

The membership application form is on page 11. Brian Wood Chairman, CPRE Oxfordshire

Hands up! Volunteers required We are on the lookout for volunteers. We have a range of opportunities all over the county. If you can help us only occasionally that’s great, but if you can make a regular commitment, then even better. While skills and experience are necessary for some roles, there are plenty of tasks you could help us with whatever your knowledge or background. Specific volunteers are needed immediately:

l Publicity volunteer: help us communicate our messages to various audiences, including the media and the general public, to raise the profile of our campaigns and increase our membership l Planning volunteer: help us and our District groups monitor and respond to local planning applications and consultations l Fundraising volunteer: help us find and apply for grants, as well as increase the support we get from individual donors Can you help? Or do you know anyone who can help? Yes? Call Becky Crockett, our administrator on 01865 874780 or email administrator@cpreoxon.org.uk

CPRE Oxfordshire voice  Autumn 2012


Cogges Link road triumph A triumphant conclusion to CPRE’s 25 year fight against the Cogges Link Road scheme in Witney was reached earlier this year when the Secretary of State, Justine Greening, announced that she had decided to refuse the compulsory purchase orders necessary for Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to proceed.

ANDREW CARTER

by Gill Salway, chair of CPRE’s West Oxfordshire district

We opposed the scheme because the road would have cut across an important area of green space, a designated flood plain and Country Park, as well as channelling a considerable amount of extra traffic to an area of the town which is already busy.

There have been numerous points at which we might have admitted defeat For OCC’s application to fail, objectors had to show at the Public Inquiry not only that the scheme was undesirable but that it was unsound because there was a preferable alternative. The Inquiry came down to the arguments for and against Cogges Link Road and the alternative, Shores Green, which involves building a new junction on the A40 to remove through traffic from the town to create an alternative route across the river. The Secretary of State’s letter conveying her decision made it clear that both she and the Inspector were convinced that Shores Green was a better (and cheaper) scheme and that OCC should proceed with it. This prolonged campaign illustrates a number of things. Firstly, stick with it! There have been numerous points at which we might have admitted defeat in the face of the recalcitrant attitude of Witney Town Council, West Oxfordshire

Gill Salway in Witney

District Council and OCC, all of whom continued to favour the Cogges Link Road despite the advice of Inspectors at two previous Local Plan inquiries. There is no doubt that local party politics have been a factor here. Secondly, do your homework thoroughly. We had a dedicated team who mastered the facts and could present them convincingly to the Inspector, something that could not be said for the OCC officers who put up a pretty lamentable performance. Thirdly, use your allies to best advantage. The statutory objector (whose land was the subject of the compulsory purchase order) had the funds to pay a legal team which we did not, and we made common cause with him in mounting our objection. But we also made it quite clear from the start that we reserved our position on any future plans he might have and were able to refute suggestions that

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we had been bought by him. The other non-statutory objectors, who had a wide range of reasons for objecting, played a vital part in co-ordinating and passing on information to each other. The ad hoc group Witney First joined forces with our CPRE men on the ground David Condon and Wyn Devonald, in reaching the public through extensive use of the local media. What’s next? OCC have taken the decision with bad grace and have continued to portray the objectors as not having the best interest of the town at heart. Quite the opposite is true and CPRE and Witney First are now campaigning hard to push a reluctant OCC towards building Shores Green. It feels good to have been vindicated and it will feel even better if we can assist in sorting out some of the town’s long-standing traffic problems. 3


by Jim Fletcher, CPRE Oxfordshire’s transport consultant

The Government’s mediumto long-term transport policy is evolving and it’s rather exciting: at last a real alternative to travel by car, coach and short-haul airlines is emerging.

photos: jane tomlinson

Lining up: railways and the rural community

With rail passenger numbers rising, there now seems to be a new commitment to the railways and a recognition of its value as a public service. Rail freight is profitable and increasing once more. Fare rises above inflation for long distance commuting could reduce development pressures outside London. This is great news for the countryside as the threat of building more and more roads is no longer inevitable.

if sensitively planned, this service could help to relieve local roads. This line will become a significant national freight route connecting south coast ports to the Midlands and the North. No upgrading of the A34 trunk road is planned and development of this rail corridor is an example of the potential for long distance rail freight. More extensive electrification is planned on the line from London to Oxford and Cardiff. The newest plan carries this on through Oxford to Birmingham, via the new East-West line to Bedford and as far west as Swansea. A major redesign of Oxford station and the Thames valley branch lines will also be included. This is good news for Henley.

CPRE Oxfordshire’s Branch Executive Committee voted to oppose HS2, the new high speed inter-city line, but to continue to help affected communities find ways to mitigate its impact should it come to pass. Publication of detailed design for phase one is expected any time now. Oxfordshire has been particularly favoured with improvements to existing main railway lines with alternatives for through-travel and improvements to local services. Cotswold line local services are now more regular and reliable following the replacement of the dual track, and both Charlbury and Long Hanborough station car parks are being enlarged. Private investment has transformed the Chiltern line with more frequent services, longer trains to London, new car parks and now expresses from Bicester and Banbury to the West Midlands. Work will start shortly to bring the Oxford to Bicester line up to modern standards, opening up an entirely new Oxford to London Marylebone route. The Government has committed funds for the reinstatement of the Oxford to Bedford service (part of the former Oxford to Cambridge line). Development at Water Eaton Park and Ride in the Green Belt has been a cause for concern but 4 4

Oxfordshire County Council’s support for the idea of a rail connection to Witney and Carterton must be welcomed, especially by those who have no alternative but to use the impossibly overcrowded A40. However this is many years away yet, as is the idea for a new local station for Grove and Wantage. We eagerly await the proposals.

Why I volunteer with CPRE “It’s great to be using my skills to benefit the environment and my local community.” Sharon Creese CPRE publicity volunteer

CPRE Oxfordshire voice  Autumn 2012


The future of waste Planning Oxfordshire’s waste disposal by John Beech, CPRE Oxfordshire’s waste consultant

FACTS l Oxfordshire generates 2.2 million tonnes of waste a year l Oxfordshire imports about 700,000 tonnes of waste a year, mostly from London l Overall the county now recycles and composts 60% of its waste

Fortnightly collections of recyclable household refuse are effective in promoting high recycling rates.

CPRE Oxfordshire has recently responded to two consultations by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) about its plans for the management and processing of waste. The first, the Oxfordshire Minerals and Waste Core Strategy, looks at policies for disposing waste up to 2030. The second was carried out by OCC on behalf of the Oxfordshire Waste Partnership (OWP), which reviewed progress over the past five years, as well as seeking views on its proposals for the next five. The consensus of views from OWP influences the development of waste policies by OCC. Oxfordshire generates 2.2 million tonnes of all types of waste: municipal, commercial, industrial and construction; only the first of these is the responsibility of the County and District Councils. The amount of municipal waste is expected to increase between 2011 and 2026 as a result of the construction of 40,000 houses in the county. Oxfordshire is a net importer of waste, mainly from London, amounting to 700,000 tonnes a year. CPRE opposes the import of waste; it reduces the incentive for London authorities to improve their own performance. It is now OCC policy

that waste will only be imported into the county when this is clearly in its interest. The amount imported can therefore be expected to reduce significantly in the period 2012 to 2030. A major objective for 2030 is to reduce the amount going to landfill to 2% of the total municipal waste stream. This will only be achieved by greatly improved household recycling and composting rates, and by treatment, so far as is practical, of the remainder of the waste - the ‘residual waste’. In practical terms, ‘treatment’ of waste means incineration, with the benefit of energy recovery, or smallerscale processes such as mechanical biological treatment. Conscious of the impact on the landscape and adverse impact from increased heavy traffic, CPRE Oxfordshire opposed the construction of the enormous incinerator at Ardley, which had a planned throughput of 100,000 tonnes a year; but this planning application was granted at appeal. A major disadvantage of large scale incinerators such as the Ardley plant is that they require a continuing high throughput of waste to make them economical. This can cause diversion

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of waste from recycling streams when markets have low demand; and the importation of waste from outside Oxfordshire, as in the case of Ardley. What we favour is smaller scale treatment of residual waste at industrial locations close to towns. In our response to the draft Waste Plan, we set out our opposition to large industrial scale plant of any kind in open countryside, and have since voiced opposition to the construction of an anaerobic digestion plant at Sutton Courtney. CPRE is opposed to construction of waste processing plants in AONBs and in the Green Belt. We think that greenfield sites should not be used if suitable locations on previously-used land are available. The Oxfordshire Waste Partnership provides an Open Forum for officers from the County and District Council and others concerned with waste matters, to discuss means of improving the collection, recycling and composting of waste, and encourage waste minimisation and reuse of household items. The report for the period up to 2011 records excellent progress in increasing the amount of waste recycled in most of the Districts within Oxfordshire. Overall the proportion of recycled plus composted material for the county was 60%; with the best performing Districts achieving significantly …continued on page 7 5


Rethinking rural roads

Cycling, riding and walking on rural roads is not the pleasure it ought to be. “Travelling without a car in the countryside can mean taking your life in your hands,” says Ralph Smyth, Senior Transport Campaigner at CPRE’s national office.

Pedestrians, riders and cyclists compete with fast cars and big lorries for space on rural roads. And all road users can be distracted by the blight of unsightly roadside clutter. Is it time to rethink how we manage our rural roads?

FACTS l Nationally, more than two-thirds of road deaths occur on rural roads l The risk of being killed cycling on rural A roads is 15 times greater than on urban roads l In Oxfordshire, there are about 40 deaths, 350 serious injuries and nearly 2,000 slight injuries reported on the roads every year

Speed limits Many smaller rural roads, despite their many obvious hazards, are designated at the national speed limit, currently 60mph. While high profile debates rage about motorway speed limits where only 6% of fatalities occur each year, thousands perish on the nation’s rural roads. A Government consultation earlier this year asked whether the speed should be limited to 40mph on minor rural roads, especially in scenic areas. In the Netherlands, widespread adoption of 60kph (37mph) zones on minor rural roads has been even more effective in saving lives than their urban 30kph (19mph) limits.

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jane tomlinson

You can drive at 60mph on the lane between Cassington and Bladon

In Oxfordshire, where more than half of us live in small towns or villages, any measures that reduce the carnage have got to be welcomed and we think that local people, who know their own patch like the back of their hands, are the best judges of what are the most suitable speed limits for roads and lanes in their area.

CPRE CPREOxfordshire Oxfordshirevoice  voice  Autumn Autumn2012 2012


Mike Tyce

This advertising van was spotted ‘parking’ in a layby near Thame.

People need to feel safe enough on Oxfordshire’s roads to get out and walk, cycle or ride instead of reaching for the ‘safety’ of their vehicle. On many B roads, there is now a painful chickenand-egg situation where perversely it is hard to change speed limits if there are not already high numbers of people walking and cycling until the number of accidents, injuries and deaths has reached a sufficient level. This can’t be right. We support and encourage the transport authorities to reduce speed limits according to the wishes of local communities.

Lorries and lanes Villagers in South Newington are concerned with the increasing volume of large HGVs that are negotiating the narrow winding A361 through the village. Apart from the obvious dangers to other road users and villagers trying to cross from one part of the village to the other, the road is lined by grade 2 listed 17th and 18th century buildings some of whose walls form the boundary to the road. There are obvious concerns for these buildings and things will only get worse in the light of the proposal for more commercial development in Banbury, which will lead to more traffic through this village and surrounding villages. The South Newington residents have met representatives of OCC and hope to meet with representatives of Cherwell District Council shortly. In the meantime, villagers have approached Thames Valley Police who have given

them practical help about reducing the speed limits and plan to conduct random speed checks.

Too much clutter Road signs provide essential information for road users and promote road safety. But increasingly there are too many signs. Some are officially sanctioned, but many more are unofficial advertising. Each sign is no doubt introduced with the best of intentions, but such clutter can create confusion, distract motorists and deface the rural landscape. A particularly ugly recent phenomenon is the growing number of advertising hoardings in fields by the roadside and old vans emblazoned with advertising which park more or less permanently in laybys. To report an illegally parked advertising van to the authorities you need to have observed it twice during the day, perhaps on your way to work or the shops and on the way back. Take photos of it to prove it hasn’t moved. The authorities then have enough information to contact the advertiser and get it removed. Artificial gates, flashing illuminated signs, coloured road surfaces, rumble strips, speed humps, chicanes of planters: when used together, they disfigure villages and roadsides and they’re expensive to install and maintain. A balance is needed. Essential signs should of course be maintained but they need to be sensitive to the character of the surrounding countryside.

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The future of waste …continued from page 5

more than that - equal to the best performing Districts nationally. An excellent achievement! Significant reductions in the amounts of waste generated per household were reported: the average for the best performing District was only 290 kg per household per year. This is equal to the best performing council nationally. The consultation invited preferred targets for recycling and composting for 2020 and 2030. In an earlier Waste Plan consultation we advocated setting challenging targets for these periods: 70% by 2020 and 80% by 2025. In view of significant improvements since 2007 we think this is achievable, especially when you consider what is already being done elsewhere in England and abroad. CPRE was glad to note that the county intends to retain the fortnightly collection of recyclable household refuse, and to resist pressure from the Department of Communities & Local Government to introduce weekly collections. Fortnightly collections are effective in promoting high recycling rates. A significant factor in achieving good recycling performance is the practical difficulty of storing bins in accessible locations for many houses in Oxford and the larger towns. We commend the OWP in addressing this issue and seeking to achieve comparable recycling rates to those in the rural districts. Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are extremely valuable in supplementing the yields from kerbside collections. We support OWP’s aim to increase the range of household items which can be accepted at HWRCs. Householders now need better information about where their local HWRCs are and the range of items which can be brought there. 7


Photos: Geoff Botting

Neighbourhood Plans: the story so far In the previous edition of this magazine, you will have read how the Localism Act has given communities a new way to influence planning decisions in their neighbourhoods – Neighbourhood Plans. However, the cost of creating one can be considerable. To encourage take up, the Government identified a number of ‘Front Runner’ parishes to receive a grant of £20,000 to enable them to do it: Banbury, Chipping Norton, Faringdon, Thame, Woodcote and Wroxton have taken up the challenge. Geoff Botting, Vice-Chair of Woodcote Parish Council tells the story so far. Woodcote is a village on the edge of the Goring Gap in the Chilterns AONB. In 2011 an application (subsequently refused) to build more than 100 houses prompted us to find a way to give the village a voice in a conversation dominated by the District Council and well-resourced developers . We became a Neighbourhood Planning Front Runner in July 2011. In September 2011 the Parish Council formed a voluntary advisory group to draft a Plan. At that time Neighbourhood Planning was only loosely defined and the group, largely untutored in town planning, made the early decision to focus on a few vital questions that would allow us to learn and to communicate, consult and engage the village from Day One. We asked: 1. what is the housing need 2. where might new housing go, and 3. how would we choose among the potential sites? After 10 months, with help from others such as the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (www.oxonrcc. org.uk), we can now answer those questions; we have an effective 8

communication and consultation process, and we are now ready to consider other aspects of village life and facilities. We expect the Plan to take about 18 months to draft. However, we are a small community and this will depend on the continuing willingness of group members to give about half a day a week to the project and others to donate their expertise. We cannot afford consultants. Our biggest concern to date is the degree of scrutiny required for, say, the Sustainability Assessment (and therefore the Scoping Report) and the Public Examination that will apply to a likely development of fewer than 75 houses in the next 15 years. Faringdon Town Council has also entered the Neighbourhood Planning process. Deputy Town Clerk Hilary Sherman says: Our objective was to produce a Plan that would more clearly represent the needs of Faringdon than the first draft of the previous district local plan. We were encouraged to do this by the offer of a grant from central government of £20,000 towards its production. We were not aware at the time that the district council (Vale of the White

‘My advice for communities without planners on tap is to organise the project, to build expertise and evidence, and include the community from Day One.’ Geoff Botting, Vice- Chair, Woodcote Parish Council Horse DC) would take this grant to pay for the consultation, examination and referendum stages that come at the end of the process. Having discovered that this was the case we went ahead anyway and have earmarked £20,000 from our reserves to finance the project. We received assistance and guidance from the National Association of Local Councils and CPRE about formulating a neighbourhood plan. Early on we took the view that the plan should be driven by the townspeople as a whole rather than merely ‘consulting’ with them. This has been remarkably successful. We have held public meetings with well over 100 people attending each one and have formed a steering group that represents organisations and many

‘Early on we took the view that the plan should be driven by the townspeople as a whole rather than merely ‘consulting’ with them. This has been remarkably successful.’ Hilary Sherman , Deputy Town Clerk, Faringdon Town Council CPRE Oxfordshire voice  Autumn 2012


Oxford’s lost landscapes? by Sarah Milliken, CPRE Oxford jane tomlinson

Woodcote Parish Council held a Neighbourhood Planning public meeting at the village hall to involve residents. More than 400 people, 20% of the adult population of the village, attended and 250 returned questionnaires. These helped set the direction of the Neighbourhood Plan early on.

individuals from the town. This group has subgroups that look at and refine the views expressed. We appointed consultants to produce the Plan from the input from the townspeople and they are in the process of doing this. A large number of non-planning suggestions have come forward that will improve the town. The proof of the success of the project will be in whether these will be implemented in the future. At the moment the signs look good. Of course, this project has created an enormous amount of work. We have employed an administrator solely to manage the project and without his help our full-time staff would have been inundated with extra work. We intend to produce a draft plan for consultation, inspection and referendum in early 2013. Astrid Harvey, who is working to support the Chipping Norton Neighbourhood Plan, says: “Building momentum and sustaining enthusiasm in the town for the Neighbourhood Plan is challenging. We are very grateful to the 400 households who completed a residents' questionnaire, and to those who attended our workshops and focus groups for young, older and working age people, and local businesses. What they told us is helping to build a clear picture of the sort of town we need to plan for through the Neighbourhood Plan.”

Artists and visitors to the Lost landscapes exhibition discuss the potential loss of green spaces in Oxford.

Over the past decade Oxford’s population has risen by 12% to over 150,000, and plans to build more than 8,000 new homes over the next 15 years will push this figure beyond 170,000. There is a need for affordable homes in the city, and there is sufficient previously developed land available to accommodate this target. Nevertheless, the City Council’s Sites and Housing Development Plan, which allocates sites for development, and sets out detailed planning policies for residential development, includes 30 hectares of greenfield sites, including playing fields, allotments and a nature park. National planning law says that open spaces should only be developed if they are not required for the wellbeing of the community. Yet public consultation on the City Council’s plans revealed strong feelings that the majority of them should be retained; they provide much needed recreation space, sports facilities, food-growing areas, or access to nature. Oxford City Council’s Core Strategy states its commitment to maintain a city-wide standard of 5.75 hectares of publicly accessible green space

We arranged an art exhibition to draw attention to the green spaces in Oxford in danger of being lost per thousand people. However, due to recent population increase the current provision is only 5 hectares per 1000, while in some parts of the city it is less than 2 hectares per 1000. As the population continues to grow, it will inevitably reduce even more. In addition to their value for recreation, green spaces provide vital ecosystem services: carbon storage and sequestration, stormwater attenuation, air temperature reduction, and the removal of pollutants from the atmosphere. In view of climate change, these matters should not be brushed aside. Many of the green spaces in Oxford earmarked for development are either designated for their ecological significance, or lie close to designated sites. These places are part of a biodiversity network, and the potential

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…continued on page 11 9


The Green Road into the Trees The Green Road into the Trees is a new book by author Hugh Thomson in which he describes walking the length of the ancient Icknield Way. Hugh recently gave the Annual Lecture on behalf of the Wallingford and Henley Districts of CPRE, in which he delighted the audience with tales and readings from his book. In case you missed it, here’s an extract. “I knew that I wanted to make a journey through England, to write about my own country. Not far from where I lived in Oxfordshire ran the Icknield Way. Unlike many of the older paths, this had not been commodified into a long distance trail with accompanying guidebooks, signposts and people to hold your hand. For much of the Icknield Way’s long route from the south coast near Dorset diagonally across the

country to Norfolk, it was still half covered by bramble and tunnelled by elder, beech and oak, forgotten and ignored. This prehistoric track dissected England in a way no modern major road did. I went over to an escarpment near the village of South Stoke. Across the fields of oilseed rape, the clearest of paths showed the Way continuing up to the hills beyond. It was a path I knew well: I had cycled, ridden and walked it many times, with dogs, friends and neighbours. From where I stood, the path led up into the Chilterns, one of the largest forested areas in England when the Anglo-Saxons arrived. Before the Saxons came, this had been part of Roman Britain, but more lightly colonised because of the rougher terrain: south of Romanised Dorchester, the River Thames makes a great horseshoe sweep down from the crossing at Wallingford and around below Whitchurch and Mapledurham to reach Henley. The Chilterns sprawl out from the centre of this horseshoe in a mess of wooded valleys. It was the West Saxons, the Gewisse, who colonised this area, a group less civilised than the East Saxons of Kent. Their original

name, the Gewisse, is thought to mean ‘the trusties’ – or as we might put it, ‘the heavies’; one historian described them as ‘a strongarm gang controlling weaker neighbours by brute force’. The eponymous kingdom they founded of Wessex is often associated with the south-west coast and Thomas Hardy's novels, but it was first centred here in Oxfordshire and the upper Thames. Under the veneer of commuter respectability – for Henley in particular lies within striking distance of London and is much prized by Jaguar owners for its regatta and gentility – you do not need to go far into the woods to find traces of a less polite past.” From The Green Road into the Trees: An Exploration of England by Hugh Thomson, reproduced with kind permission. Members’ offer CPRE Oxfordshire members can buy The Green Road into the Trees for the special price of £16.99 (usually £18.99) including free post and packing to UK addresses. To order your copy call 01206 255 800 and quote the reference CPRE. This offer is available until 1 January 2013.

Obituary: Frank Raymond Environmental scientist and supporter of CPRE, Frank Raymond, FRSC, MA, was awarded a CBE for services to agricultural practice

Frank Raymond, long-serving CPRE Oxfordshire member died in August, aged 90. After studying natural sciences at Oxford, Frank began his remarkable career with wartime operational research at the Medical Research council. After the war and until 1972 he worked at the Grassland Research Institute, becoming Assistant Director in 1960. During his time there he published over 100 papers on grass and forage nutrition and production. In 1972 Frank became Deputy Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and was appointed Chief Scientist in 1981. He commissioned research and was

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involved with negotiating collaborative agreements with agricultural scientists in other countries. He led the UK delegation to the Standing Committee of Agricultural Research of the European Economic Community from 1972-82. From 1978-84 he was Visiting Professor in Agriculture at Wye College, University of London. After Frank retired in 1982 he became a consultant on agricultural research policy and continued to produce reports on subjects including: Acid Rain (1988), Channel Tunnel Rail Link (1989) and Terminal 5, Heathrow, Environmental Statement (1993). In 1983 he became a founding member of The Society for the Responsible Use of Resources in Agriculture and on the Land. He stressed the importance of research on ways to reduce the intensity of agricultural production systems, and improvements in the welfare of farm animals while maintaining farm incomes. He encouraged the rapid application of the research results into profitable farm practice.

In 1993, Frank joined CPRE. He was chair of the Henley and Mapledurham District Committee from 2001-06. His wide-ranging knowledge combined with factual evidence and reasoned argument were powerful tools in our activities. He was interested in all forms of energy generation: nuclear, biomass, waste incineration and wind turbines, always taking a balanced view, weighing up the benefits against environmental damage. Judith Crockett, chair of CPRE’s Henley and Mapledurham District Committee, says: “I appreciated Frank’s quiet leadership, his unassuming scholarship and his wideranging interests in the countryside. He never forced his opinion on you but let the facts speak for themselves. Frank was a devoted and loving family man. His daughter followed in his footsteps, studying environmental science, and one of his grandchildren is pursuing the same interest. This greatly pleased him.”

CPRE Oxfordshire voice  Autumn 2012


Oxford’s lost landscapes? …continued from page 9 impact of each development on the network as a whole should not be underestimated. These concerns prompted me to commission nine local artists to create works of art to draw attention to the impending loss of some of the precious green spaces in Oxford. The eight sites included Barton Village nature park, the disused allotments at East Minchery Farm, Barton Road cricket ground, Jesus and Lincoln College playing fields, and the Oxford University Press sports ground. The ‘Lost landscapes’ exhibition, which took place in September at Bartlemas Chapel off the Cowley Road, reflected the importance of these sites to the residents of Oxford. A number of themes emerged coincidentally: boundaries, exclusion, disenfranchisement, freedom, and value. The exhibition, which attracted about 200 visitors, was timed to take place the week before the public examination of the Sites and Housing Development Plan. The definitive outcome of the examination is as yet unknown, though it is likely that the majority of the sites have indeed been lost to development. However, the Inspector requested that a number of modifications be made to the Plan, including the retention of some allotment space at East Minchery Farm. The Inspector’s final report will be published early in the New Year. Artist Imogen Rigden says:

“People who are losing their local green spaces must be given a voice to express their anger, sadness or dismay. When planning decisions are made, those affected most often feel disenfranchised.”

Suggest a supporter We urgently need to increase our influence countywide and campaign on really positive subjects, but we can’t do that as effectively as we would like without new supporters. Will you help us? We all know people who share our passion for the countryside but our natural reticence can make it awkward to promote CPRE to friends, neighbours, colleagues and family. That’s why we would like you to suggest someone you know who you think may be interested in CPRE’s work so that we can approach them. We will send them a personalised introductory letter which will say you thought of them. We promise there will be no hard sell and if we get no response we won’t contact them again.

Who will you suggest? Please fill in the slip below. There is surely no one better placed than you – our current members – to inspire others to join us in protecting the county we love. Thank you.

Suggest a supporter Your name.......................................................................................................................... Membership number (if known).................................................................................... Your address....................................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................................. ..................................................................................... Postcode........................................ I would like to suggest this person as potentially interested in the work of CPRE Oxfordshire: Their name......................................................................................................................... Their address...................................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................................. ..................................................................................... Postcode........................................ Their relationship to you: friend 

colleague 

neighbour 

family

other (please state)................................................................................................... Now cut out this slip and send it to: Becky Crockett, CPRE Oxfordshire, Punches Barn, Waterperry Road, Holton, Oxfordshire, OX33 1PP Or email this information to administrator@cpreoxon.org.uk All personal information is treated confidentially in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Join the debate. Join the campaign. Join CPRE

11


Oxford Green Fair

Stamp it out – get it by email

Come and show your support for CPRE on our stall at the Green Fair at Oxford Town Hall, St Aldates, Oxford, on Saturday 1 December 2012 from 10.30am to 4.30pm. At the Green Fair, you can learn about green technology while listening to festive music, stock up on ethically-made and fairly traded goods and tuck in to locally-sourced food.

Space quest

CPRE Oxfordshire seeks new office We need to move out of our current office at Holton by early in the new year. We are currently looking for about 300 square feet (28 square metres) of office space in the Oxford area. If you know of a suitable space we could rent at a reasonable price, preferably in the Wheatley area but all suggestions welcome, please call us as soon as possible on 01865 874780 or email administrator@ cpreoxon.org.uk

Bletchingdon spring garden delight We are arranging a visit for CPRE members to Sue Bedwell's garden in Bletchingdon in the spring. Sue is a renowned horticulturist and lecturer and a visit to her private garden is bound to be inspirational. Details to follow.

In October, CPRE volunteers joined staff from Winton Capital Management to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty for a litterpick followed by a guided walk along Oxfordshire’s Roman Way. Participants helped to clean up Grenoble Road, Oxford, before heading off with guide Elaine Steane along The Roman Way towards Marsh Baldon. The event was kindly supported by the David and Claudia Harding Foundation.

Jane Tomlinson

Walking the Roman Way

With the price of a second class stamp now at 50p, every time we need to post information or letters to members, it depletes our scarce funds. A more cost-effective way is for us to communicate with you by email. If you would like to help us save money this way, please email administrator@cpreoxon.org.uk

Organised chaos: a change of planning We had hoped that the changes in planning policy announced earlier this year would have had time by now to bed in, and that we would be able to assess their impacts, both good and bad. But there’s more chaos on the way: in September the Government announced another set of proposals. Financial support for housing developments; for example loan guarantees and buyer support We welcome this as recognition that it’s actually a lack of financial resources and demand that are the real problems, not lack of land or the planning system. A new planning act to deal with major housing and commercial schemes as ‘infrastructure’ This is incredibly worrying. It would involve the Secretary of State determining applications made directly to the Planning Inspectorate, cutting out local planning authorities altogether. This sits awkwardly alongside the emphasis on ‘localism’!

homes and 6m for others, but never more than half the size of a garden. Details will be crucial, but buildings could appear that are visually intrusive, as well as increasing neighbour v neighbour disputes. This is a direct attack on the concept of planning, good design and environmental protection. Viability and planning obligation relaxations Developers are to be given the immediate right to appeal on planning obligations; currently they cannot do this for five years. This fundamentally undermines the negotiating position of a council. Viability is being suggested as a reason to scale back affordable housing and infrastructure requirements in a big way.

A three-year ‘planning holiday’ on domestic and commercial extensions The suggestion is to double the permitted length of extensions to 8m for detached

What concerns us most about the proposals is that planning is presented as an obstacle to growth. Combine these suggestions with a newly appointed Planning Minister, Nick Boles, who is on record as saying that ‘urban chaos’ may be a better alternative to the planning system, and you can see that CPRE will have some major challenges to fight in the coming months. Your continued support is more vital than ever!

Oxfordshire Voice

Branch Office

CPRE Online

Published biannually by the Oxfordshire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

CPRE Oxfordshire, Punches Barn, Waterperry Road, Holton, Oxfordshire OX33 1PP (Registered office)

Oxfordshire: www.cpreoxon.org.uk

Design: Rob Bowker T: 01491 825609 Print: Severnprint Ltd with vegetable inks on recycled paper using renewable energy.

T: 01865 874780 E: administrator@cpreoxon.org.uk

Twitter: @CPREOxfordshire www.facebook.com/CPREOxfordshire National: www.cpre.org.uk

CPRE Oxfordshire Voice: Autumn 2012  

Magazine for members of CPRE Oxfordshire

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