North Witney in Witney Gazette

Posted on 2nd November, 2016

The following letter from NWAG was published in the Witney Gazette on the 26th October.


This afternoon (Wednesday), our WODC councillors will be asked to vote on continuing the Local Plan along a path which, unless they have the courage and wisdom to do otherwise, could lead to the destruction of the Witney we know and love.


When they vote on the Local Plan, our councillors need to remove the remote and flawed north Witney site which their officers now want increased from 1000 to 1400. All on ancient undulating farmland that is entirely in the parish of Hailey and part of the Wychwood Project.


Those Conservative councillors in the parish heartlands who believe this is nothing to with them need to think again. For when WODC’s local plan is rejected a second time because the officers persist on including north Witney, they will have opened the door to seeing rapacious developers sniffing greater profits from their lucrative parishes.


The cry of ‘we must have a plan in place’ must through reflection be replaced with ‘we must have a sound plan in place that will be approved at public examination.’


Consider these devastating facts

  • The West End Link Road has to be built before North Witney is developed. It will not pass a sequential or essential test (the bridge would be in a Zone 3B flood plain and the development is not essential). The cost in 2012 was £18m and the developers’ own Flood Report says that the water levels would rise to up to 1.5 inches. Their Report calls that “negligible”!
  • Both OCC and the the recent Burford Road appeal inspector agree that Shore’s Green is the second river crossing.
  • Through four Freedom of Information requests OCC traffic counts show traffic flows increase in West End by 52.5%, in the Witney Conservation Area by 47.1% and Hailey Road becomes the third busiest road in Witney with traffic tripling in volume.
  • All the water flowing down from the 100m contours has to move through the 0.75m Hailey Drain. To restrain this, they plan to build six reservoirs each the size of Wembley Stadium on land above the development. Does water run up hill? Nothing will be done to address existing flood risks.
  • They are ignoring three WODC commissioned landscape reports 1998, 2007 and 2012 which all say categorically urbanisation between Hailey and Witney should be resisted.

Today is the day for WODC councillors to show leadership and take a step back from the brink and replace North Witney with a more suitable site.


Yours truly,


Stuart Harrison

North Witney Action Group


Despite public and private warnings of the issues above a majority of WODC councillors voted for the flawed Local Plan. We applaud those few councillors who had the integrity to vote against the plan. It will now proceed to public consultation.