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No place for estate
7:50am Thursday 7th June 2012 in Letters
Sir — Here comes the city’s discredited old plan to sprawl out over the Green Belt at Grenoble Road yet again, despite it being struck from the SE Plan, and not even making it into the city’s own Core Strategy.
This time it is claimed the new National Planning Policy Framework supports the scheme. It is hard to see how.
The very core of the new framework is “sustainability”, which is simply not reconcilable with concreting over irreplaceable Green Belt, of which the framework itself says that its essence is its permanence.
The Green Belt was created specifically to contain the city, and prevent the very urban sprawl they intend. It maintains the city’s unique historic character, and the individual characters of its surrounding villages, both important economic drivers.
It ensures green spaces within easy reach of everyone, not least the valuable open fields and footpaths right on the edge of the Leys, which the city wants to build over. If they succeed, it wouldn’t be their last demand to build out over the Green Belt. The Greater Oxford Boundary Extension Scheme to expand the city as far as Thrupp to the north, Sunningwell to the south, and Wytham to the west was put in place 30 years ago.
The city has already used up all its own land, so if more than the 52,000 houses already in the pipeline really are essential, as the city claims, surrounding councils would need to decide where and how to provide them.
One thing is for sure. It should not be all on one large estate, on irreplaceable Green Belt, as the city proposes.
It should be in smaller parcels integrated amongst Oxfordshire’s existing settlements, which would be better for Oxford, and for the countryside, and for the new residents too.
Michael Tyce, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Holton