RESIDENTS are invited to a community meeting tomorrow which could chart the future of the Botley area.

A group of volunteers, made up of residents and councillors, is holding the meeting to see if residents want to create a neighbourhood plan covering the North Hinksey parish.

The plan cannot lead to the rejection of any new developments planned for the area but it can outline the way homes and infrastructure are set out.

If it is approved, the plan would be a legally-binding document for the parish council or residents to refer to during planning matters at the district council.

The meeting tomorrow is from 7.30pm until 9.30pm at Botley Baptist Church.

Sycamore Road resident Emily Smith is one of the volunteers.

The 35-year-old said: “We want to know if residents would like a neighbourhood plan. It seems when parish councillors object to planning applications their views do not have any legal force. A neighbourhood plan would be a legal document which would give residents more of a say and parish councillors more power. It is not necessarily about stopping development but saying this is what we want.”

Under the 2011 Localism Act powers were given to local communities to shape new developments by preparing a neighbourhood plan.

Residents can specify the nature and location of future development in their area.

But a neighbourhood plan cannot go through unless the majority of residents support its proposals in a neighbourhood referendum.

North Hinksey parish councillors have split opinions. Chairman of the parish council Andrew Pritchard warned the project would be costly and time consuming.

  • For more information, email Emily Smith at