Plans, first considered decades ago, for up to 6,500 homes in South Oxfordshire are being consulted on once again.
Framptons, on behalf of Summix (South Oxfordshire) Developments, Pye Homes and Bellway Homes, has submitted a scoping opinion request to South Oxfordshire District Council to ask if an environmental impact assessment is required for the possible new settlement which will be known as Harrington.
The site of almost 500-hectares is close to J7 of the M40 and consists of four farms. In addition to the proposed homes, the scheme would include:
- Up to 9.28 hectares of employment land for a mix of B1 (business), B2 (industrial) and B8 (storage and distribution) uses
- Up to four primary schools
- A secondary school
- A mobility hub
- Local centres including various retail, food & drink and other use classes
- Open space including a 63.8-hectare common
The scheme also includes various infrastructure including a park & ride, a solar farm and battery storage and gypsy and traveller pitches.
Plans to build on the site which is neither Green Belt nor AONB land, go back to the 1980s when an earlier proposal to be called Stoney Bassett was put forward. The new settlement would be bigger than both Henley and Thame.
Cllr Caroline Newton, SODC member for Haseley Brook, is opposing the scheme and has written to residents.
She said the site had been considered for inclusion in the Local Plan but came bottom of a list assessing the sustainability of possible sites.
But she believes, given the ongoing delays to the adoption of the Local Plan, it would now be up to the planning inspector who could decide Harrington, which is much bigger than any other site allocation proposed in it, might replace others which are in the Green Belt – and she admits she is nervous of the outcome.
Delays to the Local Plan since the change of leadership at SODC may have given rise to a new opportunity to bring Harrington back into consideration.
Cllr Newton added: “I think it may just be very well-timed to hit at this very precise point.”
Further objections of both Cllr Newton and other opponents include the loss of scenic area which leads to the Chiltern Hills and the risk that, if Chalgrove Airfield and Harrington were built, the two sites could eventually expand to reach one another.
The motorway junction has no southbound exit, nor a northbound entry and the scheme has attracted objections from Highways England and Oxfordshire County Council.
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