Eynsham Image ArchiveMaps & WalksEynsham Venue HireBotley West Solar Farm


Garden Village plan axed by Inspector 30 Sep 2022 Last chance to influence the Area Action Plan for Salt Cross Garden Village - exemplar or business as usual?

We need to say loud and clear that Eynsham - and the planet - deserve better

From 23 September, West Oxfordshire District Council is consulting on the “Main Modifications” to the Salt Cross Garden Village Area Action Plan (AAP). The consultation, which is open to all residents of the District, will last for six weeks. Responses must be received by 4 November 2022.

Here is the link to the consultation: Salt Cross Garden Village - West Oxfordshire District Council. The main document to look at is CD7.

Eynsham residents, organisations and energy experts worked very hard with the District Council in preparing an AAP that was bold, forward-looking and ambitious in setting high standards of construction for the garden village, and for how it operated once built.

So it was deeply disappointing that the Planning Inspector decided to water down, and in crucial cases remove, those ambitions and standards, particularly those that were the basis of the AAP’s intention to address the climate and ecological emergencies. The provisions of Policy 2, Net Zero Carbon Development, were a key element in the AAP. Reducing these standards makes a mockery of the document’s climate change ambitions. What is worse, authorities around the country are watching the progress of these exemplary standards, so if they are lost at Salt Cross, it could have much wider implications.

As the Town and Country Planning Association has said: “It’s no exaggeration to say PINS [The Planning Inspectorate] has wrecked the overall net zero approach.”

The consultation will not be on the whole of the AAP, but on the latest changes that the District Council has made to it: the “Main Modifications” imposed on the Council by the Planning Inspector.

This is your chance to respond and make your feelings known. EPIC believes we should fight for homes that will not add to the climate and ecological emergency but will provide the promised exemplar for others to follow.

Furthermore, although the target of a 25% biodiversity net gain has survived the Inspector’s changes, it will be very difficult to achieve, since some of the measures in the AAP that made it more likely have also been watered down.

EPIC will be preparing a response and a template for those who wish to use it. But anything that individuals or groups, locally or nationally want to say separately, or in addition, will be very valuable. If nothing else, you could make it clear that we reject the modifications to Policy 2 and expect a net zero development. Do spread the word.

EPIC and GreenTEA were invited by Eynsham Parish Council to contribute to a national press release about this regrettable situation once the District Council’s consultation date was announced.

The Planning Inspector had an opportunity to help us towards minimising the damaging effects of climate change and ecological impoverishment. But he fluffed it and carried on down the road to Easter Island.

At one stage in its history, Easter Island underwent a period of severe environmental degradation and depopulation through the misuse of its resources, possibly due to the impact of outsiders rather than the Polynesian inhabitants.


Click to enlarge