PROPOSAL TO TRANSFER LAND CURRENTLY IN THE PARISH OF BRIGHTWELL CUM SOTWELL TO WALLINGFORD

Brightwell cum Sotwell Parish Council is strongly objecting to a proposal to transfer land from our parish to Wallingford.  The land includes fields to the north of Wallingford at Severalls Farm and the field between the end of Wallingford and Sotwell Hill House (land that was formally known as Site A).   The parish council considers that if this land is transferred to Wallingford, it would bring together the site that was considered for development in 2012 (known as Site A) into a single administrative boundary, making future development more difficult to fight off.  It would diminish our parish’s ability to protect the setting of the Sinodun Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it would make coalescence between Wallingford and Slade End more likely by moving the boundary closer to the village. 

The parish council has strongly objected to the proposal and we now have the support of Wallingford Town Council.  It would help our case if a few residents also objected to the proposal. 

The consultation period runs until midday THIS Friday.  It is a simple form to fill out and is important that you STRONGLY OBJECT to the proposal.  We have included a few hints below on what to say.  

To view the full proposed change and to find out how you can have your say, please visit

southoxon.gov.uk/communitygovernance

In the view of the parish council the proposed change in the boundary does not satisfy any of the proposed criteria:

The proposed new boundary does not follow any legible or established field, landscape, natural or footpath boundary that would clearly help to define one community from another – the proposed new boundary is in the middle of open fields.  This would add considerable confusion as to where the parish boundary is – being based only on a historic and rejected planning consultation (regarding which site was suitable for development around Wallingford as part of the 2012 local plan review) and not on any identifiable landscape or boundary features. 

There is no requirement for any development to take place on the land formally known as Site A  until 2035 at the earliest, so there would be no development that would result in people being in housing that is in a different parish to their neighbour.  Site A was rejected for many reasons meaning that there is no need to bring the land into one administrative authority at the present time.

No residents from Wallingford during the preparation of their neighbourhood plan expressed an interest in extending the boundary – the land is agricultural and much more suited to a rural parish than a town.  96% of residents from Brightwell cum Sotwell however, during the preparation of the neighbourhood plan stated that avoiding any further coalescence between the village and Wallingford was highly important.  92% of residents highly valued the fields, footpaths, views and walks to the north of the village on the Sinodun Hills.  The land is therefore highly valued by residents of Brightwell cum Sotwell who were not consulted during the preparation of the proposals.

The proposals completely fail to reflect the identities and interests of the affected community – Brightwell cum Sotwell. The land was identified in the preparation of the 2012 local plan as significant in shaping the character of Brightwell cum Sotwell, a view reinforced in the 2017 SODC Landscape Capacity Assessment.  The land is:

·       An important element in conserving the character of the North Wessex Downs AONB and its setting including the Public Rights of Ways in Brightwell cum Sotwell

·       Identified in the Minerals Safeguarding from Oxfordshire County Council associated with adjacent fields in Brightwell cum Sotwell

·       A significant element on shaping the character of the eastern boundary of the Brightwell-cum-Sotwell Conservation Area

·       A key strategic component in achieving separation between the village of Brightwell cum Sotwell and Wallingford

The proposal by SODC under the community governance review to transfer land formally known as Site A to Wallingford does not meet any of the identified criteria for doing so and must be rejected