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Oxford Diocese Responds

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The concerns over the potential development of the Aston Road / Glebe site on a scale that is contrary to Haddenham's Neighbourhood Plan have been heightened by news that AVDC will be discussing the planning application at the next meeting of their Strategic Management Committee on Wednesday 14th October — see here.

These concerns have led to local criticisms of the Oxford Diocese over its potential role, given that it owns the adjoining Glebe land that was part of the original planning application to AVDC.

On Friday 9th October, the Diocese of Oxford issued the following statement, in response to questions posed by Haddenham Parish Council:

Thank you for your enquiry, and I am pleased to take this opportunity to set the record straight on various matters:

It is correct that we are not legally required to sell the Glebe to Lightwood, and we have made it clear to them that we will not sell to them.

There is an agreement with Lightwood and the adjoining owners, it was necessary to enter into one for the s.106 Agreement following the Planning Committee's decision to approve Lightwood's planning application. Again just to be clear, this does not require us to sell to Lightwood.

The Diocese is not named on all the planning application documents. If you read the documents on the District Council website you will see that we are not the applicants and neither are we mentioned in the covering letter. It is not our planning application, and therefore it is not in our gift to withdraw it. We did comment on the application and were influential in persuading Lightwood to reduce the housing numbers from 350 to 280.

The Parish Council appointed a Neighbourhood Plan Working Group, and delegated responsibility for the reviewing the call of sites to that Group. At our first meeting with the Working Group it was made very clear that we would need to come back with a joint proposal with the adjoining landowners; they did not want to consider separate proposals.

You have not asked for clarification about the relationship between St. Mary's Church and the Diocese, so I assume that our statement that there is no link is now accepted. The two are legally and financially separate.

I trust that this helps and I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes
David Mason
Director of Glebe and Buildings
Diocese of Oxford

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