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Statement From The Church

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Many local residents have been appalled by the actions of AVDC in failing to contend the Judicial Review of their 'making' ("approving") of the Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan.
The plot of land involved is on Aston Road, and there has been some critcism of the Church of England for its involvement with the development company Lightwood Strategic. On Wednesday 9th March the local church of St Mary's issued the following statement:

Proposed development at Stanbridge Road /Aston Road Haddenham

Statement from St Mary's Church:

Along with most villagers, the vicar, wardens and members of St Mary's church are extremely disappointed with the recent decision of AVDC to withdraw from defending the judicial review of the Neighbourhood plan.

We have supported the Neighbourhood Plan process, both by being represented on the committee from the outset, and also welcoming presentations at church gatherings.

The current situation has not been helped by confusion of the facts. St Mary's church does not own the land, is not a party to the planning application, has no input into it, and does not benefit from it financially.

St Mary's church will continue to actively support the many groups in Haddenham who are working to ensure that all future development is handled sensitively and to protect the ethos of the whole village.

St Mary's Parochial Church Council

The Oxford Diocese has made several statements over the last year, which may be helpful.

9 Oct 2015: http://www.haddenham.net/newsroom/oxford-diocese-responds.html
5 Oct 2015: http://www.haddenham.net/newsroom/response-from-diocese-of-oxford.html
4 Feb 2015: http://www.haddenham.net/newsroom/letter-from-oxford-diocese.html

A Further statement, released on 27th November 2015 is germane:

From: David Mason
Subject: Planning Enquiry update

Dear Editor

It has been brought to my attention that there is a key factual inaccuracy in the update provided on Thursday afternoon by Sir Roderick Floud.

The article states "The Section 106 Agreement is signed by Lightwoods...." This is incorrect Lightwood are not party to the s.106 Agreement, and if I may re-state my earlier note to you of the 9th October "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."

The article continues "..a number of residents had gained the impression that the Diocese were not responsible for the planning application and therefore could not control it in any way". Again I refer to my earlier note of the 9th October.

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.

Can I take this opportunity to thank Sir Roderick for including the statement reminding everyone of the distinction between St. Mary's Church and the Diocesan Board of Finance.

If I may add one further comment, there is virtually no mention of the land that is not owned by the Diocese, it is worth remembering that the Glebe accounts for approximately half of the development identified in the planning application approved by AVDC's Planning Committee. The Haddenham Neighbourhood Plan I believe identifies part of the Glebe for the development of 85 homes, and in addition for provision of a burial ground. The Lightwood Masterplan as it relates to the Glebe provides the housing and burial ground, together with further public open space.

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

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