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Clearing the Smoke and Mirrors

by Keith Milmer – 11th July 2015
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This website was set up to serve the Haddenham community, and seeks to provide a resource that benefits all residents and local clubs, societies, charities, churches and schools. It is run on a totally voluntary and non-commercial basis and generates no revenues from any sources.

Your website editor cannot sit on his hands and let cynical, commercially driven statements from property development companies go unchallenged, as the implications are far too serious and potentially damaging for this wonderful village.

If you've read the article on the front page of the Thame Gazette and have concluded that a NO vote is appropriate in the local referendum this Thursday, you will have fed a victory to commercial property developers who want to build far more houses than the Neighbourhood Plan allows them to build.

A NO vote will open the flood gates to development around Haddenham, with the only "controls" coming through AVDC, Bucks County Council and national planning policies.

Haddenham's Neighbourhood Plan seeks to put in place local controls over the total number of new houses that can be built here, so that we can retain a village scale and a village spirit rather than become more like a town.

Our Neighbourhood Plan was created by representatives of Haddenham Parish Council, the Village Society and other local residents, all acting on a voluntary basis. It drew on public consultations over the last two years to hear the views and wishes of Haddenham residents.

There is no such thing as the "perfect plan" and there will always be debates over the preferred locations and designs for new housing. I am utterly confident that the Plan has been arrived at in the best interests of the village as a whole.

Most importantly ... there is no Plan B.

If Haddenham residents reject the Neighbourhood Plan in the referendum, no-one is going to go back to the drawing board and reconstruct a new plan. The amount of time and effort is simply huge, and volunteers are not queuing up!

Rejecting the Plan leaves us utterly vulnerable with little or no local influence over the future growth and development of the village in the short and medium term.

No wonder that commercial developers are distributing literature and allegedly funding a website to promote a NO vote!

By voting YES on Thursday to accept the Neighbourhood Plan, we can at least be reassured that we have a legal instrument in place which will have to be taken into account by AVDC, County planners and wider planning authorities when they examine future planning applications for Haddenham.

I will doubtless be accused by some readers of abusing my access to this website to promote my own views. However, I sincerely believe that the single biggest service this website can provide for Haddenham at this time is to help secure a YES vote for the village.

The importance of a YES vote cannot be overstated.

Don't let the self-serving commercial interests win.

Please vote YES on Thursday.

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