St Mary's Church, Thame
By Haddenham Webteam - 4th February 2015 6:00pm
We understand that several residents of Haddenham have written to the Director of Glebe and Buildings for the Diocese of Oxford, to express concern over the part played by the Diocese in the recent planning application for glebe and agricultural land to the north of Tiggywinkles. The following is the letter received in reply by one such resident, on Wednesday 4th February:
Thank you for your undated letter which I received yesterday, and for setting out your concerns clearly.
The Diocese is not a party to the planning application, and it was not in our gift to delay or withdraw it as neither Lightwood nor their agents are employed by us.
In 2013 we were expressly asked by the Parish Council's Neighbourhood Plan Working Group and District Council to demonstrate that we were working in conjunction with the adjoining landowners, who are represented by Lightwood. We have been pleased to be included within the early stages of the Neighbourhood Plan process, although we have been disappointed that that dialogue did not continue in the period that Lightwood prepared and submitted the planning application.
We have written to the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group acknowledging the extensive work undertaken, however in our response our consultants have had to point out that the Neighbourhood Plan needs to conform with the Local Plan; at present there are inconsistencies in both housing numbers and appraisals of sites suitable for development.
Please note that the draft Neighbourhood Plan does already include Glebe land for housing development, it presently provides for 85 houses and I suspect in practice most of the other houses that Haddenham will be required to take by Aylesbury Vale DC will be developed on land outside our control.
We were instrumental in persuading Lightwood to reduce the housing numbers from 350 to 280 late last year as you will have seen. The Diocese are willing to discuss any Reserved Matters application with both Parish and District Councils as we wish to influence the design and uses to ensure that the Glebe is developed in a sensitive and timely manner.
There is a good opportunity here for the Diocese to work with the community to provide not only much needed private housing, but also housing for the elderly and those unable to purchase their own homes.
In addition there is an urgent need to provide a new burial ground close to St. Mary's Church and the Diocese is willing to dedicate land to the Parish or District Council for this purpose, together with further land for public open space or other appropriate uses as required.
Director of Glebe and Buildings
Diocesan Church House, North Hinksey Lane, Oxford OX2 0NB
Direct line: 01865 208230
Mobile 07889 868483