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Statement from St Mary's Church

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Following the recent decision by AVDC's Strategic Development Management Committee to grant outline planning permission for 280 houses on glebe and agricultural land bounded by Aston Road, and Stanbridge Road, the following statement has been issued on behalf of St Mary's Parish Church.

The vicar and churchwardens of St Mary's church are extremely sad to read some of the comments on Haddenham.net regarding the proposed development at Aston Road/ Stanbridge Road. Like the writers, we and many of the worshipping community in Haddenham, are disappointed with the way the AVDC decision was arrived at, and understand the frustration felt by many. However, apportioning blame incorrectly isn't helpful, and the facts regarding the involvement of the Oxford Diocese & St Mary's are being disregarded.

We would wish to firmly reiterate what we and the Oxford Diocese have already expressed:

* St Mary's Parish Church has had no involvement in the outline planning application.

* St Mary's Parish Church has no financial interest in this matter and will gain no financial benefit should this planning application come to pass.

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

* Lightwood has not been engaged by the Oxford Diocese, and cannot speak for them, as appears to have been the case at the AVDC Committee meeting on 28 January.

* In fact Lightwood has made the outline planning application not the Oxford Diocese.

* Lightwood has been engaged by the other landowner who owns some 50% of the land in question.

* Should this application come to fruition then the Oxford Diocese has undertaken to work with the Parish and District Councils as well as the other land owner and developer to ensure any development is sensitive to the needs of the community and the environment.

St Mary's church exists to serve & minister to the village & community of Haddenham and clearly has the best interests of the village at its heart. Virtually all of St Mary's congregation are village residents. There is no other motive. We hope & pray that anyone who may be feeling hurt or disappointed because of misinformation will be reassured.

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