News on the Charney Bassett Neighbourhood Plan

Charney Bassett Neighbourhood Plan

When VWHDC produced its draft Local Plan 2026 Charney Bassett was designated in that Plan as a “smaller village”. VWHDC had written to the Parish Council to advise that Charney Bassett should have ten new houses. They wrote again to advise that the emerging plan showed that we should have 20 new houses! At roughly the same time Pye Homes prepared a proposal for 13 new houses on Buckland Road, and a separate developer submitted plans for four new houses behind the existing houses on the west side of Longworth Road. At about this time the Charney Bassett Action Group was formed to campaign against what it saw as uncontrolled development.

It was these factors that led us to begin preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan.

In the event, planning permission was refused on the Longworth Road development, and an appeal failed, too. We pointed out to VWHDC the error in their calculation that designated Charney Bassett as a “smaller village”, and that we should be designated “open countryside”. They accepted this, and incorporated this into their revised draft Local Plan 2031. This shows no requirement for any housing development. Pye Homes abandoned their proposal without explanation.

Our draft Neighbourhood Plan is not able to designate any sites for building because that would conflict with the draft Local Plan 2031. A Neighbourhood Plan is a land use plan. With no land designated for development that prompted the Parish Council to ask what value a Neighbourhood Plan has if it designates no land for development. That led to a meeting that we had with officers from VWHDC and ORCC in late February.

Their advice was that we do not need a Neighbourhood Plan because we are (soon to be) “open countryside” (when the Local Plan is adopted, possibly in about a year’s time). Further, designation of land for development would be counterproductive for our status as “open countryside”, because it might alert potential developers. Instead, we were advised that a Community-led Plan is more appropriate for us.

Our Steering Group had the foresight to craft its work well enough to allow either sort of plan to be prepared. So the Neighbourhood Plan work was not abortive. Simply, planning at VWHDC had moved on (partly as a result of some of the things that we in Charney Bassett had said to them). At its March meeting the Parish Council took the decision not to continue work on the Neighbourhood Plan, but instead to focus work on a Community-led Plan. This will consider a wider range of topics than was necessary for a Neighbourhood Plan. It will need further involvement of the various interest groups that contribute to the life of the village. The Steering Group has agreed to progress the Community-led Plan.

The Parish Council is most grateful to the commitment and the quality of the work done by the Steering Group. They are Hugh Brookes, Neil Dobson, Ron Smith, Victoria Smith, Sheila Terry, and Christine Trotman.

The draft Neighbourhood Plan will appear on the village website shortly, so that residents can see the results of the work undertaken. If circumstances change in the future we have the confidence that we have a robust draft Neighbourhood Plan that can be brought into play if necessary.

Stephen Cowlam,
On behalf of Charney Bassett Parish Council.
17 March 2015.

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