Exercising my rights to protest

Sir – As a concerned Brize Norton resident who will be directly affected by the West Oxfordshire District Council’s proposal to build 700 homes on the Carterton East site I displayed two protest placards from my garden fence on Monday, November 26, ahead of the district council’s roadshow in the Elder Bank Hall on November 27.

I received a copy of a letter from West Oxfordshire District Council on November 29, from the secretary to Brize Norton Parish Council, warning that my and other residents’ placards were unauthorised advertisements and threatening us with prosecution if they were not removed within 48 hours.

I am not advertising anything, I am exercising my rights to protest and to freedom of speech as advocated by Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron in the House of Commons the other week.

Clause (3) of Section 149 of the Highways Act 1980 states: “The authority shall not exercise their power under subsection (2) above until the expiration of one month from the date of service of the notice”; not the 48 hours quoted in the council letter.

The speed of West Oxfordshire District Council’s response to the protest in the village, their desire to push through controversial planning consultation in six weeks during the busy run-up to Christmas and the misrepresentation of: planning precedent, sustainability appraisal, flood risk management and infrastructure development displayed at their roadshow in the Elder Bank Hall on Tuesday, November 27, begs the question: “What is driving the council’s cabinet into promoting such a bad planning decision?”

Philip Squire, Station Road, Brize Norton

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