Time to take a stand against over-development

First published in Letters
Last updated

Sir – I applaud your editorial line that Crest Nicholson, the developer seeking to build 1,000 houses outside Carterton on Alvescot Down, “is unlikely to earn itself any friends with such a hasty approach” (April 23).

Of course there’s a market for more houses, just as for more cars or more alcohol, but society has decided that such markets should be controlled. We might argue about the degree of control, but we mostly agree that there should be one.

However, the arguments about housing are too often driven by outrageous waffle from rapacious developers, and then become bogged down in nit-picking technical detail.

Land that is built on is lost – to agriculture, as a play area, to look at, as a space in which to breathe, as what makes England a green and pleasant land. Towns are vital, but so are the spaces in between.

For a while, Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron’s ‘localism’ strategy recognised this; local people should have a real say in reshaping their bit of turf.

Our own district council adopted a solid consultation-based approach to a Local Plan.

Now the bean-counters and the greedy boys seem to have taken over again: we have a so-called ‘market assessment’ of ‘housing need’ that is immediately disagreed with, even by the councils which commissioned it, and developers like Crest Nicholson soft-soaping us with “The Shill Valley would be enhanced” with 1,000 houses.

We have a well-run district council, our MP is Prime Minister, West Oxfordshire is a wonderful place. Let’s capitalise on this, and plant our flag on Alvescot Down. Let’s say ‘no’ to Carterton West. Let’s make this a turning point.

Richard Martin, Filkins

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