Sir – With reference to your report on April 23 about proposed housing developments in Carterton, I was surprised that Crest Nicholson was so blatant about taking advantage of the ‘policy vacuum’.
These days, developers prefer to appear altruistic and not quite so obviously self-interested.
The developer has pressed for a decision on Carterton West by June 16, in an attempt to leapfrog other applications.
In reality, it only submitted a letter and application form on March 19.
The documents and fee weren’t submitted until March 28, according to covering letters on West Oxfordshire District Council’s website. It would therefore be ambitious to expect a decision by June 16.
Applications for simple extensions can take longer than this and Crest’s submission came with a colossal volume of repetitious documentation.
In reality, strategic sites should be decided through the Local Plan process, and not via aggressive and speculative applications, whatever the current policy status. In any event, there’s an adopted Local Plan in place and a draft of its replacement.
The recent Strategic Housing Market Assessment threw a spanner in the works by suggesting a vastly increased target, but then it was written by a property consultant.
There’s much to challenge in the SHMA’s content, in my view.
It’s not mandatory for the district council to follow its recommendations. It’s unfair for the council to be placed in this hiatus by higher-level politics, when it has been the county’s best-performing district in terms of exceeding housing targets.
Crest Nicholson’s submission clarifies that the Carterton West estate would increase daily traffic in Alvescot Road, from 3,400 vehicles each way to 8,400.
Flood mitigation proposals are flawed. Valuable landscape and a popular walking destination would also be lost.
Now is the time for us as residents to make localism really count, by sharing our views on this audacious application with the district council by tomorrow.
Justine Garbutt, Alvescot Road, Alvescot