Campaigners against a development on the edge of an ancient woodland are taking their fight to the High Court.

Friends of the West Oxfordshire Cotswolds are seeking a judicial review of West Oxfordshire District Council's decision to discharge conditions on planning consent for 37 homes at Rushy Bank just outside Charlbury.

The conditions relate to the protection of the adjoining ancient woodland which the campaigners say have not been met and cannot be met.

Following publication of an article in the Oxford Mail in which we reported the group were taking legal action against the council, it received a response from them denying any flaw in its approval.

READ AGAIN: Legal challenge against Rushy Bank on the edge of Charlbury

The council also disclosed unpublished revised plans for the development. 

A spokesperson said: "We have now issued a claim for judicial review in the High Court and expect that case to be heard around the end of the year.

"We feel that the need for this action has in large part been caused by the council’s failure to publish or disclose revised plans submitted by the applicant on 6th July, which we had sight of only three working days before the claim deadline.

"The plans acknowledge the errors we highlighted in the location of the woodland site boundary and the consequence that the approved five-metre woodland buffer cannot be achieved. 

"The new plans propose further reductions in the buffer, in one corner eliminating the buffer entirely.

"This is in the context of the 15-metre minimum buffer specified in Natural England standing advice and required under West Oxfordshire’s Local Plan.

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"The closest dwelling has been consented to 1.5 metres from the woodland edge."

FOWOC said it believes that the conditions which the council has discharged - said have been complied with - have not, and in some cases cannot, be satisfied. 

It said: "We are in no doubt that the felling of the woodland was a direct result of this poorly planned development and it is now beholden on the council to ensure that the woodland is granted the protections to which it is entitled for its replanting to succeed."

Developer HarperCrewe run by Adrian Bloor, formerly of Bloor Homes, has begun work at the site and "has not even erected the tree protection fencing along the woodland edge which it was required to do before starting work on site", said FOWOC.



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