Sir – Your readers should be aware of the facts behind the North Witney Action Group’s fear that the placing of 1,000 houses between Witney and Hailey is a serious threat.

Our claims are based on two reports by engineers, paid for by the North Witney development consortium.

One report, drawn up to support the need for the West End Link Road (WEL), says any increase in water levels in the immediate flood plain above the town in a one-in-100 year scenario would be “negligible”. However “negligible” is interpreted as an increase of 39mm or 1.5 inches. Hardly negligible when seen in the context of previous flood levels; while the one-in-100 year desktop scenario is now totally discredited given the frequent weather patterns we now experience.

Residents should also be alarmed at the revelation in the report, dated January 2015, but not acknowledged in the Local Plan submission. This reveals six industrial sized ponds, each the size of a Wembley Stadium pitch, to be built on land south east of Poffley End.

Their sheer size places them within the Reservoir Act as they are intended to retain 60 million litres of water, equivalent to 25 Olympic sized swimming pools. We question their legality in the planning process as they have been positioned outside of the ‘Strategic Development Area’ (SDA) and on higher ground, therefore not part of the Local Plan submission and only capable of capturing one of three water courses passing in to and through the site.

The planning inspector has given WODC a second opportunity to draw back from a catastrophic mistake. For the future of Witney we need to challenge every councillor to agree to this action. We would encourage all to see the facts on

Stuart Harrison
North Witney Action Group