Charlbury Neighbourhood Forum Update: November 2017
The housing question
Work is continuing on a Neighbourhood Development Plan for Charlbury. The biggest question is housing: how much the town needs, where it should go and the size and type. A report is underway looking at local housing needs. This will provide evidence on the affordability problem in Charlbury as well as the need for specialist housing for elderly or disabled residents.
In the spring, we invited landowners and developers to come forward with proposals for development sites. We received two responses, which will be considered once we have a better understanding of the scale of housing needed. You may wonder why we are looking for development sites. This is because West Oxfordshire’s Local Plan will require a certain amount of new development within our area. If we can identify our preferred sites for future development in the Neighbourhood Plan, this will give us more control over its location and of the mix of housing to be built on the site. If we do not do this, we will be reliant on sites put forward by developers which might not meet the needs of the town and may not be well located.
Preserving Charlbury’s Character
Protecting Charlbury’s heritage and character is a priority for the Neighbourhood Plan. This is why we are carrying out a “character assessment” of the town. A team of 24 volunteers are, between them, visiting every street and green space in the parish. Their assessment will include the buildings, spaces, views and greenery.
Some volunteers have specialist skills in architecture, heritage conservation or local history, whereas others have no particular experience and are learning “on the job”. Their work will be drawn together into a single report providing an assessment of Charlbury as seen by local people. This will be used to produce policies to protect and enhance the town’s character. For example, these could be to ensure new development fits the character of the town, important features are preserved and valued views are protected. Results should be available in January.