Have You Heard About The Marina?

You may have seen reports that the landowner of a site adjoining the River Thames, next to the by-pass bridge, is proposing a gravel pit the size of 25 football pitches (to be converted into a marina once extraction has finished).


CAGE recently joined with many other campaign groups in the county to object to the County Council’s redrafted plans for more gravel pits. It did so because it demonstrated that the council’s plans were based on flawed arguments: the government recommends using a 10-year average of past sales to calculate future requirements and on this basis there is no need for new pits in the county. The county council’s draft plan still has to go before a government inspector.


The “scoping” application made by the owner of the land adjoining the Thames is premature: it should be rejected until the county council’s plans have been passed by the government inspector. If the inspector finds that there is no need for new pits, then that will be the end of the matter. If the landowner wishes to put in an application for a marina (on land that floods annually) then that application should go to South Oxfordshire District Council to be judged on its merits and not be used as bait for a gravel pit application before OCC’s Minerals & Waste Plan has been approved.


Goring Gap Gantry Gathering

It seems that Network Rail are starting to listen to concerns over the ugly gantrys that they are starting to erect over their railway lines.

If you would like to add your voice to the growing numbers of people who are opposing these ugly installations Network Rail are holding a drop-in event TODAY at South Stoke village hall from 12 noon to 8pm.

Network Rail have suggested there is scope for replacing the gantries with more sympathetic designs, but only if the consultation shows people care.

You can also sign a petition at savegoringgap.org.uk

SODC scam

I’ve just heard that people are getting letters, purporting to come from SODC, offering a council tax refund.
Needless to say, there is a fee associated with this “service” – £70.
So if you hear of anyone who has received this letter please let them know it is a scam.

Celsea Place Update

The agents for Celsea Place have submitted an appeal against “non determination” as the District Council have not made up their collective minds on the proposed development within the time allowed to them.

This is not good news. In Benson where the district allowed this to happen the Planning Inspector allowed the appeal and as a result the village will be getting 120 extra houses in a location that they had not planned for.

Further, with the government’s presumption in favour of sustainable development there is pressure on inspectors to allow these “rogue” developments.

We will have a fight on our hands to stop this, but I truly believe that, at this stage, Celsea Place is not the right area to be developed as our village grows.  This kind of ad hoc development is not good in general and is a disaster for Cholsey in particular.

Chinooks Come To Benson

This evening I attended the briefing run by the RAF to look at the imminent changes at Benson.
The Merlin helicopters currently based at Benson are leaving to join the Royal Navy and will be replaced by Chinooks on 22nd October.
Outwardly there will be very little change, but even the station leadership admit that the Chinook is a much noisier beast than the machines which they are replacing.
The RAF plan to fly two Chinooks a day plus air testing and night flying. They claim that a significant amount of the flying will be away from the local area.
In order to minimise noise the RAF plan to limit flying times, use relief landing grounds, confined area training and use of other airfields. 
At the meeting it was obvious there is considerable concern about noise, but the base commander wouldn’t be drawn on the level to which it would be greater than at present.
For most people the greatest issue is over flying at night, particularly in the summer.