An outbreak of planning good sense

I have had plenty of opportunities to rail against Cherwell’s approach to planning so am pleased to report a recent outbreak of good planning sense.  This is not down to Cherwell planning officers who recommended refusal nor to County Council highways who also recommended refusal.  The outbreak of good planning sense is down to elected members on the Planning Committee.

nurseryThe application in question was for change of use from office to a day nursery at The Hub, Twyford Mill, Oxford Road, Adderbury.  The planning reference was 12/01744/F.   This was a repeat application by an enterprising Adderbury lady who has identified a real need for this facility in Adderbury and who appears to have the necessary skills and determination to make it work.  The first application was dismissed out of hand because the applicant had largely put it together herself and had not understood the bureaucratic hoops through which an application has to go these days.

The second application was accompanied by the necessary twaddle about sustainability,  transport and travel planning.  Despite a lot verbiage and, I suspect, substantial cost, the officer recommendation was for refusal.  This facility will cater for 34 young children with  8 staff.  It will provide care for 50 weeks in the year, Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm – precisely what many parents in Adderbury desperately need and cannot currently find.  The reasons for refusal were

  • the location would encourage car travel and parents would not be able to walk or cycle to the nursery.  As if the vast majority of parents with very young children would feel able to do this!
  • the location is beyond the built up village and has poor pedestrian access.  Who is responsible for providing adequate pedestrian access?  The County Council, of course; precisely the people who are recommending refusal on the grounds of their own inadequacy of provision.

Fortunately, Cllr Nigel Randall, District Councillor for Adderbury addressed the Planning Committee and stressed the need for good nursery provision throughout the year for five days per week for the full working day and the absurdity of expecting parents with very young children to walk or cycle with their offspring.  Elected members apparently saw sense and over turned the officer recommendation by voting for approval subject to conditions.   I wish this much needed project every success and give my thanks to elected members on the Planning Committee who allowed good common sense to overcome politically correct box ticking or crossing.

About Keith R Mitchell CBE

Qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1967. Pursued a successful career in financial training and publishing until selling his interests in 1990. Elected a County Councillor for the Bloxham Division in 1989. Leader of Oxfordshire County Council 5 November 2001 to 15 May 2012. Chairman of the South East England Regional Planning Committee July 2002 to July 2005. Chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly July 2005 to July 2008. In HM the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours, appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of services to local government.
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