Chris Church of Oxford Friends of the Earth and a veteran of 1980s road campaigns, says: “We have to make this so politically toxic that no one will pin their flag to it. We also need to demonstrate that there are viable alternatives.”
According to Church, these include the Varsity rail link to restore direct Oxford-Cambridge trains, and developing brownfield sites and rezoning underused retail parks for housing in Oxford to put affordable homes where jobs are.
Not serious. If you want to be taken seriously come up with a plan that adds up to 1 million homes, not a few hundred from retail warehouse parks
Brownfield sites are already included in each districts HELAAs and its hundreds of thousands short.
Please if you want to be taken seriously
Get out some maps
Map what is already included in terms of planning permission and HELLA sites
Then suggest some new sites so you don’t double count
If you are planning homes around stations on the varsity line please also understand many people will need to get buses to those stations, industry and shops will need deliveries and yes some people will use cars. A million homes will inevitably need new roads, and these problems wont go away if you image some fantasy ‘tup’ north’ area where they might be easier when in fact it is likely to be much more constrained and certainty as biodiversity sensitive.
So get real if you arn’t proposing, realsitically, where it should go you are just a NIMBY in a fake green emperors new clothes outfit.
This is not to suggest you shouldn’t build in sustainable locations, but there arnt simply enough sites within 20 minutes waling distances of stations existing or proposed. So that will mean having to build BRT or some such, and that will mean some new roads even if bus only. And they will involve just as much habitat loss as roads with cars. So the answer – plan routes which avoid sensitive sites and create as much habitat in new towns as you can.
If course if you can’t agree a plan for fear of someone criticise it you become an ERG like joke.
Perhaps unintentionally the Colchester Compromise undoes the fatal flaw in the submitted scheme.
Part iii is the key – without the road link and other infrastructure it wont go ahead.
Tbis is brilliant though probably unintentional as it now puts Marks Tey in the territory of the ‘Point Gaude’ principle. Brilliant this now puts the valuation of the land in a no scheme world of agricultural value + compensation rather than housing minus infrastructure. And compensation that is far less than market value by ECJ precedent – see here. That will add around 8-10 billion pounds on the positive side of the balance sheet.
What this means is the following can be cast into the dustbin and need re-evaluating with a fresh and open mind as they deal with a completely different scheme.
CAUSE’s etc. own viability appraisal
The inspectors decision on option 2 having regard to 1
CAUSE’s counsels opinion based on 2.
So lets move on – a suggested way forward
A. A completely independent valuation of fourth way options
B. Training of all cllrs from the three authorities on understanding viability appraisals and SEA as they have asked.
C. Following the viability appraisal independent counsels opinion on what options are now ‘reasonable alternatives’
D. SEA – again fully independent
E. Decision on Major modification etc.
All of the above should be commissioned through a joint panel including CAUSE and other groups, and I would recommend chaired by n indpendent broker – such as Kevin Murray who has a fine reputation in this regard on major proposals.
Lets not get bogged down in the argument about whether the inspectors first option is reasonable having regard to the Grand Union principles, its now longer determinate, the real issue now is what gets consulted on in terms of teh first way.
The Grasslands Trust team blog about nature conservation and broader environmental issues, always with a focus on our threatened grassland habitats. The views in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of the Trust.