Clifton Hampden Village Voice

We are delighted to welcome the contribution of ‘Old Jabez’ whose regular blog on this website is encouraging discussion around all things relating to the Parish – be sure to check in regularly for updates or keep an eye on our Twitter posts!

In recent months, many residents of Burcot and Clifton Hampden Villages have become increasingly concerned about the lack of openness and transparency around the proposed Neighbourhood Development Order (NDO) and the decisions being made by the Parish Council and various Steering Groups without proper governance, open dialogue and robust consultation with the residents that are directly impacted.

We are gathering the views of residents via a Village Survey and and allowing them to have their say and exchange views on development in Clifton Hampden via Twitter.

We appreciate not everyone has (or wants!) Twitter access so we have also setup a blind copy (bcc) mailing list to communicate key information to residents. Please use the Contact Us form to request your e-mail address be added to this list.

We have also added a Fact Checker page to keep an eye on what we’re hearing from the Parish Council and SODC.

See the Village Survey Results so far or review comments left by residents below.


Feedback from Burcot & Clifton Hampden Residents

. . . It appears to be a commercially driven project, run by a small group of individuals, mostly with vested interests, who have not consulted properly and seem unconcerned by governance breaches. There is a lack of sensitivity and it is being pushed through in lockdown.
. . .Why are the Steering Group so scared of letting the people have a voice? Why claim they have overwhelming support when they simultaneously claim that they haven’t looked at responses yet?
. . . I strongly object to the invention of “Very Special Circumstances” by the commercial developers and the Steering Committee in order to get permission for an NDO and build on Greenbelt land. The very same Committee that campaigned so vigorously against the Quarry development and the need to protect Clifton Hampden’s Greenbelt!
. . .We need full consultation and the project should be put on hold during lockdown.
. . . .There is no mandate for the scale of development that the NDO entails. There has been no dialogue with impacted residents.
. . . The new surgery with its zinc roof looks like an industrial building and does not fit in with the village architecture or the neighbouring village hall.
. . . I think there should be a village referendum-style vote, such as the type they have in Switzerland. This is our village.
. . . This appears to be nothing more than a purely commercial venture by the Developer and Landowner, that has been disguised as being for the’ benefit of the community’ and ‘engineered’ through the NDO Steering Group, to ‘work around’ SODC green-belt development rules.
. . . As a resident I am wholly against the development of greenbelt land in Clifton Hampden. . . . it seems to me that all members of the NDO steering group have vested interests in this project.
. . . There is a false narrative which has been released on behalf of the developer, land owner and steering group which states that if we as residents do not agree to the housing development we will be responsible for the demise of our village school, surgery and shop. This constitutes a despicable ‘strong arming’ of residents to ‘agree’ to a commercial development project on greenbelt land that no one wants apart from the landowner and developer.
. . . Community consultation is conspicuous by it’s absence and communications have been based on fear-mongering, with not transparency of the real issues and impacts this development will have to the village (destruction of the greenbelt, noise and traffic pollution, increased risk of flooding, future uncontrolled development, etc). This project needs to be put on hold, independently reviewed and the community engaged.
. . . Living in Watery Lane [For many years] we are directly affected by the Allotment housing proposal. I did complete the [Developer Consultation] survey. I was concerned about the length of time given. The whole project seemed to be missing any caring approach which I feel is an outstanding feature of this village. The wrong thing at the wrong time.
. . .The general email recently sent by the Chairman through the village email distribution list completely and publicly dismissed out of hand that there are numerous residents who are extremely unhappy with the plan, by stating that the overwhelming majority are in favour.
. . . Really concerned about the decimation of our green spaces – we’re going to be boxed in by roads, and traffic noise is already awful. So depressing that a peaceful nature haven is being destroyed. ‘Rewilding’ the other (smaller) part of the area is a copout and takes years. There will be considerable damage to wildlife habitats.
. . .This doesn’t feel like a democratic neighbourhood decision, a few individuals with vested interests have spoken on behalf of those with no voice. Also those not living in Clifton Hampden should not be allowed to vote on its development, of course they’re going to vote yes for a plan that doesn’t impact them.
. . . Everything about the plan loads the burden into one very small area of the parish and hence heavily impacts the residents near that spot – close to an already extremely busy & dangerous crossroads. There are plenty of other open spaces towards the outskirts of the villages.
. . . The proposals are overly large, commercial, not aligned with village needs, negatively impact the village and residents and the governance and procedures to get to this point inadequate and contrary to policy.
. . . The timing of the steering group’s public ‘consultation’ couldn’t possibly have been worse, in terms of adding to existing stress levels during the pandemic. The steering group seems to [have] NO clue what families in the village are going through at the moment, and to be given 2 weeks to respond – in the run up to Christmas – was a joke. Perhaps this is exactly why they have decided to progress it now whilst everyone is otherwise occupied.
. . . Approval of a National Development Order means no further need for any planning permission applications. The majority of the community are completely unaware of this potential bombshell and, therefore, the speed with which this development might progress without further consultation.
. . . It appears to be a commercially driven project, run by a small group of individuals, mostly with vested interests, who have not consulted properly and seem unconcerned by governance breaches. There is a lack of sensitivity and it is being pushed through in lockdown.
. . . This is supposed to be a community led project and yet we were given just two weeks to give feedback, during a national lockdown, with no open consultation and no legal way to discuss with our neighbours and friends in the village. The whole thing feels developer led and it being is steered/bulldozed through by a group who seem to be deaf to the concerns and wishes of the community.
. . .Building more houses on green belt will spoil the charm and character of the village, flooding will increase and where will the additional traffic go when both bridges are closed due to flooding as was the case at Christmas. There will be long queues of traffic affecting air quality and noise levels will increase.
. . .The steering group appear invested in the NDO in spite of clear opposition from those who it will impact the most – for a committee which is intended to represent the village, they seem reluctant to hear its wishes.
. . . what plans are there to protect existing flora and fauna in the unmaintained parts? The lupins growing wild there are a feature enjoyed by many walkers and a resident barn owl uses fruit trees on one side to swoop silently across the farm parcel of land. I’ve also encountered roe deer, muntjac, foxes, green and lesser-spotted woodpeckers in that space adjoining Thame Lane.
. . . I feel that the information has not been made readily available to everyone of all age groups and walks of life, also in the proper and correct format, in paper form, in verbal/ face to face meetings , I feel it has been rushed through to benefit others . Clifton Hampden is a beautiful village and needs NOT to lose its character and charm through unnecessary gaudy developments.
. . . I am concerned how a few newcomers try to take control of this so called village – everything seems to be done for others and not for actual residents.
. . . It seems that the NDO is being pushed by some for their own self interests and not for the benefit of the village. Those with conflicts of interests should consider stepping down from the Steering Group/Parish Council as they are conflicted.
. . . I previously lived in a village going through an NDP, and there were frequent meetings, surveys etc involving all the villagers. Everybody was asked to vote on all sites that were put forward, rating them ‘best’ to ‘worst’, so the committee could get a view of what the residents wanted. All the results were shared.
. . . I have never been in favour of building on Greenbelt land, especially giving up a lovely rural landscape behind the houses on the High Street for more housing. The area is being inundated with development. Clifton is hanging on to its rural feel by its fingernails.
. . . I am particularly concerned about two issues: a) the lack of any ‘green’ element in any part of the proposed development. I firmly believe that all new housing and community developments should be carbon neutral. None of the proposed buildings have any ‘green’ element; b) Only lip-service has been paid to the issue of allotments. There is no power or water assigned for the allotments on the proposed development, without which they will not function. Access to allotments is an important right for everyone, particularly in these days of pandemic and inadequate food security. The PC has allowed the allotments in Clifton Hampden to fall into disuse through lack of encouragement. It is a huge village resource that it being sacrificed.
. . . I worry about increased flooding in Watery Lane. My garden is prone to water run-off from the field. More building will mean more run-off. The proposed new houses are far too close to existing houses and will have direct views into my garden and house. Where are the bungalows or other suitable accommodation for older residents?
. . . Many years ago I would walk past the Allotments with the children on the way to school – we enjoyed the space, the trees, birds and other wildlife. All this will be gone forever when it is covered by houses. I am also concerned about flooding on both sites. Whatever happens, it must be honest and democratic. As far as I am aware, we were never told that there would be 20 houses on one of the sites – that is totally outrageous and misleading!
. . . The two proposed developments are within Greenbelt and the Clifton Hampden Conservation area. This doesn’t seem to bother them. The Steering Committee are ploughing on with this destructive plan regardless. The Parish Council, in the past, has opposed such development. Now it has its own plan there is a complete about turn which contradicts its own policies. The plan is misconceived and bears no relationship to the survey results from 5 years ago. Just as it ignored that survey they have announced that they will ignore the results of this survey. Don’t let that deter you from making your comments. And the flooding! Watery Lane on 30 January! River up this week and water coming off the Paddocks site down to High Street!
. . . The two proposed developments are within Greenbelt and the Clifton Hampden Conservation area. This doesn’t seem to bother them. The Steering Committee are ploughing on with this destructive plan regardless. The Parish Council, in the past, has opposed such development. Now it has its own plan there is a complete about turn which contradicts its own policies. The plan is misconceived and bears no relationship to the survey results from 5 years ago. Just as it ignored that survey they have announced that they will ignore the results of this survey. Don’t let that deter you from making your comments. And the flooding! Watery Lane on 30 January! River up this week and water coming off the Paddocks site down to High Street!
. . . Very concerned about the impact of the development on flooding. Even in the days which have just past, Watery Lane has flooded and also property. It can take no more water from the proposed site.
. . . I accept a small number of properties would be beneficial, however, I question the present proposal as it is now very close to properties in Watery Lane. Particularly the ones at the far end. Two storey properties would mean they may be able to look directly into properties and gardens. I question why there hasn’t been a proposal to build properties in Burcot as there are several fields that are no longer farmed or grazed. I have lived in Burcot for nearly 50 years and would not have an issue with this.
. . . I feel that the information has not been made readily available to everyone of all age groups and walks of life, also in the proper and correct format, in paper form, in verbal/ face to face meetings , I feel it has been rushed through to benefit others. Clifton Hampden is a beautiful village and needs NOT to lose its character and charm through unnecessary gaudy developments.