News Archive 2017


Villagers examine Neighbourhood Plan policies

Steeple Aston residents had the chance to examine detailed proposals from the Mid-Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan Forum at a meeting in the Village Hall on January 24th.

The meeting was one of several held during the month so that residents of the 11 villages included in the plan could have their say on the policy proposals before they are presented to Cherwell District Council, hopefully in April.

Steeple Aston Parish Councillor and Chair of the Forum Martin Lipson told the meeting that the aim of the plan was to restrict development to within designated areas in order to enable the villages and the landscape to retain their historic character.

In addition to these policies, the Forum has developed a Community Action Plan to move forward with issues that are not strictly part of the planning remit, such as requiring utility providers to improve their services in the area.

After submission to the district council, the plan will be sent to an independent examiner who may require changes before a referendum can take place. It is hoped that the process will be completed by the end of the year.

In his monthly bulletin on the progress of the Plan, Parish Council Chairman, John Coley writes: “We can look forward to 2017 as the year in which all our work on MCNP comes to fruition. As you know, we are starting the year with community engagement meetings. They will tell us, after all our drafting and discussions, whether any of the policies need adjustment to meet with your approval.

“Local Green Spaces have been nominated by many of our parish councils and these will now go into the Plan. These will add extra protection from development to valued community spaces.

“We have been instrumental in setting up a group meeting for all those Cherwell parishes who are in the process of forming Neighbourhood Plans (Cherwell District Council having declined to set this up). The first meeting to share experiences and knowledge gained will be “in the middle of February.

“The Plan Forum has received Government funding to commission a consultancy firm to undertake a Heritage and Character Assessment of all the larger settlements in the neighbourhood area (and their surroundings). The report will sit alongside our policies to make sure that future development fits in with the special ambience (lovely word, that) and history of our part of Oxfordshire. This will take place over the next few weeks, ready to go into the Plan Report.”

To see the draft policies proposed, and the Community Action Plan, please click here

For more information about the Forum, go to their website:

Draft planning policies published before community meetings

Draft policies produced by the Mid Cherwell Neighbourhood Plan Forum have been published in advance of a series of community engagement meetings to be held during January. Villagers should have already received a leaflet summarising the policies and inviting them to a meeting to discuss them.

The Steeple Aston meeting will be on Tuesday, January 24th at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. But if that date isn’t convenient, you are welcome to attend any of the other meetings listed below.

Steeple Aston Parish Council Chairman, John Coley writes: “All 24 draft policies have now been published, and community engagement meetings in January 2017 have been announced. You should have a leaflet summarising the policies together with a lot of additional information, and you can see the full policies on

“In January, we will be holding our final round of community engagement meetings. At each of the events below there will be a display of the final draft Policies of the Neighbourhood Plan, together with maps showing the proposed Settlement Areas and nominations for Local Green Spaces that our parish councils want to see incorporated in the Plan.

“There will also be opportunities for discussion with members of the Neighbourhood Plan Forum representing your community, and a question and answer session. Each meeting will cover the same neighbourhood-wide agenda for all 11 parishes, so you are welcome to attend whichever is most convenient.

Saturday, 14th January        2.00 – 4.00pm, Reading Room, Upper Heyford

Sunday, 22nd January         10.00am – 12.00pm, Village Hall, Ardley

Tuesday 24th January          7.30 – 9.00pm, Village Hall, Steeple Aston

Wednesday, 25th January    7.00 – 9.00pm, Nicholson Orchard Barn, North Aston

Thursday 26th January        7.00 – 8.30pm, Village Hall, Somerton

Saturday, 28th January        10.00am – 12.00pm, St. Mary’s Church, Lower Heyford

Saturday, 28th January        10.00am – 1.00pm at Heyford Park Community Centre

Saturday, 28th January        3.00 – 5.00pm, Village Hall, Kirtlington

Monday, 30th January         7.30 – 9.00pm, Village Hall, Fritwell

“We have had wide-ranging meetings with Cherwell District Council to persuade them of the need for certain policies and to ensure that they all comply with national and local planning legislation. After the January meetings, MCNP has to make the full draft Plan document publicly available, in the run-up to formal submission in the Spring.”

If you aren’t able to attend a meeting, you can still read the policies and leave your comments on the Forum’s website