Planning & Conservation
From time to time the Society feel the need to comment on planning proposals, conservation area matters, building developments, etc. On some occasions the Society are specifically invited to get involved whether it be by the County, District or Town Councils or local pressure groups.
When we do submit an objection or comments it is done on behalf of the Committee. In order to submit an objection on behalf of the Society it would need us to canvass the opinion of the whole membership and that is not very practical. A prime example are the Gavray Drive development proposals. Although information has been provided by one of our members and a petition signed by members and submitted, it was not a BLHS petition. Similarly, although a letter was submitted to Cherwell objecting to the proposals to allocate the area as a strategic housing site, the letter was sent as coming from the Committee and not the full membership. Subsequently, when the Chairman, Bob Hessian, spoke at the local plan enquiry in December 2014, it was on behalf of the Committee.
However, now we have a monthly Newsletter and more people helping with the website it may be possible to discuss planning issues with the membership if it's felt appropriate.
Details of the Garay Drive/Meadows issue:
Gavray Meadows is situated on the edge of Bicester sandwiched between the London (Marleybone)/Banbury railway line to the north and Gavray Drive to the south. The ring road forms the eastern boundary and the new link between the Oxford/Bicester line and the London/Banbury line cuts across the western boundary. Developers initially wanted to build on the whole site but now have reduced their requirements. However, this still takes a substantial part of these ancient water meadows. Apart from the rare flora and fauna that lives there, the area is of historic and archaeological interest interest. The area used to be in the parish of Launton and Pat Tucker, from Launton History Society, has been able to determine field names and ownership back to the early 17th Century. Comparison of the old tithe maps and the current view from Google Earth demonstrates that the field patterns have not changed in that period. Along with the ancient hedgerows and remains of medieval ridge and furrow, the Society feels that it is so unique to Bicester and the surrounding area that it should be preserved and be of educational value and a heritage asset for the town.
See the older map and Sateliite image of the area for comparison here
This is the letter sent to Cherwell District Council, objecting to their proposal that Gavray Drive be allocated as a strategic housing site as part of the Cherwell Plan.
You can follow the current situation on the following Facebook page: www.facebook.com/savegavraywildlifemeadows