Gavray and SE Bicester Developments

Key Policies Map - Bicester.psdThe original planning enquiry examining Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan for the period up to 2031, which included details of proposed housing growth for Bicester, was suspended in June this year when the planning inspector considered that the housing targets may be too low.

Following this, CDC has produced modifications to the Local Plan and is now consulting on these. Full details of these proposed modifications, plus other documents relating to the Local Plan are available to download from a single CDC website page dedicated to this.

Details of special relevance to Langford residents include the Gavray Meadows development and also SE Bicester, which is the large area of agricultural land to the other side of Wretchwick Way with an allocation of 1500 homes. Maps showing the SE Bicester and Gavray areas, designated “Bicester 12″ and “Bicester 13″ can be seen here. Additional details of the Gavray area can be seen here and here, and details of the SE Bicester area here.

A Map showing an overview of the Local Plan proposals for the whole of Bicester can be viewed here.

Residents now have until 3rd October to comment on the proposed modifications ahead of a meeting of the full council on 20th October when members will vote whether to accept the revisions. If agreed, these will be put to the Inspector when the hearing is expected to resume on 9th December.

Meadow Farm

Meadow Farm (Aug '14)UPDATED 16th July 2014

Further events are being held at Meadow Farm during August and September.

Work parties looking after the habitats that form the Upper Ray Meadows continue to meet on Tuesdays 9:30am – 4pm; the next ones are 12 & 26 August and 9 & 23 September, then weekly from October. No experience is necessary – come along and give it a try. For more information contact Andy Collins, call 01869 245864 or email andycollins@bbowt.org.uk.

Family Event – Mega Meadow Moths: Saturday 6th September, from 7:45pm – 9:15pm is a chance to get up close to some of the 120 species of moths found at Meadow Farm this year. Suitable for children 7 and over. Bookings only – Tel: 01869 245864 or email: meadowfarm@bbowt.org.uk. Guided walks and talks can also be arranged for local groups. Get in touch to book for spring or summer 2015.

See here for further details. Meadow Farm is on the B4011 near between Piddington and Blackthorn (Grid ref: SP 626 188; Post code: OX25 1TW). Click here for map.

Previous article 1st July 2014

A family event is being held on Saturday 12th July to explore the wildflower meadows at Meadow Farm, Blackthorn (approximately 3 miles from Langford – see map).

The event is suitable for children over 5 years, with the opportunity to hunt for minibeasts out and about in the day, and get up close to some night-time creatures.

Booking is essential – contact 01869 245864 or email meadowfarm@bbowt.org.uk.

Further details for this event can be seen here, and additional details of Meadow Farm can be found in previous LVCA website articles dated 24 May 2014 and 25 June 2013.

Neighbourhood blitz – Langford Village 23-27 June

Neighbourhood blitz 3Cherwell District Council is organising a Neighbourhood Blitz in Langford Village during  23-27 June.

This will include a Recycling roadshow, extra pavement and road sweeping, litter picking and graffiti removal, discounted sales of blue & brown bins for £10, a one-off textile collection, fly tip removals and abandoned vehicles towed away for recycling.

Further details can be found here and here.

There will also be an opportunity for free bulky waste collections, which can be booked online.

Meadow Farm

Meadow FarmThanks to the generosity of local supporters and a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, BBOWT (Berks, Bucks, Oxon Wildlife Trust) purchased Meadow Farm, a 28ha site of rare wildflower meadows, earlier this year. This site is now integrated within the wider Upper Ray Living Landscape area, a further 100+ ha of grassland reserves which also owned and managed by BBOWT.

BBOWT is organising  a series of guided walks to explore Meadow Farm, and further details of these can be found here.

More information about Meadow Farm is  available on the Berks, Bucks, Oxon Wildlife Trust website: http://www.bbowt.org.uk/meadowfarm

Langford Community Orchard Group

OrchardDear Orchard Friends,

There’s lots of good news about the Orchard!

1. We’ve been ‘given’ an allotment on the Clay Pits site. It’s just over the fence from the Orchard. It’s big enough to have 6ft x 4ft shed to keep some tools which will be useful. So lets do some fund-raising for a shed! Please let us know if you want to help with the allotment or Orchard before the next work session as there’s lots to do. Lets think about what plans we have for it…trees…fruit bushes….more rhubarb!

2. The amazing folk at Bicester Green have made us a bench! It’s crafted with love and ingenuity! We need to decide where to site it and how to stop it being removed!

3. Bea and Steve have made a very attractive hazel ‘hedge’ to protect the newly planted currant bushes from enthusiastic mowers. It’s already saved a lovely clump of cowslips under the cooking apple tree from being cut down.

4. The ‘old’ currant bushes are sprouting new growth in response to the light and space and freedom from brambles as well as a dollop of cow manure. The strawberry plants look good and have been weeded. The pear trees have lots of blossom and the apple blossom is coming out, so here’s hoping for no late frosts and plenty of fruit this year.

5. One brave fritillary has been flowering in the ‘damp square’ also protected by Bea’s hazel twig fence.

6. We are invited to Chipping Norton Orchard’s Blossom Day. Sunday 27th April 12.00 – 3.00pm. Please see here for details and contact Pam for more. It’s great fun with food and music and a lovely community orchard to see.

Our next Orchard sessions are Thursday May 1st, Sunday May 25th, Thursday June 26th, Saturday July 26th. All at 2.00 – 4.00 pm. Tea provided! 

Please bring gardening gloves and your favourite spade/fork/trowel/shears etc.

So, what jobs need doing? 

a) The allotment needs weeding + fertilizing with manure ready for autumn planting.
b) The new currant bushes need weeding and watering and mulching.
c) Nettles under the mulberries, daffodils and the apple tree by the gate need removing
d) The bramble pile needs clearing

We look forward to seeing you and wish you a Happy Easter.
Pam, Claudia and Susan
(phone 01869-245313)

Gavray Wildlife Site

Revised Masterplan (medium)

UPDATED 5th June 2014

The planning inquiry examining Cherwell District Council’s local plan for the period up to 2031 has been suspended following comments by the planning inspector, Nigel Payne, that current housing targets may be too low. CDC may now need to make changes to the local plan, which will involve further public consultation, and the hearing could be delayed until December.

Further details from a Bicester Advertiser feature can be seen here or here.

UPDATED 26th May 2014

We hope shortly that we also can have guided walks to see wild-life at Gavray Meadows.  At the moment the ragged robin is in full flower and soon there will be early orchids out. We need your support to ensure the survival of this local wild-life site.

The Independent Examination for the Cherwell Local Plan 2006-2031 will take place at Bodicote House beginning on Tuesday 5th June at 9 30 am. The essential days when the future of Gavray Meadows should be discussed are Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th June. To support us please email councillors Dan Sames and Lynn Pratt saying that you want to preserve this site for wild-life and do not want it built on.

A recent feature on Gavray Meadows from the Bicester Review can be viewed here.

UPDATED 11th March 2014

Gallaghers have now produced a revised Masterplan for the Gavray Drive development showing a reduced area of housing.

Further details can be accessed via the CDC Planning webpage, and entering 14/00001/SCOP in the “Search” box. Select the “Documents” tab, then click on “View associated documents”.

“Scoping Report – Part 1″ (5.3Mb download) is an environmental impact assessment produced by David Lock Associates, and “Scoping Report – Part 2″ (9.6Mb download) is habitat mapping of resident wildlife compiled by Environmental Dimension Protection.

UPDATED 17th February 2014

The revised Cherwell Local Plan (Jan 2014) shows Gavray Meadows returned to its original status as a Conservation Target Area. The Key Policies Map showing this can be viewed here. Further details can be accessed on the CDC webpage “Local Plan Submission Documents” by selecting SUB01 – Part 1 (4.3Mb download) and SUB01 – Part 2 (3.6Mb download).

The retention of Gavray Meadows as part of the Ray Conservation Target Area is an achievement for our campaign, although this current submission of the Cherwell Local Plan still needs the approval of an independent planning expert, Nigel Payne.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE  19th January 2014:  Shortly the development company Gallagher Estates will be re-presenting their proposals to Cherwell District Council to build on the land between Gavray Drive and the main Chiltern railway to London Marylebone.

Whether it be 500 houses or light industry, the development will contribute a lot of extra traffic (especially construction lorries) and pollution from diesel fumes. It will also increase the risk of flooding on our estate due to more hard surfaces (roads, tarmac and roofs) being unable to absorb rain-water. You will have seen how much water accumulates already on Langford Fields.

The site was marked as a Local Wildlife Site by the Council and is still designated as such by the Thames Valley Environmental Record Centre (search for site 52W01, Oxfordshire on their website). It is a rare surviving example of unimproved neutral flood meadow grassland, classification MG4. The flora is typical of lowland meadows and/or floodplain grazing marsh, see http://www.oncf.org.uk/biodiversity/Lowland%20Meadows%20and%20Floodplain%20Grazing%20Marsh.pdf

Its area is now about 20 hectares in all, including land to the west of the Langford Brook. For comparison, the celebrated Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve at Chimney Meadow is about 27 hectares and other similar BBOWT sites are less than 10 hectares in area, with the exception of Yarnton Meads. In the whole of Oxfordshire there is only c.143 hectares of MG4 grassland.

The habitat supports many unusual butterflies, some rare such as the black hairstreak, the brown hairstreak and the grizzled skipper, which last two I have photographed (along with 16 more butterfly species) at Gavray Meadows last summer (2013). It also has a long farming history connected to farms at Launton which are fast disappearing.

If we are not to lose this superb wildlife site permanently for our children, as a place on our doorstep where we can observe and learn about wildlife, we must act now. The Bicester Advertiser is running a big article about our Campaign to Save Gavray Wildlife Site in February. Please show your support by buying the Advertiser running the article. Please also visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/savegavraywildlifemeadows and “like it.”

Because Chiltern Rail has taken up land to the north of the Gavray site and has contributed drastically to the water-table there, Gallagher will need to alter its plans for this section; Chiltern Rail has warned Gallagher that a buffer zone of 5 metres must be left between houses or gardens and the railway. We are also awaiting results of the reptile survey from the Environmental Dimension Partnership, and details regarding flooding and sewage from the Environmental Agency and Thames Water.

When the Gallaghers new Planning Application comes up for renewal (we think in March) please write to your councillors Dan Sames and Lynn Pratt cllr.daniel.sames@cherwell-dc.gov.uk. and cllr.lynn.pratt@cherwell-dc.gov.uk. saying that you value the site for wildlife, as an educational resource and as an open green-space which is not “manicured”. Lynn Pratt is also on the Town Council.

Comments on the current Planning Applications via the CDC website are now closed, but details of these applications can still be viewed via http://www.publicaccess.cherwell.gov.uk/online-applications by typing 10/01667/OUT into the search box. Full details are available in the Associated Documents  for each application.

For an overview of the development, the Gavray Drive Masterplan (2012) can be also be accessed here (7.2Mb download).

Comments on the Gavray Drive development can meanwhile still be made by email to planning@cherwell-dc.gov.uk, marking them clearly “Land between London-Birmingham Railway Line and Gavray Drive” to avoid any confusion between differently-numbered applications for this development.

Please look on our Facebook page later for more detailed instructions, or on the LVCA website.                                                                       (Patricia Clissold, January 2014)

The campaign for the Gavray Wildlife Site featured in the Bicester Advertiser on 16th January 2014. To view this article click on the following links:

1. Main Article
2. Pictures

The Wretchwick Way sub-group

At the recent AGM of Langford Village Community Association, the major topic was the Junction at Peregrine Way/Wretchwick Way, headed up by Carole Hetherington.  Sixty five concerned residents, police and councillors attended the meeting where many issues were raised about the junction with individuals giving details of their near misses and concerns. Continue reading