In recent weeks, I have been contacted by many constituents who are concerned about the volume of proposed developments currently being considered around Bicester and the surrounding villages. A multitude of planning applications for housing and industrial developments, stretching from Ardley and Baynards Green to Chesterton and Wendlebury, are causing significant concern about the possible impact on local communities and infrastructure.
It is important to note that, in line with the vast majority of other MPs, I do not ordinarily intervene in individual planning matters unless they are of particularly large scale or have generated a considerably strong response from constituents. This is because local planning applications almost always fall under the responsibility of Cherwell District Council and its Planning Committee. It is the Council's role to determine applications in line with pre-determined policies, which are largely defined by the Cherwell Local Plan.
However, it it is clear to me that there have been an unprecedented number of planning applications registered in recent months which exceed or are contrary to the vision established by the Local Plan. This plan was the result of extensive public consultation and local contributions. I therefore intend to work closely with Council officers, local Councillors and also my colleagues in Government to see what more can be done to ensure that local development is guided by our agreed policies and the consent of the local community, rather than speculative, opportunistic proposals.