St Andrew’s School Hall was packed last night with standing room only for the public meeting organised by Headington Action to discuss a neighbourhood plan for Headington. Congratulations to the HA steering group Patrick Coulter, Richard Bradley, Keith Frayn, Marie Vickers, Pete West and Liz Grosvenor for all the hard work they put in and to Sue Baker, the School’s Headteacher, for hosting the event.
Richard outlined the differences between community plans and neighbourhood plans, and explained that once a fully-consulted upon neighbourhood plan is produced by those living or working in Headington, externally inspected and agreed by referendum, all future land-based planning decisions in Headington will need to comply with its policies and conditions.
The Chair and Secretary of the Wolvercote Neighbourhood Planning steering group then gave a presentation on the work that they had been doing, and this fired the enthusiasm of many of us in the audience. The process of producing a neighbourhood plan for Headington will take a long time – possibly in excess of two years – and will include continuing consultation, so many local residents need to get involved to make it work.
After various question and answer sessions, a vote was taken and there was overwhelming support from those who attended. Patrick asked if anyone was prepared to help form the steering group to start off the process, and was hoping for expressions of interest from 20 or so people. In fact, 20+ people signed up and we have more names on a waiting list of those who would like to get involved but were unable to attend, we shall send those details to Headington Action to add to the list. One of the first tasks of the steering group will be to decide where the boundaries of the Headington neighbourhood will be.
Those at the meeting were interested in looking at the neighbourhood plan for Exeter St James which is an area which has a lot of similarities with Headington. If you would like to see this, please click here.
It was good to see representation at the meeting from the universities, the hospitals’ trust, and both councils. The next two years will see exciting new developments! We are glad that the Localities Act has made neighbourhood planning possible and are proud to support this initiative in Headington.