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WHO WE ARE

Appleford Parish Council

Appleford-on-Thames is a village and civil parish on the south bank of the River Thames about 2 miles (3 km) north of Didcot, Oxfordshire. It was part of Berkshire until the 1974 local government boundary changes. The 2011 Census recorded the parish’s population as 350.

Evidence of Romano-British settlement has been found in a field south of the parish church plus ceramics and human burials of the same period at Manor Farm. In 1968 the Appleford Hoard of 4th-century Roman artefacts was found. It includes Roman coins, pewter ware, and ironmongery including tools, a chain and a padlock. The hoard is now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

This web site is constantly being updated.  Please bear with us as we bring each section up to date. Last update Aug-21.

NOTICES

Other Notices

WHAT’S ON

Appleford’s case made in Parliament.

Planning Application – HIF1 Relief Road (Application ref.  R3.0138/21)

Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) submitted a planning application on 11 Nov. 2021 to build a new relief road (circa 9 miles) from the A34 at Milton through to the B4014 near Clifton Hampden. 

This is a major application development which will impact all villages along its route.  Appleford is the most affected village with plans for a 10m (30 ft) elevated road and flyover bridge over private rail sidings near Appleford level crossing.  The nearest property will be circa 70m, that less than the width of a football pitch.

OCC Portal 

You can see details on OCC’s portal   https://myeplanning.oxfordshire.gov.uk/.  Search for R3.0138/21.

Note:  Video has been edited. Please note the Parish Council is apolitical & does not endorse any political party.  However, it welcomes the backing of our MP, and support from any politician for our campaign opposing the planning application for the HIF1 Relief Road.

Examples of Flyover Bridges nearby

The videos below demonstrate the damage in terms of noise, emissions and visual impact the Flyover will have on our village. It’s unacceptable!

OCC and the new political leadership (Fair Deal Alliance for Oxfordshire) must start listening to our concerns. What about a Fair Deal for Appleford?

WALLINGFORD BYPASS BRIDGE (CARS)

DRAYTON BRIDGE (CARS & COMMERCIALS)

Object to this Planning Application

Appleford have engaged with OCC and made every effort to get then to move the road (see compromise route below).   Our efforts along with that of other villages have fallen on deaf ears. We now have no alternative but to object to these plans.

To object please write to Emily.Catcheside@oxfordshire.gov.UK.   

OCC have confirmed they will accept any objection received before the Planning Meeting.   Ignore the minimum statutory deadline 11 December 2021 quoted which they have agreed to override.

Please get every adult in your household to object to the road which is opposed by most communities along its route.

Areas of concern to Appleford include: –

  1. Proximity – the road is too close to the village.  It will be noisy and bring pollution that will damage the health and wellbeing of residents.
    At a proximity of 70m and 30ft /10m high, there is no possible mitigation that can effectively reduce noise and pollution levels. The road will dominate the village and will scar the landscape of surrounding areas.
  2. The Primary Objective of the HIF1 road is to support housing development, yet it has been designed as an arterial link (A34 to the B4015 – effectively a South Abingdon bypass to east Oxford / M40) which will bring large volumes of commercial traffic impacting the villages along the route.
  3. Traffic Modelling data is unconvincing. The design chosen will create traffic jams and divert traffic to create rat runs locally.  The data suggests that traffic volumes in villages will return to current levels in 10 years. The data presented to justify access, junctions, traffic, environmental, health and pollution impact is insufficient
  4. Noise and Pollution will affect the entire village of Appleford.  The elevated road and flyover bridge will exacerbate existing rail noise at Appleford which is recognised as a noise corridor by DfT.   The combination of road, rail shunting and bridge vibration will escalate noise levels even further.
  5. Compliance with Policy – The application is not compliant with OCCs own policies, plans and guidelines and also breaches green belt.  OCC have previously declared a climate emergency and added an ecological emergency in Feb 21.  The HIF1 application is inconsistent with such gestures which are meaningless if ignored by promoting an arterial road construction. 
  6. Carbon neutrality – OCC policy requires that all new developments are carbon neutral. This HIF1 relief road is a large and complex project and cannot possibly achieve carbon neutrality with this development.

Please make your own assessment on the importance of these issues (do not copy word for word) and add your own comments as appropriate. BUT – PLEASE OBJECT BY EMAIL OR LETTER.

Neighbouring Parish Council Group (Five Eyes)

The Parish Councils of Appleford, Sutton Courtenay, Culham, Burcot / Clifton Hampden and Nuneham Courtenay have joined forces to object to this planning application.

http://www.charliehopkins.co.uk

The group have appointed Mr Charlie Hancock, Barrister and Environmental Planning Consultant.  Expert advisors have been engaged to review and assess.

Reports from technical experts (phase 1) are expected mid-January.

Pre-Planning Design Consultation 

The design phase consultation by OCC with local communities has now ceased with the advent of their planning application in Nov 2021. The HIF1 development has passed to the Planning Phase.

The material below outlines our efforts to engage with Oxfordshire County Council during the design consultation phase.  Along with other villages, OCC have paid little or no attention to our concerns. No changes have been made to the road alignment or design.  Thus, Appleford along with the neighbouring 5 eyes group have no alternative but to oppose the road.    

HIF1 New Relief Road and the Appleford Flyover

The Parish Council (APC) is concerned that Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) officials and political leadership are not listening to the valid concerns of residents regarding the New Relief Road and Flyover Bridge so close to the village.

In Oct 2020 the Parish Council conducted a Village Survey to ascertain residents views on OCC’s proposals for the new Relief Road and Thames crossing including the Flyover.  It established their opinions on a range of issues concerning the proposed development and this informed the Parish Council as to the village’s position and desired response.  In effect it established the voice of the village! 

Appleford does not oppose the road, but it does object to a Flyover 30 ft high with trailing embankments close to and overlooking the village.

VILLAGE SURVEY FINDINGS

Residents of Appleford have consistently expressed their concerns (verbally and in writing) at the Public Consultations in 2018 and 2020.  Following the OCC Cabinet decision in July 2020 to build the road between Appleford and Sutton Courtenay, the Parish Council has attended numerous meetings on 24 Sept 20, 20 Nov 20, 7 Jan 21, 21 Jan 21, 14 Apr 21 (site walk through) and 1 July 21. That’s six meetings in the last 12 months

On 7 Jan 2021, APC presented a Position Paper to OCC setting out our concerns and alternative alignments.  This was rejected by OCC in their response two months later.  Appleford does not accept the arguments put forward by OCC rejecting the Position Paper which took the form of a rebuttal rather than consultation. The Parish Council has presented architectural models and diagrams to support its case.  APC contends that the Compromise Route is feasible and the best solution.  It argues for access to the new Relief Round at the roundabout and not at a T junction.

APC addressed OCC Council on 9 Feb 21 and raised questions at the following Council meeting on 23 Mar 21.  On 14 Sept 21 our Chairman delivered a Petition address to OCC Council and presented the Appleford Petition Report and findings to the Chairman. 

OCC have been slow to provide underlying information and reports requested earlier this year. The little information provided to date has been high level summary information with no underlying data and carries the caveat that it is draft. Of particular concern is the cost estimate provided for the Compromise alignment.  The figures provided are broad estimates with little detailed back up or substance.  Cost estimates contain an extraordinarily high contingency reserve of almost two thirds of the total cost. These costs are simply not credible. 

POSITION PAPER LINKS 
ADDRESS TO OCC COUNCIL LINK

Both FCC Environment (landfill) and Hanson Aggregates (gravel stock yard) have confirmed the Compromise Route will not impact their commercial site operations.

Appleford is grateful to its neighbouring Parish Councils, namely Sutton Courtenay, Culham and Long Wittenham who have all provided letters of support in favour of the Compromise Route.

Move the Flyover at Appleford Sidings

The Compromise Route

OCC preferred alignment shown in yellow is only 50m-70m (circa 75 yards) from residences on Main Road. This is simply too close!

The Compromise Route in magenta crosses the rail sidings 200m back (west) from the village and provides the best possible mitigation – separation.  OCC claim crossing the lake (man made drainage pond) is £5m-£6m more expensive.

APC believe the Compromise Route (magenta) which has been adjusted to avoid clipping the landfill is the best solution.  It is shorter and more direct avoiding the bow shaped curve of the yellow route.  In our view, OCC has exaggerated the cost of any alternative alignments.

Principal Objections

The Parish Council maintains the Flyover will damage the village irreparably. Objections to OCC’s proposed alignment are: –

  • an elevated road & flyover at the rail sidings with trailing embankments
  • that will be visually intrusive, and 
  • will generate significant traffic noise along with 
  • rail noise echo from an expanded rail flyover bridge, and 
  • emissions, harmful to human health, blowing onto residents below

Offer of Mitigation are inadequate.  Mitigation is only partly effective and the measures offered are not an acceptable or a fair exchange for the health and well being of residents.

Village Petition

In June and July this year (2021) the Parish Council conducted a Village Petition.  The results have been communicated to OCC and will be formally presented at a (full) Council Meeting on 14 Sept.  The Petition shows 92% of Households and 73% of adults in the village reject OCC’s alignment and want the Compromise Route. 

Road Campaign:  Appleford will continue to campaign against a Flyover close to the village.  It is seeking verification and validation of the Costs for the Compromise Route and believes OCC’s estimates (approximately double the cost) for building the same flyover bridge further west are exaggerated and are not credible.

OCC have advised that costs for the HIF1 Scheme are running well over Budget. Therefore, cost will be an important factor. It would be unacceptable to find that OCC reject the Compromise Route for a modest increment of say £1.5m, to find the scheme runs hundreds of millions over budget.

While cost will be a factor, the environmental and community impact cannot be ignored..

The Parish Council is examining the possibility of a Crowd Funding initiative with neighbouring parishes. If OCC reject our valid concerns and reasonable request to move the road a short distance, we will consider every possible option including recourse to law.

Book the Village Hall here

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All bookings will be confirmed by the administrator.