The North Wessex Downs AONB continues to judge the plan unsound.
The 2nd stage of the examination into Vale of White Horse Local plan took place over a couple of weeks in February.
The North Wessex Downs AONB unit continues to judge the Local Plan to be unsound and objects to the proposals for a massive housing development proposed for the East of Harwell campus and the alternative site proposed to the North of the campus.
The proposals represent a major threat to the AONB and if they go ahead would set a dangerous precedent for other damaging developments in protected landscapes throughout the UK.
The inspector had his hands full covering issues of the AONB along with Green Belt and Transport. The AONB made its case across two days against the development of housing at Harwell campus, both to the north and east of the site which would have adverse effects on this protected landscape which is sensitive to change. We pressed that the housing numbers could be met without these developments, and that no evidence was present for the need of housing for employees at the campus to outweigh the harm caused to this protected landscape, therefore the test of para 116 of the NPPF could not be met.
The inspector carried out site visits with interested parties at the end of the examination. He spent a morning walking through the landscape, thankfully on a sunny day which highlighted the AONB and wider landscapes in all its glory. The Inspector’s decision on the soundness of the Local Plan is expected in May.