Cllr Anne-Marie Simpson wrote a letter to the Henley Standard on 4 November 2020 in relation to their article on the 30 October about the Thames Farm development in Shiplake.
I am aware of your article on the Thames Farm development at Shiplake in last week’s edition (30 October).
Within the article you reported John Howell MP was critical of South Oxfordshire District Council – his comments appear to demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the planning process and the situation at hand.
For the benefit of our residents, let me clarify several facts around the current planning position on the Thames Farm site.
As many of your readers will know, the site has a long and complex planning history, which culminated in planning permission for housing being granted at appeal by an independent planning inspector. We are now considering details submitted in line with the conditions imposed by the planning inspector.
Many local residents have expressed their concerns about drainage issues at the site. While we’re not required to carry out consultation or publish comments in this situation, we have published all the information we’ve received so far on our website in the interests of transparency and keeping local residents informed.
In your article Mr Howell claimed the council has done “too little too late” – and yet no decision has been taken on the acceptability of the drainage details.
We have asked for more information and a flood risk assessment from the developer. Once we’ve received the flood risk assessment, we will upload it onto our website and residents will be able to make comments for a minimum of 14 days.
We will then consider the drainage information, flood risk assessment and our resident’s comments and continue to work closely with expert consultees from relevant organisations, including Oxfordshire County Council, the Environment Agency and Thames Water.
This seems to me like the process working exactly as it is supposed to, and I’m therefore unsure what Mr Howell is so unhappy about.
I trust this letter confirms that we are considering this matter very seriously, with appropriate care and ensuring that our local residents are able to record their views and contribute to the process, which is consistent with the way conditions on all planning permissions are dealt with.
Cllr Anne-Marie Simpson
Cabinet Member for Planning at South Oxfordshire District Council