Residents' group slams consultation on new phase of major housing development

The crescent from the hill, Graven Hill <i>(Image: Graven Hill)</i>
The crescent from the hill, Graven Hill (Image: Graven Hill)

The latest phase of a major housing development has been revealed but a residents’ group has criticised the public consultation process.

The Graven Hill Village Development Company (GHVDC), in Bicester, has launched a public consultation prior to submission of the latest planning application for the Graven Hill development.

The forthcoming application is in line with previously approved planning applications and provides for 1,085 homes, a community hall, pub, extra care housing, nursery, playing fields, sport changing pavilion, access, green and open space.

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Adrian Unitt, operations director at Graven Hill Village Development Company, said: “Graven Hill is an evolving new community and we are looking forwards to embarking on the next phase.

“A planning application is being prepared for submission early next year and we are keen to provide the opportunity to refresh memories about the wider scheme.

“The consultation will take place on our brand new stakeholder portal, which is designed to keep residents in the loop so they are at the heart of the UK’s most exciting housing development.

“It means everyone can play a part in ensuring that Graven Hill continues to be a wonderful and unique place to live.”

However, the chair of Graven Hill Residents’ Association (GHRA), Stephen Aggett, sent an email to GHVDC expressing the association’s concerns.

He said: “There’s a lack of information in the consultation documents about the changes that are actually being made to the original master plan.

“The survey questions don’t address the changes to the master plan either – they simply ask things like ‘which facilities are most important to you?’ and then list pub, school, community hall and a few other things.”

Another member of GHRA, Damien Maguire, said: “Last time Graven Hill held a consultation process they didn’t consult, they just told us what they were going to do.

“We don’t have faith in the fact they’re going to do what’s best for us.”

Mr Aggett added: “Lots of negative comments were given at the previous consultation but they were ignored.”

Paol Troupe, a resident at Graven Hill, said: “Graven Hill’s consultation looks like an empty formality.

“It opens by saying there are no fundamental changes to the proposals.

“The problem is, there are some very serious issues with the way the council owned project is being delivered, problems that the company and the council do not seem to want to hear about or address.

“These include the expensive and user-hostile self-build process as well as the generic design, poor environmental credentials, and build quality of the increasingly misleadingly names ‘custom builds’ being delivered by the company.

“These problems will jeopardise the financial viability of the project as well as the attainment of laudable objectives originally set by the council.”

 

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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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