TWO hundred residents protested outside a public inquiry discussing plans to build 350 homes on greenbelt land.

JT Leavesley Limited applied to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, to build the homes, retail and employment space, a community building, and a day care nursery, on the land off Papist Way in Cholsey.

An application was first submitted in March last year but it was rejected as it conflicts with the village’s neighbourhood development plan as the land is not a recommended development space.

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However, the developers decided to appeal this decision in May this year causing residents to protest next to the proposed development site in July.

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Over 1,600 residents – 55 per cent of the adult population – have also signed a petition objecting.

A second protest was held on Wednesday, August 31 outside the Great Hall in Cholsey where a public inquiry held by planning inspector Paul Clark.

In attendance was county councillor Felix Bloomfield, he said: “The local planning authority tell us they have a 5-Year-Land Supply for housing.

“In that case, this appeal should be thrown out because it is contrary to the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 and the Cholsey Neighbourhood Plan.”

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Parish councillor Sam Parks, who is also a local business owner, added: “There is already so much house building in this area. The infrastructure for this site has not been planned for and this will deeply affect our community.

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“Education experts say that Wallingford School cannot cope with this level of housing. Our children will have to travel much further away to school, out of their community. 

“The GP surgery recently closed to new patients for six months. The traffic on small village roads is already dangerous.

“I’ve spoken to many residents who have signed the petition in our shop.  They were keen to sign but fear it won't do any good - they feel powerless.”

Residents have also expressed concern about the impacts of the development on the environment, both locally and globally.

Parish councillor Ginnie Herbert, who is also the council’s chair of climate and environmental emergency working group, spoke at the inquiry.

She said: “We are working hard to reduce our above average carbon footprint in Cholsey. Recent extreme weather events leave no doubt that the planet is heating up with catastrophic consequences.

“We have to make huge reductions in carbon emissions. Building 350 more houses in the mainstream way would result in an estimated 35,000 tonnes of carbon emissions just in the construction process.”

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The public inquiry has now closed and the planning inspectorate’s recommendation will then be passed to the Secretary of State for a final decision.

To read the residents’ campaign site, visit:


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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