West Adderbury denied access to lockdown relief

The following notice regarding the field next to Henge Close has recently appeared on Adderbury Parish Council’s website:

“The Parish Council’s contractors will be starting work any day now, on the drainage and preparation of the pitch area on the Milton Road land in Milton Road, Adderbury. This is under the agreed planning permission for 19/00220/F and follows the discharge of pre-commencement conditions 3, 4 and 5, together with the final agreed revised scheme for the field drainage. In order to allow this work to progress safely, please note, it will not now be possible to access this land and no one should be entering the field for the time being.”

(NB the planning permission was for change of use only and APC quote the wrong number – it should be 18/00220/F)

We were very surprised to hear that the Parish Council has instructed contractors to begin work now, and believe that this decision is unfair and irresponsible, for several reasons:

  • This field has a footpath across it and is used as a safe walking area for many West Adderbury residents. It seems very unfair to deprive us of this facility at the present time. Closure of this field will mean that more West Adderbury residents will have to use the Lucy Plackett, for example, which will make social distancing more difficult.
  • The residents of Henge Close and Wallin Road are effectively trapped in their homes during this lockdown period, so cannot do anything to escape the noise and disruption that will undoubtedly be caused. It seems very unfair to inflict this on residents, especially young children, at a time when we are all already feeling stress and anxiety.
  • The Government has banned all but essential building work, and so it very surprising that the Parish Council are pressing ahead with work which no-one would consider to be essential. This work could be done at any time, and so arranging for additional people and vehicles to enter the village daily seems an unnecessary risk to health.
  • The planning decision regarding the ultimate use of this field has not yet even been decided. A change of use from agricultural to “sports and community uses” was agreed a while back, but the plans to build a clubhouse, car park and MUGA have not been approved. Since the layout of the site, and indeed its overall use, may change it seems highly premature to start work now.
  • It also seems irresponsible to go ahead with spending public money when in reality the project may not even move forward as planned, especially now with the prospect of the funding/fundraising being dramatically affected by our current economic situation, and social distancing set to stay for some considerable time.
  • A Community Governance Review to determine whether West Adderbury should once again have its own parish council is underway. The question of who will be responsible for this field, and how local residents will want to use it, is therefore yet to be settled. It almost seems as though Adderbury Parish Council have decided to start working on the planned football pitches as quickly as possible, so that the work can be completed before the Governance Review is decided.

Of course, none of this work will have any detrimental effect on the majority of Parish Councillors, the majority of whom live in Twyford or East Adderbury. Similarly, the residents of Twyford and East Adderbury will not suffer any loss of amenity or be inconvenienced in any way. However, Adderbury Parish Council seem to have very little regard for the residents of West Adderbury who live off the Milton Road; instead of offering us protection and support at this difficult time, the Parish Council are once again putting their own interests, and the interests of other residents, before ours.

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