Caroline Baird explains more about a new short film showing the impact of major development on the rural community of Culham.
Save Culham Green Belt, in conjunction with the Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE Oxon), have produced a four-minute film highlighting why it is essential to protect the Green Belt for future generations.
Culham is an historic village, of just 450 inhabitants. The local authority’s plan to remove 315 hectares from the Oxford Green Belt and build 3,500 houses, would result in a population increase of 8,750 –10,500 – a new town larger than Wallingford (7,542 at 2011 census). Such a development would be to the detriment of pristine Green Belt land while engulfing the homes of the Culham community.
The film endeavours to show that the “exceptional circumstances” required by Central Government for changing Green Belt boundaries do not exist; that the area lacks the capacity to provide roads and services for such a huge development, and that Culham railway station, cited as a chief reason for strategic development, is subject to huge physical restrictions and is no more than a rural halt. Local employment opportunities have also been exaggerated and are uncertain at this time.
Council officers are currently reassessing 15 potential development sites and will announce an updated Local Plan this month, with public consultation on this final phase taking place in January. Save Culham Green Belt continue to campaign against erosion of the Green Belt and unsustainable development.