Referendum pleas over The Elms rejected by councillors

Campaigner Tom Marianczak on BBC Sunday Politics talking about The Elms
Campaigner Tom Marianczak on BBC Sunday Politics talking about The Elms
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The row over controversial plans to build on The Elms continues as councillors rejected demands from campaigners to remove it from the neighbourhood plan.

News of the battle also reached the BBC at the weekend, as Save The Elms campaigner Tom Marianczak spoke out on BBC Sunday Politics about the housing plans.

But at the most recent Thame Town Council meeting, councillors rejected campaigners’ demands to hold a second referendum on its neighbourhood plan.

South Oxfordshire District Council planning policy officer Beryl Guiver explained the legal status of the plan, which was followed by an impassioned presentation from Tom on why the site should be removed.

But councillors said to take such action would require a sound planning policy reason and with no new significant material coming forward since the plan was made, removing the site would not prevent the owner of the site from developing it.

When challenged over the consultation process, councillors referred to the Independent Examiner’s report which says that ‘the plan not only meets its statutory obligations, but exceeds the standard requirements to such an extent that it provides an exemplary approach to public consultation in neighbourhood planning.’

Thame Town Mayor, Cllr Jeannette Matelot Green, said after the meeting “No one wanted the housing close to them, but by getting involved local residents associations were able to discuss and make compromises.

“The call for a referendum has to now be put aside and we must focus on any application that comes before the council to ensure all the concerns being expressed by the group are given serious consideration.”