‘The people of Thame need a voice’

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Letters this week concentrate on the Thame Core Strategy, with worries about what the extra houses may bring.

Bob Austin address supplied

I READ the article on Lord Williams’s School, in last Friday’s Gazette, with interest.

Though short of detail, it laid out the understandable ambitions of one, very important, stakeholder in Thame. The implications for the town as a whole, however, caused me some concern that public knowledge of the latest possibilities for the Core Strategy might be lacking.

Apart from some recent references to the need to increase the number of houses specified in Site F, I am not aware of any references to any ultimate figure for house building.

As I understand it, and purely from memory, the following could be the situation:

Site F accounted for 560 houses. The school proposals could account for 250+ with about 200 houses recently built, being built or about to be built already (I obtained the latter figure from a recent local election leaflet).

The total amounts to about 1,000 houses - a potential increase in the population of 25 per cent? This together with the potential, purely commercial, Sainsbury’s proposals would transform the town utterly. It would be a milestone along the road of Thame ceasing to be a market town.

The infrastructure investment implications would be enormous for schools, doctors, transport etc.

To take Lord Williams’s School as an example, and unless demographic trends intervene, it could imply an increase in size towards 3,000 pupils a figure so big that it might necessitate a split back into two schools- a return to the current two sites!

Alternatively, numbers could be restricted by reducing intake from the surrounding, Buckinghamshire, villages. The latter would necessitate Buckinghamshire having to build a new secondary school.

This would be a denial of Thame’s role as a market town at the centre of a hinterland that naturally pays scant regard to administrative boundaries and, also, of current parental expectations that appreciate a fully comprehensive school environment.

I do not raise these issues to be alarmist but to enquire whether enough public discussion has taken place. The Inspector is about to begin work. We need to know the parameters of what could happen.

A few questions:

What could be the figure for the houses Thame is expected to provide?

Would this figure be proportionate to Thame’s size in comparison to South Oxfordshire as a whole?

What are the potential infrastructure implications and are they fundable?

The people of Thame need a further opportunity to express their views and, also, to be fully informed.

Windfall is hot air

Name and address supplied

IT is with great disappointment that I read of SOCD’s need for ‘windfall sites’ to make up the number of new houses demanded as part of the Core strategy for future development in South Oxfordshire.

It would be a great shame if the playing fields at Lord Williams’s Junior School were built over, as is being discussed.

It is also common knowledge that property developers are now sniffing around the Thame Tennis Club site.

This is just the kind of valuable open space that will have to be sacrificed if we are forced to rely on these so called ‘windfall sites’.

If we are to be forced to accommodate such a large number of new homes in Thame - which I believe is fundamentally misguided in the first instance.

Then surely we should at least be looking to place these houses on a site that is of adequate size to take the full allocation and as such protect the existing town and it’s few open spaces from the bulldozers.

No conscience

Name and address supplied

DO people who use the car parking spaces outside the Town Hall and in Thame High Street have no conscience or respect for other peoples’ property?

I parked for less than an hour on Friday afternoon between 2pm and 3pm, only to find on my return that someone had kindly scrapped their car along the back wheel arch of mine, taking off paintwork and leaving a lovely long scratch.

They were even kind enough to leave some blue paint on the wheel trim, but not kind enough to leave a note apologising for the damage.

This is not the first time it has happened whilst parked in Thame and I am sure it won’t be the last, but please can drivers take more care and have a little respect for other peoples’ property.

Driving is an expensive hobby at the moment and having to pay for someone else’s carelessness is REALLY annoying.