War of words heats up in battle over Elms housing

The Elms in Thame, where development in planned
The Elms in Thame, where development in planned

Opponents to the building of 45 homes on green space in the heart of Thame have hit back at claims it will be a ‘sustainable’ development.

Rectory Homes wants to build on The Elms, allocated as a site for housing in the Thame Neighbourhood Plan, and chairman Simon Vickers has said they would be ‘good quality homes in a highly sustainable location’.

But the Elms Petition Group said in a statement: “It is pointed out that while Mr Vickers claims to be simply doing as the Government wants in building houses in a ‘sustainable location’, what the Government has actually asked for is for land to be identified for 775 houses in Thame.

“Fulfilling this does not need Elms Field which, with access and services problems, is the opposite of sustainable.

“The council recently rejected an application for seven houses on the old dairy site citing the extreme congestion already existing on Southern Road and Nelson Street, so how can they justify 45 using the same streets?

“Surely open green parkland with ancient trees is by definition more sustainable than infill housing?”

Opponents say that just because people backed the neighbourhood plan in a referendum last May, it does not mean there is support for building on the Elms.

The group said: “Many people did not vote, having been told ‘Yes’ was the only answer.

“Others voted ‘Yes’ as instructed.

“Adoption of the plan is now twisted by the council to say that Thame residents agreed to development on Elms Field.

“Plainly they didn’t.

“The planning manager at South Oxfordshire District Council has said that the town plan can be modified but this initiative has to come from Thame.

“Thus Elms Field can be taken out as a site.”

Find out more at www.elmspetition.org.uk