Second Raise: Meadow and Horse Fields in Iffley

by Steve Brazier in Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Second Raise: Meadow and Horse Fields in Iffley
We did it
On 18th February 2024 we successfully raised £11,630 with 153 supporters in 28 days

To allow Friends of the Fields Iffley to hire professionals to prevent Oxford Council from building over our ancient meadows.

by Steve Brazier in Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

Raise awareness of the importance of protecting unspoilt green spaces

Thanks to your generosity, our last crowdfund contributed to the cost of experts who examined the OxPlace application for thirty-two houses on the last remaining undeveloped ancient meadows in Iffley village. The experts offered their professional assessments of the application in five key areas of concern: Heritage and Conservation; Landscape and Environment Planning; Ecology and Biodiversity; Transport and Traffic; Drainage, Flooding and Sewage. They each concluded that the application should be rejected. 

For this second fundraise, we have good news. A resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, has agreed to support the campaign, by matching each donation in a ratio of 3 to 1. So if the fund meets its target of raising GBP10k, then we will have a total of GBP40k to spend.

Thanks to your previous objections, more than one thousand responses were submitted (98% of them objections to any development here). This is an unprecedented number of objections to a planning application in Oxford. Your concerns covered the environment, flooding, Oxford’s heritage, community, well-being, the negative impact on the Quiet Route for active travel and traffic and parking in the narrow lanes. You can view responses to the first round on the City Planning Portal alongside earlier commissioned reports.

Objections to the application were also submitted by the Environment Agency; Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust; Buglife; the Invertebrate Conservation Trust; Windrush Against Sewage Pollution; Cotswolds Rivers Trust; CPRE Oxfordshire; Cyclox: the Cycling Campaign for Oxford; Oxford Badger Group; the Iffley Fields Residents Association; the Oxford Rivers Improvement Campaign; the Oxford Civic Society; Oxford Pedestrians Association; Oxford Urban Wildlife Group; and a Holding Objection from Thames Valley Police.  

Because of your objections, combined with expert analysis and key objections from the Environment Agency and others, the flawed application was sent back to the drawing board. 

Planning history of the meadow 

Heritage: Previous attempts to allocate this land for development have been rejected. As the commissioned heritage report commented: 

‘Previously the OCC planners (in 1994, 2011) decided that a housing development here would not be compliant with the Conservation Area Policy (CA), the experts note that nothing has materially changed within the Fields or CA, nor has there been a change in assessment methodology in intervening years. They note that there is no evidence or explanation set out in the latest site allocation assessment to explain this shift in position. Nothing has changed in intervening years at the site except who owns the land.’

The government inspector's rider to the site allocation in the 2036 Local Plan [Sp43] states: ‘Any development proposals would be expected to conserve and enhance the unique characteristics of the Iffley conservation area in order to comply with policies dh2 and dh3.’

Ecology: Biodiversity net gain (BNG) cannot be delivered on the site. In addition, the proposal to export the biodiversity somewhere else is only seeking a 5% BNG when the standard is 10% as of January 2024.

Flooding: The Environment Agency sent in six pages explaining why and how the application’s drainage and water management systems were wholly inadequate.

Summary: All in all, this site should never have been allocated a) because it cannot be developed without serious harm to a Conservation Area and b) because it is unsuitable for a housing development for a whole raft of sustainability reasons; and c) because of the impacts it would have to the designated Quiet Route for Active Travel. 

Object (again) quoting Ref 22/03078/FUL

Write to [email protected]

Got an idea like this?

Over £200 million has been raised from our crowd to support the projects they love! Plus tens of millions more unlocked by our partners.