Monthly Archive 8th November 2023

ByMark Davies

Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan – then, now, and what happens next…

Schedule for the process from September 2019:

1. Submit to WPC for approval
2. Submit to SODC
3. Publish by SODC and start of 6 weeks Consultation
4. Consultation completed
5. The Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan, together with the outcome of the Consultation, submit for examination
6. Report from Examiner
7. Addition: Consultation on SODC proposed deviation from the Examiner’s recommendations
8. Referendum on the final (as of April 2021) version of the Plan (organised by SODC)

9. After the Referendum (held 06 May 2021)
10. Confirmation of referendum by SODC
11. Review of Plan by SODC and WNP
12. Design Guidance and Codes for the village
13. Updated Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)
14. Review of Plan and SEA published by WPC for 6 weeks pre-submission consultation
15. Preparation of Basic Conditions Statement (BCS)

16. Post pre-submission consultation update of Plan
17. Draft Review WNP published by SODC and start of 6 weeks Consultation
18. Post Consultation update of plan with SEA/BCS from WPC to SODC for Examination
19. Consultation by SODC on Draft Review WNP
20. Report from The Examiner
21. Pre Referendum Presentation and Q&A sessions – see below
22. Referendum on Review Version of WNP – see below
23. Hand over to the Parish and District councils

Article in February/March 2024 edition of ‘Wheatley News’

‘On 23 November 2023 the Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan Review was put to public Referendum by the Examiner, after 8.5 years work by the Committee.
The Neighbourhood Planning Process has certainly been long, but it was carried out by a well-informed and widely representative Committee.

When we started, we worked within the framework of the anticipated Local Plan.  Political changes in the county, however, prevented the Plan’s adoption, so we were advised to remove the Enhancement elements of our Plan (involving release of Greenbelt land) in order to gain approval for other parts of the Plan.
Once Local Plan LP 2035 was finally adopted, we by way of a Neighbourhood Plan Review, reintroduced the Enhancements and submitted our Review for Examination. When the Examiner was satisfied and WPC had given its approval, we submitted the Neighbourhood Plan Review to Referendum.
The Plan received  514 votes for and 72 votes against.
From now on, the Parish and District Councils can comment on and control Planning Applications on the basis of our Neighbourhood Plan which was created on behalf of this community.
Thanks from WNP Committee to local community members for their often publicly open encouraged to ‘keep going ‘, and to the 20+ WNP Committee members for that mix of tolerance, humour, gritty wisdom, and appreciation which brings home how valuable community meetings really are. My personal thanks to Roy Gordon, Vice-Chairman, for his support and company over these years.
                                                                             John Fox |Chairman WNP.’


Update as of 25 November 2023:

23 November Referendum – WNP Review ACCEPTED

Yes – 514
No – 72
Void – 1

With a 16.39% turnout

Statement from WPC:

“Wheatley Parish Council is please to announce that the local referendum to accept the enhancements to the Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan produced a positive result. Both Wheatley Parish Council and South Oxfordshire District Council, as the local planning authority will soon be able to use the revised plan and new design codes in their planning discussions and decision making processes. 


Wheatley Parish Council is grateful to the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, led by John Fox and Roy Gordon for getting us to this point and for their work over the last eight years. 

Wheatley Parish Council will continue to follow the developments of the Joint Local Plan between South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils and will consider when further reviews may be necessary, in the coming months or years.”


Update as of 08 November 2023:

21 August – after viewing WNDP sites, considering individual case statements and studying key documents, Examiner Andrew Ashcroft stated he was ‘…satisfied that WPC and its advisers have pursued this issue in a thorough and professional way.’  ‘I recommend to SODC, that subject to the incorporation of the modifications set out in this Report, the Wheatley Neighbourhood Development Plan Review should proceed to referendum…in Wheatley-Holton Neighbourhood Area.’

03 November Information made public by WPC, concerning forth coming referendum, on following poster: WNPposterWPC2023

For latest details of SODC Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan you can also go to / click on:

To come:

16 November – Merry Bells, Wheatley at 5, 6, and 7 pm Presentation and Q&A sessions

18 November – Merry Bells, Wheatley at 9, 10, and 11 am Presentation and Q&A sessions

23 November – Neighbourhood Plan Area (Wheatley and Holton) Referendum on Examiner’s Report – WNDP Review


Update as of 23 January 2023:

Here is a letter received from SODC concerning their Consultation on the Draft Review WNP which runs from Thursday 19 January to 11:59 pm Thursday 2 March 2023 SODCConsultationJan_Mar2023

The letter includes the following:

  • how to view documents
  • how to comment
  • next steps
  • notes on the use of personal data

Update as of 01 December 2022:

WNP responses to questions raised by the public during pre-submission consultation WNPR Community Responses, June-July 2022

Update as of 10 June 2022: 

WNPR Statement of Significance WNPRStatement of Significance_02

Update as of 01 June 2022:

The Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan Review (WNPR) is about to go to the next stage with the Regulation 14 pre-submission consultation from 3 June to 22 July. For more/ updated information see the following:

May 2022 Leaflet delivered to all households in Wheatley and Holton WNPRleafletMay2022

Design Guidance and Codes for the village WNP_document_v13
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Appendix 5_WNPR SEA Environmental Report 010622 (2)
Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan WNP_document_v44_REVIEW_03

Comments are invited by 22 July 2022

Email :
Letter to: WNPR, Wheatley Parish Council Office, 89 High Street, Wheatley, OX33 1XP
                WNPR, HPC Office, Home Farm House, Holton OX33 1QA

Update as of 04 February 2022:

20 May Following an Independent Examination and a positive referendum result Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan was ‘made’ by SODC

11 November Publication of ‘WNP Final Decision Statement’ by SODC. To see statement / other details follow the link noted under ‘Update as of 17 June 2021:’

May – December Collaborated review of made plan completed by SODC and WNP

January ‘Design Guidance and Codes’ document received from AECOM  220201-Wheatley DDC_V2_LR

Update as of 17 June 2021:

The official referendum results were as follows:

  • Votes in favour of adopting the neighbourhood plan (YES vote): 1359
  • Votes against adopting the neighbourhood plan (NO vote): 189
  • Turnout : 42.79%

For more information go to:


Further information 30 April 2021:

This Question will be put to Referendum voters:
‘Do you want SODC to use the Neighbourhood Plan from Wheatley to help it
decide planning applications in the NP Area ?’
A ‘Yes’ vote requires a majority of one. A ‘No’ vote requires the same.

The Localism Act 2011 allows Review of an NP once it has been
‘made’ (validated) by a Referendum ‘Yes’ vote. The new Local Plan LP2035
[December 2020] allows what the Examiner removed, to be replaced,
(2 x Enhancements at Wheatley eastern end.) Mistakes will be amended,
updates made, and after public reflection, Consultation will be held.
An Examiner will then check the ‘Reviewed’ text to approve.

Update as of 23 March 2021:

Referendum to be held 6 May 2021

Lead up To Referendum: SODC Public Consultation (Jan-March 2021) on restoring the sections of WNP removed by Examiner in February 2020, had 14 respondents, mostly favourable. SODC had second thoughts and abandoned the idea altogether (see ).

The Examiner made many amendments and modifications to WNP, and what he issued in 2020 remains the text for Referendum in May 2021. For technical reasons he removed two WNP Enhancement sites [the Bungalows Community and Ms Tombs’ Field]. Both require Green Belt adjustment with Local Plan support, but the Examiner felt it would be too long before a Local Plan was in place for WNP to make major, but merely ‘hopeful’ proposals without one. (LP 2035 appeared in December 2020, almost a year later.) He did however leave the Enhancement of Littleworth hamlet and the cross-village Green Route in the text for Referendum. Most importantly, in Para 7.81 of his Report he stated ‘The two Enhancements which need Green Belt adjustment are too dependent on an LP which does not exist at the time of this Examination… Nevertheless, work on these allocations [Enhancements] could be updated once an NP has been adopted [made]’.

The following is the text from the poster supplied by SODC (posters for notice boards in the villages of Wheatley and Holton):


Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan


Thursday 6 May 2021

Voters can vote at the polling station, by post or by proxy. For information about registering to vote (deadline 19 April) and voting options please see:

South Oxfordshire District Council has published the specified referendum

documents on its website. These are:

  • Wheatley Neighbourhood Development Plan

  • Summary of the representations submitted to the Independent Examiner

  • Statement that the draft plan meets the basic conditions (decision statement)

  • Independent Examiner’s Report (appendix 2 of decision statement)

  • Information Statement and Information for Voters

These documents can be inspected on the Council’s website.

Go to

If you need help accessing the referendum documents, please call the District Council’s neighbourhood planning team

on 01235 422600 or email

Please help spread the word about the elections to those shielding or without access to the internet.


Update as of 15 January 2021:

The Examiner proposed that certain sections would be deleted from the submission version of the Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan. The South Oxfordshire District Council are now proposing to retain these sections as follows :

  • retain Section 10, which includes policy GBBA1
  • retain the following elements of section 11:
    • policies SPES1, SPES3, and SPES4
    • Supporting text of paragraphs 11.1 – 11.7, 11.12 – 11.13, 11.14 – 11.15, and 11.17 – 11.19

The consultation on the SODC proposal to deviate from the Examiner’s recommendation is now open and will last for a seven-week period from Friday 15 January until midnight on Friday 5 March 2021. 

All relevant documentation is available on the Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan page on South Oxfordshire District Council’s website at 

Paper copies of the document are available to view by appointment only. Please contact Michelle Legg, Clerk for Wheatley Parish Council, by emailing or calling 01865 875 615 to arrange to view the documents.

If you know anyone you think would be interested in this consultation, who is isolating or does not have access to the internet, we would appreciate your help in telling them about it. Please ask them to call the District Council on 01235 422425 or email to discuss the proposals and get support to access the consultation materials.

Update as of 03 June 2020:

11 February Andrew Ashcroft, Examiner, reported on Draft WNP noting proposed modifications.

17 February WNP committee responded to Examiner’s draft modifications. All the modifications were accepted.

28 February Examiner’s Report published. The Examiner praised the quality of the WNP and recommended it for Referendum.Wheatley Neighbourhood Development Plan – Examiner’s Report

05 March Whitehall released emerging LP 2034 to SODC conditionally.

06 March WNP Chairman and Vice-chairman met J.Howell MP concerning outside obstacles (state of emerging LP 2034 and OBU appeal).

08 April – by this date WNP Vice-chairman Roy Gordon and SODC Advisers had incorporated/implemented and published the Examiners modifications in WNP version 42. See in following link:

15 April WNP wrote to Robert Jenrick about OBU appeal but too late to be recorded in his verdict of 23 April. combined DL IR and R to C_Oxford Brookes University.pdf (1)

01 June WNP Committee Brief Update to WPC (virtual) meeting. WNP brief update to WPC 01 June 2020.

Update as of 16 January 2020:

Examination of WNP – completion is subject to the progress of the SODC Local Plan and the decision on the OBU appeal.

08 January WNP was notified of a letter from Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government) sent to the leader of SODC, 07 January – see the following link:    

The letter reminds SODC of the Housing Minister’s previous letter, 09 October, directing SODC ‘not to take any step in connection with the Adoption of the [Local] Plan, while I consider whether to give a direction in relation to the Plan…My officers are working to gather evidence to support me to make a decision…(Letter P1, Para 1.]

Following this notification WNP Chair and vice-Chair (JF & RG) took advice and composed a letter to send to John Howell MP to ask for his intervention.

14 January The letter was sent to John Howell Howell0001 along with a copy of the letter from Robert Jenrick.

Update as of 13 December 2019:

20 November Examiner put 14 questions to WNP for Clarification – mainly on Policies but with some textual explanations too, and for wider comment. 12 December was the deadline but with extra offered if required. It was decided not to task the Committee with the work, which would have been unwieldy. Chair and vice-Chair (JF & RG) took on the task.

09 December RG and JF discussed their (independent) draft responses with SODC Advisers R. Rios and R. Tobutt for 3 hours. Examiner’s new deadline of 20 December for collating the two drafts into one gratefully accepted.

Update as of 30 November 2019:

In October All required documents/information were passed on, by SODC, to the appointed examiner Andrew Ashcroft.

19 November Andrew Ashcroft arranged a ‘Clarification Meeting’ with representatives from SODC, WPC, and WNP.

Update as of 01 November 2019:

18 October SODC consultation completed. Go to SODC website (link shown below) to see comments received, by SODC, during the publicity period.

Update as of 15 September 2019:

02 September WPC approval
03 September Submission to SODC
06 September Published by SODC and start of 6 weeks Consultation which finishes at 5 pm on 18 October 2019. To see all the documents submitted – the version of the Wheatley Neighbourhood Plan being WNP.01 – go to the following web page:

Update as of 31 August 2019:

The Final pre-Submission Consultation 07 May – 21 June 2019 was duly completed (see Evidence Base/Public Consultation for details).

Approximately 160 in total attended 4 events. 104 written responses were received and all were analysed with reference to the Draft WNP text.

Report made to Wheatley and Holton Parish Councils concerning responses submitted (see Evidence Base/ ‘Chairman’s Reports/attendance Parish Council (WPC/HPC) meeting’ 1 July 2019 for details).

The number of Statutory Bodies contacted during this Final Public Consultation was 36. Twenty -six of these acknowledged receipt and / or responded (see Evidence Base for link to details). 

On 28 August 2019 a meeting of WNP Committee endorsed the Draft NP version.


  Read More