Hanwell Village Under Threat

Hanwell is a small village of approximately 120 houses. It is situated three miles from the centre of Banbury in Oxfordshire and is linked to the town by the Warwick Road (B4100) and the Southam Road (A423) connecting with the small village road.

The majority of the village is contained within a conservation area with two historic listed buildings on its southern boundary, St. Peter’s Church and Hanwell Castle with its medieval fish ponds, together with many old houses and cottages.

Most people will remember, a long time ago when Hanwell Fields Estate began to be built on the North side of Banbury town, the Estate named after the nearby rural village of Hanwell. Until recently, we were unaware how far that Estate now extends and were surprised to learn that literally only one field now remains between the urban sprawl of Banbury and the rural village that has stood for hundreds of years. A field that is high grade agricultural land, currently farmed for growing crops

In the Call For Sites as part of the Local Plan Review 2040, developers submitted a speculative proposal to have that final field allocated for housing development. That review has not yet concluded and no indication has yet been given by Cherwell District Council as to whether this site is supported by Cherwell District Council, yet developers are pushing on regardless.

As reported last week in Banbury Guardian, the development group, Vistry, delivered glossy brochures to Hanwell homes recently detailing their proposals for 170 new homes which would in effect join Hanwell Village with Banbury

Many people will be aware that Government policy dictates that Local Authorities must have earmarked sufficient land to meet their Government set new homes targets for five years. Cherwell District Council, within the current, adopted Local Plan is unable to demonstrate this. Until the next stage of the Local Plan review is reached, which addresses the needs of the district until 2040, it is unclear how much more land is available and suitable to be earmarked.

When the council are unable to meet their 5 year land supply targets, they are forced to consider proposals for land that is not earmarked. However, land that will create significant harm can still be rejected and it would seem to any reasonable person that allowing a small rural community to become engulfed by the nearby town would be a permanent and avoidable loss to Cherwell District.

We have been in contact with Hanwell residents who are campaigning to Keep Hanwell Village rural, we have visited each other to fully understand the similarities and differences of each others campaigns and share ideas

We were invited to Hanwell Parish Council meeting where the development was the hot topic on the agenda, driving out of Banbury on the Southam Road, the village is set in open countryside and has a quaint and rural feel as you drive through the village. At the meeting, there was a distinct air of community spirit as residents pull together to fight to preserve their beautiful village as a historic part of Banbury

Please do follow the campaign to Keep Hanwell Village Rural as they shortly anticipate an outline planning application to be submitted for their last remaining field of separation. You can find them on Twitter and Facebook by clicking the links below

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