Residents oppose changes to boundary

Fears have been raised that a small housing estate south of Wallingford will be extended if a decision is made to alter a historical boundary.

South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) proposes moving land around the A4130 by-pass, which is currently in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell and Cholsey parishes, into the Wallingford boundary.

Under a Community Governance Review, SODC are expected to agree changes to parish council boundaries at a council meeting on July 17.

The land includes the Winterbrook estate, which currently has 100 homes and has been in Cholsey for hundreds of years.

Mark Gray, chair of Cholsey Parish Council, said he is “deeply disappointed” that the boundary proposal has been put forward to full council.

“I believe and I think most of the Winterbrook people know that if they become part of Wallingford the chance of it being built up in the next 15 years is very likely,” he said.

“We have worked really hard as a parish council to make sure, alongside the district council, that development didn’t come to Winterbrook.

“But I believe in the very near future there will be development.”

Cllr Gray said 27 residents sent letters to the parish council saying they wanted to stay in Cholsey, while four were in favour of the boundary change.

He added: “Wallingford does not need Winterbrook.

“They make these claims about the people of Winterbook using the facilities in the town, but so do the people of Cholsey, Benson and Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, all the villages.

“The fact that Wallingford has grown out to meet Winterbrook is neither here or there.

“It is the central market town to our part of south Oxfordshire so inevitably the people of the surrounding villages will use the facilities in the town.”

Wallingford town councillor Bernard Stone lives in Winterbrook and said: “We have been pushing to have the line of the boundary to the by-pass.

“It has been a bit controversial because of the Winterbrook development that is currently in Cholsey and they do not want to lose it.”

Half of a proposed 555-home estate for Slade End Farm, just east of the by-pass, is set to move from Brightwell-cum-Sotwell to Wallingford as part of the boundary changes.

While happy for the new estate to move into Wallingford, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell Parish Council wish to keep land between the A4130 and the new development within their boundary.

Brightwell-cum-Sotwell parish councillor John Rodda said: “I don’t think we’ve got much choice but we’ve considered it in the past and we felt that we didn’t want to have an urban area within our parish.

“We are entirely rural so the housing estate would be completely out of place to be part of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell.

“However, we were anxious that the boundary would not be at the by-pass but on the edge of the settlement so there would be a strip alongside the road that would still be in our parish.”

Jamie Baskeyfield, town clerk at Wallingford Town Council, added: “If the individual parish councils put their opinions forward I’m sure they have their reasons.

“Ultimately it is for people to decide. It is the councils asking themselves ‘does this make sense’?”

The boundary changes could also see land west of the by-pass along Hithercroft, currently in Wallingford, move into either Brightwell-cum-Sotwell or Cholsey parish.