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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 17:07 GMT
RAF base delays anger developers
Heyford Park sign
Properties on the site would be demolished and new homes built
Developers who want to build on a former RAF base are to appeal after what they call "unacceptable" delays in the planning process.

The North Oxfordshire Consortium (NOC) owns Heyford Park, once RAF Upper Heyford, near Bicester, Oxfordshire.

It said it submitted a planning application to Cherwell District Council more than four months ago.

The council said it was forced to put a decision on hold because NOC added late details, requiring new consultations.

RAF Upper Heyford closed in 1994 but about 300 former military homes on the site are currently occupied by residents.

English Heritage has said it is the best-preserved Cold War site in Britain.

The council has not unduly delayed consideration
Cherwell District Council

NOC plans to demolish the properties to create about 1,000 new homes, and provide space for new employment, alongside firms already based at the site.

However NOC wants to create more employment than the council's planning brief allows.

A spokesperson for NOC said the council had "now had over four months to consult, assess the application and ask for any further information it needs".

"During this time the NOC has been willing to work with the council, answer any question it has and has offered to brief both councillors and officers."

But the spokesperson said NOC had received no formal response to the proposals.

"In order to provide the businesses located on the base and Heyford Park's residents with certainty about their futures, the NOC feels it has no option but to refer the proposals to a planning inspector," the spokesperson added.

Airbase shelters
Aircraft shelters along the north and west boundaries would be kept

A spokesman for the council said NOC had known about its planning policies for the site from the outset, but has chosen to challenge them and that was causing the continued uncertainty.

"The council has not unduly delayed consideration of the application," he said.

"During the assessment process the applicant has submitted additional material clarifying and detailing the application from their perspective.

"The council judges that the nature of this additional material is such that a further round of consultation is required. The applicant appears to disagree.

"No Local Planning authority can lightly set aside the planning policy."

In 2006, the council altered its planning brief for the site, so that many of its former Cold War aircraft shelters could be retained.

English Heritage had lodged an objection to their proposed demolition.

Shelters to stay at ex-RAF base
06 Dec 06 |  Oxfordshire

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