The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has called in the decision of the county council’s Planning and Regulation committee to refuse the HIF1 Didcot and surrounding areas infrastructure planning application.
The call-in means there will be an inquiry by a government-appointed planning inspectorate. The Secretary of State will take the final decision about whether to approve the application. The county council’s planning committee voted last week to refuse the application but a decision notice, with reasons for refusal, was not issued. The intervention stops the county council issuing its decision.
Councillor Duncan Enright, Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy at Oxfordshire County Council, whose portfolio includes the HIF1 project said:
“As a council, we are committed to the Didcot and surrounding areas major infrastructure scheme. We are taking stock of the planning committee’s comments and reasons before considering our own next steps.
“The scheme is designed to provide more sustainable travel options in and around Didcot, as well as reducing a legacy of congestion in the surrounding villages and improving air quality and noise levels. It would provide vital transport infrastructure to enable more reliable journey times, improve pedestrian and cycling connectivity, and support allocated housing and employment sites.”
Cllr Enright was due to present the case for the HIF1 application to the planning committee on the first day of the two day hearing but declined to attend on either day.