Welcome to the Keep Harwell Rural website
The aim of the Keep Harwell Rural (KHR) Campaign is to give residents of Harwell the opportunity to have a voice in matters that affect the future of the village. We are particularly concerned about the expansion of Didcot and how this might affect the rural character of Harwell.
This website gives a taste of what we do. You can see how the plans for the expansion of Didcot developed, what is proposed for the future and how we are reacting to it.
KHR works closely with Harwell Parish Council, but is independent of any statutory body. If you would like to know more about KHR or would like to join us in shaping the future of Harwell get in touch.
Whilst we do our best to consult within the village, and try to represent the opinions of many people in the village, we are primarily a campaigning group whose main concern is to preserve the integrity of the village and to “Keep Harwell Rural”.
What’s to be done next by KHR:
- Comment on the Housing Supply Update to the Vale of White Horse (the Vale) Draft Local Plan 2031 by the deadline of 4 April 2014, especially the plans for considerable extra new housing at other sites in addition to the already proposed ‘Valley Park’ development. DONE.
- Continue to argue the case for the Link Roads including a ‘Harwell By-Pass’.
- If satisfactory changes are not made to the Vale Local Plan 2031, present a case when it goes to a Planning Inspector at a Public Examination.
Housing Supply Update to the VWH Draft Local Plan
What’s in the Vale Local Plan which affects Harwell?
The 2014 update to the Vale Draft Local Plan contains proposals for considerably greater numbers of new houses in the Harwell area than did the 2013 version. The proposed “extra” houses are:
- A further 400 houses at Valley Park, making a total of 2,550 there (compared to 2,150 in the 2013 draft of the Local Plan)
- 1,400 houses at East Harwell Campus
- 1,400 houses at Milton Heights
- 200 houses at West of Harwell. This is in addition to the 65 houses recently granted permission to be built at Alder View opposite.
The map below shows where these sites are (except for “Alder View”).
(Map from Vale Housing Delivery Update page 50)
Further to this, we understand that there is likely to be a planning application for houses behind Orchard House on Blenheim Hill (number of houses is unclear, but possibly around 100?).
Excluding the “Orchard House” and the “Alder View” houses, the 2014 version of the plan now proposes 5,550 houses in the Harwell area compared to 2,150 in the 2013 version.
This is on top of the 3,300 houses being built at Great Western Park and the 2,030 planned for North East Didcot.
The impact of this planned extra housing on Harwell village is likely to be considerable. Currently about 20% of the parish boundary is adjacent to housing or industrial buildings. Under the Vale Local Plan proposals, this will increase to nearer 80%. The village is expanding outwards at the same time as housing in the surrounding area is creeping ever closer. The result feels like a gradual “strangulation” of Harwell village’s distinct, rural identity.
KHR’s aims in making representations about the Vale Draft Local Plan are to:
- Prevent Harwell village from being subsumed into a wider built up area by somehow establishing a “green belt” around it, that is sufficiently extensive to ensure that the village retains the essence of being a village i.e. it is clearly distinct from the neighbouring built-up areas and retains a rural feel
- Stop the village being used as a rat run for through traffic, including on the A417
Last updated 5 April 2014