Newsletter Spring 2017
Goring and Streatley Amenity Association
Spring 2017 Newsletter
Welcome to our Spring 2017 GSAA Newsletter with all the latest village and GSAA committee news.
First, exciting news…the new GSAA website has launched and we explain below how it can benefit you and the village. It’s taken a little longer than we hoped with the usual technical hitches(!), but we’re proud of it and feel that it gives the Association a fresh start and a new more interactive image.
So what does the new website give me?
We listened to members’ feedback and made our website more interactive, enabling faster and easier communication between members and the GSAA committee. Please take a look around….
Where can I find this new website?
Go to www.gsamenity.org.uk. The old website is no longer updated and if you input the old address, it will re-direct you to the new website.
What can I use the website for?
The website is intended to be a signposting website leading you to the organisations in the village to help you. There are numerous village organisations covering different interests and offering a voice, so we see no benefit to anyone in an overlap.
- What if my street light is broken? Go to the Local Links page to find out the correct Council to contact.
- What if I want to object to a planning application? Go to the Local Links page to the Planning Section to link through and look at the application.
- How do I know that you know about a village issue? Look at the Current Topics on the left-hand-side of the website.
- FAQs. We’re working on some more (hopefully useful) questions and answers on village issues, but if you have any regular problem you want a simple answer to, just let us know.
- What does the Amenity Association do? Go to our home page and read up on what we’ve done and what our aims are.
- What’s happening further afield in the local countryside? See our News Feed on our home page.
But there’s lots more there, so please take a look!
What doesn’t the website do?
The website is there to inform you of issues affecting local amenities. These are generally the more heavyweight long term issues that will affect the appearance and feel of the villages.
It doesn’t tell you about local clubs, leisure activities, or try to sell the villages from a tourist point of view. For this you should go to
How can I contact you?
We have a new email address to reflect the association’s new name, which is
We also have contact forms on the website and a postal address. See here.
What do you want from us?
We want you to tell us what is important to you! What is bothering you? Can we help you publicise it? Can we help to alter it? Or shall we direct you to the right organisation to whom you can voice your views? Do you like the new website? Is it useful? We want your comments, your suggestions, your complaints and any compliments sent to the committee.
Keeping the Amenity Association working
Current problem: With a committee currently reduced to only 6 members, two of whom have been involved in Neighbourhood Plan activities as well as developing the new website, and lacking until now the means for the desired more-rapid and frequent communication with members, we have been obliged to restrict ourselves to monitoring events in the villages and thankfully, the absence of any major new issues arising has been welcome.
But now we have arrived at a point where we can provide the desired communication improvements, it is up to all members to help make them work! An important part of this is the need to keep the website up-to-date and to keep members generally informed through the issue of more-frequent but shorter newsletters than in the past.
What is needed?
So we need people with a penchant for or background in journalism, marketing or publicity, or an awareness or interest in Word or WordPress or social media communications. And you don’t need to be hugely skilled. An interest or enthusiasm to learn would be welcome too. There must be several amongst you who fit at least some of these criteria!
And what time commitment do you need from me?
The committee currently meets mainly once a month, but you don’t need to become a formal member of the committee. If you can just help with one-off newsletters or updating some parts of the website or drafting notes, that would be great!
Please get in touch using this email address:
Part of the drive to modernise how we keep members informed is to make our website a portal to other organisations and sources of information. We will only provide more detail if we think it is necessary to highlight specific GSAA opinions or actions or if there is no other useful on-line source of relevant information. Instead we will simply provide links to these sources, either specifically within our periodic newsletters or, for the more major or long-running topics, via the Current Topics pages of our website at
Links to many of these sources are also available on the website at
and now for all the other news affecting the villages…
Update on Current Community Issues
- Goring Neighbourhood Plan
- SODC’s 2032 Local Plan
- Streatley Parish Plan Refresh
- Goring Weir Hydro-electric scheme
- Railway electrification gantries
- Goring to Wallingford bus service
- Planning Applications
- Additional playground equipment in Goring
- Traffic in Goring High Street
- Footpath from Wheel Orchard car park to Goring High Street
Goring Neighbourhood Plan
A well-attended public display of progress with selecting sites for housing development was held in Goring Village Hall on 10th December 2016. Following this, the draft plan will be completed and submitted to Goring Parish Council and SODC for their formal consultation periods before going to a Government-appointed examiner for final approval that it, and the process used to produce it, meet all the legislative requirements. If all goes well, the final plan will be put to a referendum of all registered Goring voters in the coming summer.
For more information including all the data presented at the December Open Day see Goring Neighbourhood Plan and the November, December and January editions of GGN.
SODC’s 2032 Local Plan
Goring’s Neighbourhood Plan will – once approved – form part of the larger SODC Local Plan, the current approved version of which is known as the 2027 Core Strategy. The council is now in the process of updating this to cover the period up to 2032 in the light of a new analysis of housing needs in the whole county and you may recall a rather low-key public consultation event was held by SODC in the village in June 2016. Whilst this event was organised separately from the Neighbourhood Plan process, the two processes are linked in that the Neighbourhood Plan will need to take account of SODC’s proposal (subsequently watered down to a suggestion) that Goring should accommodate considerably more new homes than has hitherto been proposed.
The committee submitted a written response to this consultation supporting the view expressed by large numbers of villagers at the June event, as well as at the Neighbourhood Plan’s May 2016 Open Day, that the village is unable to accept even more new homes because of the physical constraints of its location between the river and the Chilterns, wholly within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Building larger numbers would harm the very features which make Goring an attractive location for residents and visitors alike. We also pointed out that the reasons given by SODC for not increasing the housing allocation for Henley (which is not actually within the AONB) applied even more to Goring.
SODC say that the next round of consultation on their latest Plan Proposals will be early in 2017.
For more information see the SODC website www.southoxon.gov.uk/services-and-advice/planning-and-building/planning-policy/local-plan-2032
Streatley Parish Plan Refresh
The Plan has now been approved by West Berkshire Council and is available on Streatley Parish Council’s website, www.streatley.org.uk Your committee was represented at a plan progress review forum in December 2016.
Goring Weir Hydro-electric scheme
You are probably aware that, following SODC’s approval of this scheme in March 2016, Goring Parish Council decided, in the light of considerable continuing local disquiet, to seek a judicial review of the decision. This was heard in the High Court in November 2016 when the judge rejected the case whilst acknowledging that there were a number of flaws in the way SODC dealt with the Planning Application. Encouraged by these comments and various other aspects of the judgement, the parish council has accepted its counsel’s advice to pursue an appeal. However Leave to Appeal has been refused and planning permission stands.
The cost to the parish council of the process so far amounts to some £10,000, £6,000 of which has been contributed by the Stop Goring Hydro group following its own fund-raising campaign. The Association contributed to this appeal because the majority of the committee agreed with the parish council’s view that this matter had been poorly handled by SODC. If the appeal goes ahead, further fundraising will probably be necessary.
Following discussions leading up to the November hearing, the Environment Agency has agreed to set up a Flood Forum for Goring to improve communication on developments impacting on this topic. A Streatley forum was set up following the first planning application for the hydro scheme and latest thinking is that this should form the basis of a new joint forum.
Railway electrification gantries
Network Rail recently leafleted Goring (but not Streatley!) to announce that the further public consultations on modified forms of overhead line equipment promised last year were be held in late January in Goring and several other villages. However a pre-meeting with the Rail Action Group revealed that Network Rail’s proposals were incomplete and it was agreed the consultation should be deferred, probably for several months.
For more information see Railway Action Group for Goring Gap and the December and January GGNs.
Goring to Wallingford bus service
Following withdrawal of OCC’s subsidy, a reduced timetable on the 134 service to Wallingford via The Stokes was introduced in summer 2016 as an interim measure pending a decision on its longer-term future. A new operator is now providing a service very similar to that which applied until last summer’s reductions. See January’s GGN and Goring Parish Council
There have been no major new planning applications in either village in recent months. However the appeal against refusal by SODC of the 2015 application to build up to 35 houses at the southern end of Manor Road was finally dismissed by the inspector in September 2016 following the public hearing in August. The Association had submitted a written objection to this application on the grounds that, as it contravened SODC’s current policies protecting the AONB by prohibiting development outside the built-up limits of the village, a decision on this site should be made through the on-going Neighbourhood Plan process.
In a similar vein, an application to build about 10 homes on land adjacent to Goring Fire Station has been submitted even though the site was already under consideration as part of the Neighbourhood Plan. Before it became known that this site was one of the four favoured sites, the parish council decided to object on various grounds including that the decision should be made through the Neighbourhood Plan process but SODC has recently approved this application.
In Streatley, the Swan Hotel has won approval for substantial changes, mainly internal but also involving extension of the glazed river frontage.
Additional playground equipment in Goring
Goring Parish Council has continued to pursue options for improved playground facilities and after further consultation with villagers on what is needed, it is now proposed to install some additional items at the south-eastern corner of the Gardiner Field. However further progress on this will be delayed due to a number of other urgent calls on council funds. Although these proposals are focused on a different user group to the one targeted by our Fun and Fitness plan put forward to both parish councils some two years ago, your committee believes Goring council deserve support for their attempts to enhance village facilities. See Goring Parish Council
Traffic in Goring High Street
The Association was represented at a meeting in February 2016 between Goring Parish Council, local business representatives and OCC when various proposals for dealing with congestion in the High Street were considered, with a view to possible implementation before or as part of the resurfacing work which was scheduled for summer 2016. However the welcome resurfacing went ahead before any response was received from OCC to the additional proposals.
A revised plan has now been proposed by OCC and the parish council plans to consult villagers on this soon through the pages of GGN. Watch out for this and have your say, either through our Contact Us page or directly to the council. See Goring Parish Council for more information.
Footpath from Wheel Orchard car park to Goring High Street
Despite the commendable efforts of Goring Gap in Bloom to improve the patch of land between the footpath and the telephone exchange building, the fencing along this path remains an eyesore. Prompted by our discovery that SODC makes grants available to parishes for improvements such as new fencing at this location, your committee has proposed to the parish council that this should be pursued and has discovered that a proposal for an enhancement scheme is already being developed. However progress is presently being hindered by uncertainty about the ownership of some or all of the actual fencing. See Goring Parish Council for more information.
Thank you for your continued support of the Association.