The National Trust is backing a campaign to oppose the development of a marina at one of the most tranquil and unspoilt stretches of the River Thames.
The idyllic setting of Brandy Island, near the village of Buscot in Oxfordshire on the River Thames National Trail, is hugely popular with walkers and local people who visit the area in their thousands to enjoy its peace and tranquillity, and the chance to glimpse kingfishers, otters and other local wildlife.
But plans submitted to The Vale of White Horse District Council, for commercial development of a disused water plant on the island, threaten to destroy the peace and special timeless character of the area.
With the development of a boat hire business with facilities for storage, maintenance and repair, local campaigners are worried that the proposals will lead to increased noise, traffic and change forever the landscape and tranquillity of this site that will undermine the reason why the area is popular.
The proposals will test the Government’s pledge to protect the open countryside and the interests of local communities when it published the controversial new National Planning Policy Framework earlier this year.
“The area around Brandy Island is a special place that is loved by thousands of people who go there for its unique, tranquil setting,” said Richard Henderson, the National Trust’s general manager for Oxfordshire who is working closely with the local community on the campaign.
“The deadline for objections is looming fast and we urge anyone who loves this place and wants to support the campaign to make their views known through the formal channels.
“Details of how to do this on our website at: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/savebuscot.
“We support new development where it’s appropriate for the local area but in this case the proposals threaten what make this place special, and we are reflecting the views of many local stake-holders in strongly opposing the scheme.”
The National Trust has looked after village of Buscot since 1956 so people can continue to enjoy its special timeless character and the surrounding countryside.
The reasons why the Trust is objecting to the proposals are:
This development would have an impact of the character of the local area which is recognised by the Local Authority as “an area of high landscape value”. It would detract from the unspoilt beauty of Buscot Old Parsonage which is a Grade II* listed protected historic building. This site is surrounded by open undeveloped countryside and the National Trust believes that the habitat should be conserved and enhanced by returning the whole site to a conservation area.
Traffic will rise to an unacceptable level for local residents. The access roads are very narrow and have no passing places. Buscot Lock attracts visitors throughout the year. It is a popular picnic spot in the summer as it is a safe and unspoilt place for people to enjoy. The increased traffic will have adverse effect on the safety of the public and their quiet enjoyment of the site.
The increased traffic will add to the existing pressure on the main road through the village and increase parking problems. The T-junction with the main A417 is already considered to be dangerous and more traffic entering/exiting the village will only increase the risks.
The impact to residents both in the village and immediately adjacent to the site cannot be underestimated. Local residents will be immediately affected by the noise of boat owners with power tools, radios and machinery, as will all those who currently enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the area.
To comment on the proposals, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/savebuscot. Twitter users are also encouraged to tweet using the hashtag #savebuscot.