The planning application submitted by Shiplake College to build 6 sports pitches on farmland at Shiplake Farm which is owned by the Phillimore Estate was approved this week by South Oxfordshire District Council.
The decision was deferred from a meeting on 6 November as the officers wanted to make a site visit.
Shiplake Parish Council, Stephen Doble from Shiplake Farm and many local residents objected to the plans. Stephen’s family over four generations (over 100 years) have farmed on the land. The application will affect 23 acres of farmland and marginalise a further 15 acres.
Stephen Doble from Shiplake Farm said, “I was deeply disappointed by the decision, particularly when there was such strong opposition from the parish council and local residents which will only intensify when the bulldozers arrive. Unfortunately the planning committee’s site visit happened to be on one of only fourteen days in the last five years when the current pitches were flooded which may have given them a misleading snapshot of what is a manageable problem with improved drainage. The morning after the decision the floodwater had receded. I hope the College takes note of local opinion and I would be happy to work with them in the future.”
Headmaster, Tyrone Howe said, “We welcome the decision of the planning committee. The ability to provide a full and robust sports and co-curricular programme for all our pupils is of huge importance; having suitable pitches for training and matches helps achieve this. The relationship with the local community is extremely important to me, and I have emphasised since joining the College my desire to reinforce and build on this. We are very mindful of the feelings of Stephen Doble and some of the local residents and are fully committed to working with them and the Parish Council to address and allay their concerns.”