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Parish Plan (Community-Led Plan)

The Sparsholt Parish Plan was published in April 2012.

Download a PDF copy of the Sparsholt Parish Plan from the link below.

The Parish Plan was managed by the Parish Plan Steering Group. At the time of publication, the members of the PPSG were as follows:-

  • Jorge M (Chair)
  • Barry J (Communications)
  • Andrew O (Secretary)
  • Iain & Angie B (Treasurer)
  • Eric S
  • Jane J
  • Anthony L
  • Richard O

To contact the Steering Group, send an email to: [email protected]

For further information on the purpose and scope of the Sparsholt Parish Community Plan, please visit the Sparsholt & Westcot Community Led Plan web site (opens in a new window):-

Note: the Parish Plan and the Parish Plan Steering Group are independent of both Sparsholt Parish Council and the Sparsholt & Westcot website.


Recent CLP Postings

Parish Plan (Final Draft) - please review & comment!

on Mon, 20/02/2012 - 11:12am

The final draft of the Parish Plan can be downloaded from the link below. If you would like a hard copy, please email [email protected] or ring Angie B on

All residents are invited to attend a meeting at Sparsholt Village Hall (Griffin Hall) on the 27th February 2012  to give views and ask questions on the Draft Parish Plan. Refreshments will be available.

Comments on the draft plan are welcome and can be made to group members on the evening of Monday, 27th February, by email to [email protected] or in writing to:-

  • The Parish Plan, Hall Place Stables, Sparsholt, Nr Wantage, Oxon, OX12 9PL.

Please ensure that we receive your comments and views by Friday, 30th March 2012.

Angie B will also attend the 'tea & cakes' afternoon on Friday 9th March at Griffin Hall, to answer questions and hear your views.

Parish Plan Steering Group, 20th February 2012.

Sparsholt Parish Plan Newsletter No 5: Consultation Feedback

on Mon, 19/12/2011 - 11:34am

We Are Nearly There!

With your help, we have completed five of the seven steps towards developing our Parish Plan. The next step, producing the draft Parish Plan, commences in December. We intend to have a draft ready for public consultation early in the New Year. The final version is due for publication in March 2012.

Progress since Newsletter 3

You will recall that aspects of the questionnaire responses needed further examination, including:

  • The types and location of any housing schemes and the viability of installing mains drainage.
  • Traffic, consisting of snow and ice on the roads, overgrown hedges, drainage ditches, speeding on village approaches and no through roads.
  • Changes that would make it more likely that the Star remains the village’s pub.
  • The viability of setting up a local bulk oil/gas purchase scheme.
  • Keeping the Church as an important part of the Parish and community life.
  • The practicalities associated with creating a children’s play area in the village.

We proposed that work groups should take another look at these areas. The enthusiastic participation of over 30 volunteers meant that they quickly reached a conclusion.

Feedback Please!

This is your opportunity to give your reaction to the work groups’ proposals before we finalise the draft Parish Plan. Please pass any comments to:-

Jorge M on

or Andrew O on

Work Group Proposals

The following sections summarise each work group’s conclusions and achievements.


This work group proposed a policy that residents agreed at two well-attended public meetings.

“If any housing development is to take place in Sparsholt Parish, new houses will only be permitted as infilling; that is, normally not more that one or two dwellings filling a small gap between existing properties within the existing built-up area of a settlement. Housing development on any exceptional grounds outside or adjacent to the existing built-up area of a settlement within the parish will be opposed. Approved developments should either be conversions of existing buildings or new properties of up to four bedrooms and be designed to complement the character and appearance of the settlement.”

Traffic – Snow & Ice

This work group made the following arrangements for roads leading to the B4507 and B4001.

Lonsdale Estates and Tony C will clear their designated areas in the event of heavy snow.

Volunteers will salt/grit their designated areas in icy conditions or after snow clearance. The Parish Council will organise supplies of salt and grit.

Traffic – Hedges & Verges

A task force is to tackle the overgrown hedges in Eastmanton Lane and Westcot Lane. The work group is to organise an ivy clearance day and run a ragwort awareness campaign next summer.

The onus is on landowners and householders to keep their verges clear. The work group is to organise a public awareness campaign.

Traffic – Flooded Roads

This work group is identifying the landowner’s and OCC’s responsibilities for drains maintenance.

A team has been organised to maintain gullies and traps each year. The Parish Council is to arrange clearance of Golden Acre/Sparsholt Manor and continue their efforts to resolve the triangle at the junction of Churchway and Partridge Way.

Additional teams are needed for the brook and ditch in Watery Lane and at the bottom of West Street.

Traffic – Speeding on Village Approaches

Police are to enforce speed limits twice a year. The work group is to involve local children in organising a speeding awareness campaign. Discussions are in progress about lowering the speed limit on the B4507 to 50 mph.

The Star

This work group drew up the following statement to describe the community’s aspirations.

“Residents of the Sparsholt Parish intend to ensure that the Star develops into a vibrant, successful business. There is an overwhelming desire for the pub to remain open. A large number of people are prepared to support a purchaser who is committed to making a success of the pub. The local community would strongly oppose any planning application to redevelop the Star for residential use.”

The Parish Plan Steering Group intends to nominate the Star as a “vital community asset” under the forthcoming Localism Bill.

The work group are in contact with Punch Taverns to keep up to date with their plans for the Star.

Bulk Oil/Gas Purchase Scheme

Newsletter 4 described the outcome of this work group’s investigations. They recommended ORCC’s Cooperative after examining several options. It has 470 members, including residents of Childrey and Sparsholt. Annual membership is £20. Childrey’s coordinator agreed to take on new members from Sparsholt Parish. Some residents have already joined and taken their first delivery of oil at ORCC’s lower price.

The Church

We cannot progress this aspect of the Parish Plan until the new incumbent is appointed. In the meantime, the Churchwardens will use the information from the consultation process to brief the Parochial Church Council representative who is on the interview panel on the views of the Parish.

Children’s Play Area

Enquiries are in progress into the possibility of funding a children’s play area. This and practical considerations, for example locating a site are unlikely to be resolved in time for the Parish Plan. The work group is developing an action plan.

A Big Thank You to the Volunteers!

The following people gave their time, experience and local knowledge to help the work groups.

In alphabetic order: Matt A, John B, Bob B, Tony C, John C, Ruth C, Norman D, Wendy E , Dave E, Jade H, Rob H, Brian H, Barry J, Maia L, Ian L, Terry M, Paula M, Louise M, Graham M, Guy M, Margaret M,  John O’G, Chris O’G, Emma P, Pete R, Peter S, Ed V, Pete W, Eileen W, Glen W, Barbara W & Graham W.

Thanks also to the Parish Council who gave its support when work groups needed assistance.

Watch This Space!

For news of the meeting in early 2012 to discuss the draft Parish Plan and hold the £100 Prize Draw!

Submitted by Andrew O, Parish Plan Steering Group, 18/12/11

Sparsholt Parish Plan Newsletter No 4: Fuel-Purchasing Cooperative - Updated

on Wed, 30/11/2011 - 4:00pm

*** Update 30/11/11 ***

The November oil price for members of the Fuel-Purchasing Cooperative scheme was 55.5p per litre. The average price quoted was 62.0p per litre and the highest price quoted was 71.0p per litre.


The Times newspaper reported that 4.3 million households that use either oil or LPG pay about a third more than those on mains gas. Because oil and LPG do not fall under the remit of Ofgem, there is little protection for consumers. This has led to many rural communities forming purchasing cooperatives to buy their oil as cheaply as possible.

Parish Plan Background

Analysis of parish plan questionnaires showed that an exceptionally high number (58 out of 123) of households expressed an interest in joining a cooperative. Some are already members of schemes run by other local villages. The table below shows the level of interest in the Parish.

Parish Area

Households Expressing an Interest

Blacklands & Churchway




Outlying Properties


Sparsholt Central


Watery Lane


West Street


Westcot Lane


Westcot North


Westcot South


Grand Total



The advantage of a purchasing cooperative is that most distributors quote a lower price on volume orders because it reduces delivery costs. What's more, that price is available to all members of the cooperative irrespective of the volume ordered.

Research into purchasing cooperatives established that oil schemes are the most popular. This is probably due to the more onerous conditions placed on consumers that wish to switch LPG distributor.

Oil-Purchasing Cooperative

The working group set up to identify the most suitable purchasing cooperative for Parish residents examined the following options:

  • A local (parish-based) cooperative
  • A cooperative run by a nearby community.
  • The countywide ORCC[1] run cooperative.

They recommend the ORCC cooperative. It was set up in 2009 and now has 470 members, including residents in Childrey and Sparsholt. The process involves a local coordinator who passes member’s orders to the ORCC each month. The ORCC selects the distributor that quotes the best price. The distributor contacts each member directly to arrange delivery and collect payment. There is an annual membership fee of £20. For the time being, Jane B, Childrey’s coordinator has agreed to take on new members from the Parish although the need for a separate coordinator ultimately depends on the additional workload of looking after a larger group.

The working group discounted the option to set up a parish-based cooperative because of the work involved in starting from scratch and that it would largely result in a duplication of effort. They also discounted the option to join another cooperative because of the ones identified they either restricted membership to the immediate local area or were too far away to make it a realistic proposition.

Oil-Purchasing Cooperative Savings

Below are case studies prepared by individual members of the working group. They illustrate the savings that could have made had they ordered their oil with the ORCC over the past 12 months.

Case Study-1



4,300 litres

Actual Price Paid


ORCC Negotiated Price


Annual Saving


Membership Fee



Case Study-2



1,455 litres

Actual Price Paid


ORCC Negotiated Price


Annual Saving


Membership Fee



Case Study-3



1,736 litres

Actual Price Paid


ORCC Negotiated Price


Annual Saving


Membership Fee



Note. Oil prices vary from day to day. The case studies include purchases made on different days to the orders placed by the ORCC. As a result, the indicative savings could be more or less than those stated above.

LPG-Purchasing Cooperative

The main obstacle to forming an LPG purchasing cooperative is that consumers are required to sign a 2‑year contract. Consequently, it is not possible to “shop around” for a competitive price from a different distributor during the contract period.

Tank ownership is another complication. Whilst it is possible to switch distributors, this can be tricky when the distributor applies current regulations retrospectively.

Join Up Now!

Residents that wish to join the ORCC oil scheme should complete the accompanying form (see link below) and send it together with your membership fee to the ORCC. Alternatively, go to and follow the links to the bulk oil-purchasing scheme to find out how to place your order. Jane B ([email protected]) is the local coordinator who lives in Childrey

LPG consumers should contact Andrew O on:-

or at [email protected]. Andrew will arrange a meeting to assess the viability of forming an LPG purchasing cooperative.

Further Action

1.      Publicise the ORCC scheme to encourage interested residents to enrol.

2.      Advise the ORCC administrator that Sparsholt residents are to enrol and Childrey’s coordinator is to manage orders at least for the time being.

3.      Identify a volunteer to take on the role of Parish Coordinator should the additional workload become too much for Childrey’s coordinator.


Submitted by Andrew O, Parish Plan Steering Group, 8/11/11

[1] Oxford Rural Community Council

Sparsholt Parish Plan Housing Policy Update - 7th November 2011

on Tue, 08/11/2011 - 5:10pm

Following analysis of the results of the housing questions in the Parish Plan Questionnaire, a statement has been prepared which is intended to express the parish's view of future housing. This statement will be incorporated into the eventual Parish Plan:-


Parish residents were asked whether they supported the building of new houses, either in open spaces or as infill (Infill refers to the infilling of a small gap – ie big enough for one or at most two houses set in plots of a broadly similar width to next door - within an otherwise built-up frontage or group of houses) between other properties.

From the results, it was very clear that the majority of residents would not want:

  • Any new houses outside of existing built up areas (71% against).
  • Developments of more than 5 properties (only 5% support).
  • Flats and apartments (only 6% support).
  • New buildings for business premises (only 10% support).

More than half of the residents (53%) do not support the building of any new dwellings in the parish. 35% of residents are prepared to consider new houses built between existing properties (infill) at appropriate places. This being subject to other criteria being met such as planning, drainage, access and the preservation or enhancement of the existing character or appearance of the area.

Residents were asked questions about types and size of housing, size of development and the conversion of existing farm buildings. The results showed that:

  • 29% wished to see developments of single dwellings and 22% would consider a development of up to 5 properties (although existing guidelines limit developments to 2 dwellings).
  • 37% preferred that new dwellings be privately owned although there was some lesser support for shared ownership (20%) and social rented (14%).
  • A large majority of those prepared in principle to accept development favoured properties, both bungalows and houses, of up to 4 bedrooms; there was less support for properties of 5 bedrooms or more.
  • There was significant support (74%) for the conversion of farm buildings into homes
  • There was support (42%) for the conversion of existing farm buildings for business use.


The housing survey findings correlate with the overwhelmingly positive view of Sparsholt Parish as a small rural community set in a quiet and peaceful environment on the north side of the Berkshire Downs with the historic springline village of Sparsholt, protected by a conservation area, at its heart.

They also appear to demonstrate recognition that Sparsholt is a small parish (population circa 300; households 138) without a shop, a school or a playing field and with restricted public transport services. The Parish Plan housing policy set out below uses the evidence gathered in the survey, acknowledges the majority view that no further housing development should be accommodated in the parish but also recognises that there may be opportunities that arise to accommodate some limited additional housing within the built-up limits of the parish without causing material harm to the established character of the rural parish.



An earlier draft was considered at an open meeting in the Star on 2nd November and many comments and suggestions were considered.  The revised statement on housing is available as a PDF download below. 

The statement is consistent with the results of the questionnaire and much care has been taken to ensure that the conclusion and proposed policy are based only on the survey results. 

If there are any final comments on the attached statement, please send them to [email protected]

There will be a final open meeting to explain the statement on Monday 14th November in the Star at 7.30pm.

Submitted by Jorge M, Parish Plan Steering Group, 8/11/11

The Star Inn: Statement from the Parish Plan Steering Group

on Thu, 06/10/2011 - 3:50pm

Presented & collated by the Parish Plan Steering Group, from feedback from residents Parish Plan Questionnaires.

For the Attention of Potential Purchasers of The Star and whomever it may concern,

Significant support for the Pub available from local residents

Residents in the Sparsholt Parish, intend to ensure that The Star develops into a vibrant, successful business. There is an overwhelming desire in the community for the pub to remain open. A large number of volunteers are prepared to give time and resources to support any purchaser who is committed to making a success of the business.

The views of residents were obtained in a recent objective survey with a 95% return rate. This survey was undertaken as part of the Parish Planning process for 2011.

80% of residents indicated that keeping the pub open was either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to them. 93 residents indicated that they would be willing to view a community-led business plan with a view to invest their time or money. The perceived decline of the pub in recent years is an emotive issue for many residents, and there is clearly a demand for a quality pub under the right management.

Acting on this feedback, the Parish Plan Steering Group is in the process of constituting a Working Group of local volunteers to develop a business plan that would provide concrete support to any new owner of the pub, and potentially to explore the running of the pub as a community-owned project, if this scenario is required.

Any prospective purchaser is very welcome to discuss any matters related to The Star with representatives from the community.

Significant opposition towards prospective purchasers who wish to close the pub and redevelopment the land

Our survey results are unequivocal: any planning application to develop the Star for residential use would be strongly opposed by the local community and their representatives. Residents groups will take all measures at their disposal to fight any purchaser who wishes to close the pub and capitalise on the property.

It is the intention of the Parish Plan Steering Group to take legal action at the earliest opportunity to nominate The Star as a ‘Vital Community Asset’ under the forthcoming Localism Bill. This will place significant constraints on any attempted future sale of the property that is not in the interests of the local community.

The Parish Plan Steering Group:                   

  • To learn more about the Parish Plan and the Steering group, click <here>.
  • To contact the Steering Group, send an email to: [email protected]

Parish Plan Steering Group, 6th October 2011

Have you completed your Parish Plan Questionnaire?

on Tue, 28/06/2011 - 4:54pm

Hopefully you have all now received your Parish Plan questionnaire, but if not please let the Parish Plan Steering Group know and they will arrange a copy for you. Email them by clicking <here>.

The Parish Plan Steering Group would be grateful if everyone could complete the form (with all family members, if possible) and hand it back to the volunteers that delivered it to you. Please email the Steering Group <here> if your completed questionnaire hasn't been collected within a couple of weeks of receiving it.

The Parish Plan Steering Group are already starting to load the data, so that the analysis of the opinions of all parishioners can begin. Ideally, the Steering Group would like to try and get a 100% return on the questionnaires, as this may give the plan more leverage with outside agencies.

For residents with younger children there is an Art Competition where the winning exhibit will feature in the final published Parish Plan. Details attached to the questionnaire.

Not only does our opinion count but you can also win £100, simply by completing the questionnaire.

You can discover more about the proposed Parish Plan by clicking this (external) link:-