Dear Matt,

Temporary Planning Permissions in Thrupp Lane

The Vale Council has decided to refuse a further extension of various temporary planning permissions in Thrupp Lane.

For many years, various businesses have been operating – under a succession of temporary permissions - from buildings in Curtis’ yard at the end of Thrupp Lane. The buildings were originally constructed to house machinery for gravel quarrying nearby. The site is in the Green Belt, but the temporary permissions were allowed, as the buildings might have been needed for quarrying-related purposes again in the future.

In September, Oxfordshire County Council decided that gravel quarrying in the area has permanently ceased. This means there is no longer any justification for retaining these ‘temporary’ buildings in the Green Belt. The Vale, accordingly, decided to refuse a further extension of the temporary permissions, but will work with the businesses to help them relocate to new premises elsewhere.

FRL has always said that it has no objection to the businesses being there. Our concern is the traffic they generate in Thrupp Lane. There have been many attempts to get a new access created from Curtis’ yard onto Audlett Drive, but these have unfortunately come to nothing. The Vale’s decision may lead to a future reduction in traffic using Thrupp Lane.

Roger Thomas
Chairman Friends of Radley Lakes

Recent Work done by Earth Trust at Radley Lakes

In November Earth Trust volunteers finished the maintenance scything of the willow regeneration on the areas that seasonally flood in the ash-pits. This is on both on the ash-pits known as Thrupp Green (or Area H/I) and Little Homes Field (or Area G). By scything the willow re- growth Earth Trust hope to keep these areas open and accessible for overwintering wading birds such as snipe and woodcock, both of which regularly use the ash-pits in the winter months. They use Austrian scythes, and within the Thursday Group volunteers there are about 10 volunteers that are now regular scythers.

The Importance of Radley Lakes for Scarce and Threatened Species

Radley Lakes is important in Oxfordshire for many scarce and threatened species, in no small part because of the habitat diversity there. Over the years, particularly since the campaign to save Thrupp and Bullfield Lakes, much time and effort has been devoted to recording species there both by individuals such as Bob Eeles, Ben Carpenter and Ivan Wright and by groups such as the Abingdon Naturalists and, in recent years, Earth Trust. Just to give you a flavour, here is a very short summary of their findings:

Plants – 300 species in ash pits area alone - 15 of those are listed on the Oxfordshire Rare Plants Register, of which 8 are ‘Red Listed ‘ nationally.
Birds – 152 species have been recorded in a 10 year study by Ben Carpenter. Radley Lakes used to be the most important area for breeding birds in Oxfordshire ( 83 breeding species). It is still a top site in the County.
Dragonflies – 23 resident species which is 62% of English breeding species Probably the top site in the county.
Bees and wasps – 158 species recorded by Ivan Wright and Bioscan – 27% of UK species including several rare species.
Moths – about 700 species recorded by Bob Eeles – 28% of the UK list.
Butterflies - 27 species – 46% of the UK list.

'Deer next to Thrupp Lake.' © Jo Cartmell
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