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Cherwell Councillors urged to protect the Green Belt

Monday, 05 February 2018 20:16

CPRE has urged Cherwell District Councillors to protect the Green Belt and reject proposals in its Local Plan Part 1 Review to put housing for Oxford in villages such as Kidlington, Begbroke and Yarnton.

We understand that this Plan will be brought to Council on 26 February for approval for submission to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Plan outlines the Council’s proposal to build an additional 4,400 houses for the district by 2031, over and above that already allocated in its adopted Local Plan, These houses are to cater for Oxford's so-called 'unmet need' and 3,990 of them are proposed in the Green Belt between north Oxford and Kidlington, in what is known as the ‘Kidlington Gap’, and between Kidlington and the rural villages of Begbroke and Yarnton.

CPRE's view is that:

  • Oxford has not been pressed to, and has not attempted to, justify these numbers or show how many of these houses it could accommodate itself. It would be reckless and irresponsible for Councillors to agree to take them unless they were sure they were needed and that Oxford could not accommodate them. CPRE believes that Oxford could accommodate most if not all of its stated housing need by prioritising land for housing rather than more job creation, and building at the higher densities appropriate to cities. The Cherwell LP Part 1 Review should at the very least be held in abeyance until after Oxford’s Local Plan has been completed.
  • Even if the need existed, it is NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) and Government White Paper Policy that the Green Belt should be protected.
  • The notional “unmet need” arises only from the SHMA (Strategic Housing Market Assessment) and the SHMA itself does not expect its requirements to be met if it involves using Green Belt. In any case the SHMA is not an obligation. The Council chose to adopt it but they could also unadopt it any time they liked, particularly on the basis of the Government’s new Objectively Assessed Need methodology.

Pressing ahead would set a worrying precedent for the acceptance of Oxford expansion and will impact on future growth targets across the whole of the District. It would be inconsistent with national policy, especially on protection of the Green Belt, and would not reflect the wishes of local residents.

We have urged Councillors to reject the Plan as it stands and to instruct officers to wait for the outcome of Oxford City’s Local Plan process before sacrificing Cherwell villages and Green Belt to meet an unproven need.

See CPRE's Briefing Note and Letter to Councillors below.

 

TAKE ACTION!

If you live in Cherwell District, please contact your Councillor before 26 February and ask them to protect the Green Belt.

Not sure who your Councillor is?  Find out on the Council website here

 

You can see CPRE Oxfordshire's full response to the consultation on the Cherwell Local Plan Part 1 Review on our website here.

 

 

CPRE Oxfordshire

February 2018

 

 

 

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