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Local election results demand rethink of Local Plans

Tuesday, 07 May 2019 11:29

The massive swings against the ruling parties in Oxfordshire’s local elections suggest that local dissatisfaction with the excessive development in the Growth Deal, including unjustified loss of Green Belt land, may have been a factor on top of a national protest vote.

The ruling Conservative Party lost control in both South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse Districts, and lost seven seats and four seats being contested in the partial elections in West Oxfordshire and Cherwell Districts respectively.

Whatever the causes, the shake-up at the Councils, the changes of control, and the election of new Councillors, give an opportunity for each Council to re-visit the support given by its predecessor to its proposed Local Plan.

CPRE Oxfordshire is therefore recommending that these Councils take the current Local Plans off the table for a re-think, before they are examined or adopted.

The housing numbers currently proposed are very close to double those the Government considers necessary, and the Growth Deal itself states that they are significantly in excess of any local need. Local Plans should be re-written to accommodate actual need in full, but only actual need.

Likewise, CPRE urges each Council to review the assumptions behind the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 which is aimed at building over another 200,000 houses, and doubling Oxfordshire’s housing stock, several multiples of any actual need for houses.

Helen Marshall, Director, CPRE Oxfordshire said: “It’s time to set a more appropriate level of development, in line with natural growth and migration, not arbitrary targets. Then we can concentrate on looking after our wonderful landscape and supporting our local communities, which are critical to our economic success.”

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