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Consultation on Proposed Modifications to the West Oxfordshire Local Plan - have your say

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 10:26

Consultation on Proposed Modifications to the West Oxfordshire Local Plan - have your say

West Oxfordshire District Council has published a number of proposed modifications to the West Oxfordshire Local Plan, including a dramatic increase in housing numbers and proposals for a new garden village at Eynsham. Consulation runs until Friday 23 December 2016.

If you share our concerns, outlined below, please respond to the consultation.   It's vital WODC and the Planning Inspector here the voice of local people, not just developers!

Unrealistic and damaging housing targets

CPRE West Oxon’s chief concern is the high housing target that is now being proposed.   In the original draft Local Plan, 5,500 new households were planned over the period to 2029 (306 per annum over 18 years).  A higher figure of 6,700, based on economic growth forecasts, was ruled out on the basis that it would put infrastructure under pressure, with potential negative sustainability impact.  Now, just two years on, we are facing a proposed target of 15,950 houses by 2031 - an average of nearly 800 per annum.

This is completely beyond what has ever been achieved in the past and is not realistically achievable.  If the District were to fall behind on these targets, it would be vulnerable to much more of the speculative and inappropriate development which we have seen in the area over the last year or so.  The system is being set up to fail.

Oxford’s unmet need

Within the West Oxfordshire figures are 2,750 houses to cater for Oxford’s ‘unmet need’.

The figures are not based on existing need but on the need that would be generated by notional jobs that may or may not be created. Given its virtually full employment levels, there is of course no logical reason why Oxford City should be continuing to zone land for employment creation, whilst expecting the Districts to meet its housing need. These new jobs do not need to be created in Oxford, or even Oxfordshire, but could be directed to the County towns or supported in other parts of England where employment need is acute.

Transport Infrastructure

There are a number of additional transport measures proposed to link in to the increased housing numbers.  However, the A40 remains a major constraint. The modifications suggest a west bound bus lane between Witney and Oxford and dualling of the A40 between Witney and Eynsham. However ‘the anticipated cost of these improvements is £55m and there is no current funding available’.

Density

CPRE is concerned that, despite the increase in housing numbers, there is no clear policy on housing density.  If affordability is the real issue we are trying to address in the District, then we need small, high density units. Any land allocations must deliver the maximum number of units and those units must be as affordable as possible. This can only be achieved via high density development. As it stands, the mix of housing proposed does not maximise the land available, nor deliver the lowest cost housing that is clearly needed. CPRE therefore proposes an urgent review of allocations to ensure that maximum densities are achieved. Specifically, it should be investigated whether the same number of houses could be built on less land, leaving space for the next Plan Period instead of having to make additional allocations.

Key Sites

You may also wish to make comments on some of the specific sites now put forward within the plan.

This includes an initial 2,200 homes at the proposed Garden Village to the north of Eynsham (although likely to grow beyond this) along with an urban extension to the west of Eynsham which will add a further 1,000 new homes.

Other major sites will include increasing the number of homes in North Witney from 1,000 to 1,400; new allocations in Woodstock adding 670 properties; increasing the development area at Tank Farm, Chipping Norton from 600 to 1,400 homes and building a further 570 homes at three sites in Carterton in addition to over 1,000 homes which are already committed in and around the town.

 

When to comment

The proposed modifications have been published for a 6-week period of consultation from Friday 11 November to Friday 23 December 2016.

Representations must therefore be submitted no later than 5pm on Friday 23 December 2016.

All representations received within this 6-week period will be submitted to the Inspector together with the proposed modifications and supporting documentation. They will also be made available for public inspection.

NB If you might wish to speak on these matters at the Examination in Public, you MUST make a response to this consultation and either tick the box on the response form that says you wish to participate orally at examination or state it clearly in your written response. Failure to do so will mean you would not later be eligible to attend, whether you wished to or not.

How to comment

If you wish to comment on the proposed modifications please use the Council’s standard response form. A separate guidance note has also been made available to assist you in completing the form.

The response form and guidance note can be obtained via the following:

• Online at www.westoxon.gov.uk/localplan2031

• On request by telephoning the Planning Policy Team on 01993 861667

Representations may be made in writing or by way of electronic communications. The postal address for written submissions is as follows:

Planning Policy Team
West Oxfordshire District Council
Elmfield
New Yatt Road
Witney
OX28 1PB

Electronic representations should be sent by email to the following address:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You may also submit your comments directly online at: http://planningconsultation.westoxon.gov.uk

Public Exhibitions

As part of the consultation there are a series of public exhibitions:

Witney Corn Exchange – The Foyer
Thursday 17th November 2:30pm – 8pm

Chipping Norton Town Hall – Lower Hall
Wednesday 23rd November 2:30pm – 8pm

Carterton Town Hall – Ground Floor
Tuesday 29th November 2:30pm – 8pm

St Leonard’s Church Hall, Eynsham
Monday 12th December 2:30pm – 8pm

Woodstock Community Centre, New Road, Woodstock
Wednesday 14th December 2:30pm – 8pm

Next Steps

All representations received within this 6-week period will be submitted to the Inspector together with the proposed modifications and supporting documentation. At that point the examination of the Local Plan will resume and the Inspector will confirm the timing of any subsequent hearing sessions. These are likely to be held in spring 2017.

Further Information

For further information please contact the Planning Policy Team on 01993 861667 or send an email to the following address:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CPRE Oxfordshire, 29 November

© CPRE Oxfordshire, 20 High Street, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX49 5PY - phone 01491 612079 - email campaign@cpreoxon.org.uk 

CPRE Oxfordshire is a registered charity, number 1093081, and company limited by guarantee, registered in England, number 04443278

Registered Office: CPRE Oxfordshire, 20 High Street, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX49 5PY