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Strategic Economic Plan Refresh - now online

Thursday, 15 December 2016 17:43

The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) has this week published online the final version of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) Refresh.

After several delays while Local Authorities were given the opportunity to comment on the draft SEP Refresh, OxLEP has published the final version of the Plan on its Website, although the official launch of the Plan is not until January 2017.

Disappointingly, the SEP Refresh has not compromised on the overall growth targets for the county (100,000 houses and more than 85,000 jobs in the next 15 years) and has put the responsibility for the figures squarely with the Local Authorities.

Need to balance opportunities for economic development with possible compromise to the natural environment

Thanks to our campaigning, however, the document is much improved and includes reference to some of the concerns flagged up by CPRE and others at the public workshops and in our responses to the consultation, particularly regarding the natural environment, the need for affordable housing and infrastructure pressures.

For example, in the section on 'Our Vision', the Plan says:

Oxfordshire will be on a trajectory for growth that is sustainable environmentally (taking into account climate change, carbon emissions, heritage, the natural environment and patterns of resource use), socially (reflecting the needs and character of communities) and economically (with businesses and others choosing to reinvest)’. (Our emphasis).

Critically, the Plan recognises the 'need to balance the opportunities for economic development with the possible compromise to the natural environment.'

House completions well adrift of rate informed by SHMA

Of particular note is the acknowledgement in the Plan that the rate of house completions ‘is still well adrift of the rate implied by the headline target that has been agreed by the local authorities (informed by the SHMA).’

With jobs growth reported at 7.8% between 2011 and 2014 (ie above the forecast), this means the jobs –v- housing imbalance in the county is set to worsen. However, many of these new jobs are reported to be in the construction industry, meaning they may not be permanent.

Little or no progress in providing affordable housing or reducing congestion on key highway links

Significantly the Plan also says there has been ‘little or no progress made’ in providing ‘accessible housing that is affordable for the people who work in Oxfordshire’, or in increasing the capacity and improving the efficiency and resilience of our local transport network ‘by reducing congestion on key highway links’.

The official launch of the Plan will be held in January.

See a PDF copy of the SEP Refresh.


CPRE Oxfordshire, 15 December

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