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A Better Vision for Oxfordshire

Tuesday, 04 June 2019 11:40

CPRE Oxfordshire has proposed an alternative vision for the future of Oxfordshire, making the County’s rural character the fundamental starting point from which decisions about the future development of the County should be made. Anyone living in Oxfordshire in 2050 should experience the rural character of Oxfordshire which exists today.

Oxfordshire’s countryside, towns and villages are at the heart of its character and its environmental, economic and social well-being. Local people, not the National Infrastructure Commission or the Oxfordshire Growth Board, should be in the driving seat.

Our guiding principles, and means of realising our Vision, are that:

  • The amount of development, and its timescale, should be based on natural growth and migration;
  • Brownfield land should be developed first. Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) should be developed as a last resort under proven exceptional circumstances;
  • Genuinely affordable housing should be made available, in perpetuity, to address local need;
  • High densities of development should become standard, to avoid losing more land than necessary;
  • Any new communities must be sustainable and existing rural communities need investment to support services and infrastructure;
  • Job creation should reflect Oxfordshire’s existing skill base while addressing areas of need to reduce unsustainable commuting.

Future development needs to balance the County’s economic growth with protecting the County’s rural character and environment. Current Growth Board plans for Oxfordshire to become an economic growth hub, growing at five times the national rate. CPRE considers that growth on anything like this scale would be incompatible with preserving the rural nature of Oxfordshire.

Planning for Oxfordshire must prioritise the needs of communities and therefore residents should be given opportunities to decide the future of Oxfordshire. Younger members of the community, who will live with the consequences of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, should be proactively involved.

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