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Intervention not justified or democratic

Monday, 10 February 2020 16:04

Intervention not justified or democratic

CPRE Oxfordshire asks Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State: How do you equate your intervention in the South Oxfordshire Local Plan process with local democracy?

CPRE has posed the question ahead of a Oxford County Council meeting at which a motion will be discussed proposing that Councillors should agree to take over the South Oxfordshire Local Plan if asked to do so by the Secretary of State and enough funds be made available.

CPRE maintains that any such move would undermine local democracy based on the Local Election results in May 2019. The Conservative majority was radically overturned with 33 seats reduced to 9. - a direct result of the anger felt towards overdevelopment of the District. This anger remains and on that basis how is intervention justified or democratic?

We are aware that it is raising concerns amongst people across Oxfordshire about the precedent that might be set for future intervention. The development of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, the joint strategic spatial plan for the county, is at a crucial stage. CPRE Oxfordshire has strongly supported the development of such a plan, but it would be hard for both us and others to continue in confidence if it was felt that outside intervention might in due course seek to frustrate the wishes of local residents.

We share the public’s concern that LP34 is not fit for purpose. The numbers on which it is based are excessive; over 9,000 beyond the Government’s own calculation of housing need in South Oxfordshire and even further in excess of the historical and projected household growth figures for the District (as calculated by the Office of National Statistics). LP34 also has no recognition of the Climate Emergency facing the country, in contrast to declarations made by both the District Council and the UK Government. It has no targets for emission reduction and no plans on how to protect and enhance the natural environment. The planned settlement pattern around Oxford would severely damage the Oxford Green Belt, so damaging the setting and green lungs of the City.

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