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13 September 

Over the next two weeks, the Council’s plans for allocating housing at a number of sites across the city will be scrutinised by a Planning Inspector.

Published in News archive
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 00:00

Barton housing plans: too few green spaces

11 July 2012 

The Oxford City committee of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says that the plan to build hundreds of houses on a site between Barton and Northway contains too few green spaces.

Published in News archive
Monday, 08 October 2012 14:05

Threats to the Green Belt

Despite its special 'protected' status, the Oxford Green Belt faces almost constant threats from land owners, developers and the councils.

Support our Green Belt campaigns:

Save the Oxford Green Belt & Protect the Historic City of Oxford

Save the Oxford Green Belt & Protect rural villages in South Cherwell

The Green Belt has safeguarded land from development for more than 50 years, preserving the unique setting and character of the historic city of Oxford and preventing uncontrolled urban sprawl.

Despite the long-standing strategy for Oxfordshire's market towns to absorb growth within the county to relieve pressures in Oxford, the 21st century has seen the Green Belt under serious threats from development, as the city pushes for urban expansion and developers cast their covetous eyes on the open countryside around our prosperous city.

We have campaigned for decades to protect and strengthen our Green Belt and make full use of the opportunities it provides for people to appreciate the countryside right on our doorstep. It is an important and irreplaceable environmental resource that helps to promote locally grown food, supports wildlife and provides a much-loved breathing space for city dwellers.

Download our fact sheet about the Oxford Green Belt and find out why we think it's worth protecting.

The Oxford Green Belt is under threat as never before - we need your help to protect it for future generations!

76% of people believe the Oxford Green Belt should remain open and undeveloped. See the results of our 2015 survey of public attitudes to the Green Belt.

Published in Oxford Green Belt
Monday, 17 September 2012 14:05

The Oxford Green Belt Matters

It is often said that the Green Belt is one of the few planning policies recognised by the public. The concept of having a "green belt" around London to restrain appalling urban sprawl was promoted by CPRE and others from about 1930. Proposals for the Oxford Green Belt were submitted in 1958, but for various reasons were not formally approved until 1975. As of 2017, the Green Belt around Oxford covers 34,910 hectares (approx. 13% of land area of county). (See Local Authority Green Belt Statistics below).

Oxford is an ancient city and its historic setting within a shallow valley, its dreaming spires and its timeless appearance make it one of the world's greatest and most beautiful urban environments. The Green Belt preserves its unique character.

Background

Government policy on the Green Belt was recently reviewed in early 2012 as part of the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). CPRE campaigned hard to maintain strong protection for the Green Belt. The final wording is, in our view, not as strong as previous policy guidance but still highlights the significant value of this landscape.

The NPPF says: ‘The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence.’

It also sets out the five key purposes of Green Belts:

  • To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas
  • To prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another
  • To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
  • To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
  • To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.
The NPPF says that a local planning authority has an obligation to ‘plan positively to enhance the beneficial use of the Green Belt, such as looking for opportunities to provide access; to provide opportunities for outdoor sport and recreation; to retain and enhance landscapes, visual amenity and biodiversity; or to improve damaged and derelict land.’‘As with previous Green Belt policy, inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances.
 
‘When considering any planning application, local planning authorities should ensure that substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt. ‘Very special circumstances’ will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations.’
 
With a few exceptions, such as limited outdoor sport or recreation facilities, or cemeteries, most new buildings in the Green Belt are considered inappropriate.

Certain other forms of development, such as mineral extraction and local transport infrastructure, may be considered, provided they preserve the openness of the Green Belt and do not conflict with the purposes of including land in Green Belt.

Oxford

Research from Natural England concluded that after fifty years the Oxford Green Belt is still a vital environmental asset.

It is:

  • The best means of protecting the Oxfordshire countryside from urban sprawl
  • A valuable resource for people to exercise and enjoy peace and quiet
  • A large area of truly rural landscape on the edge of our historic city
  • Important for agriculture and of growing importance for wildlife.
Oxfordshire is an economically buoyant county, so it is not surprising that the Oxford Green Belt is constantly under threat from development: from major urban extensions to wind turbines.

CPRE Oxfordshire strongly believes that the Green Belt remains a vital tool in promoting sustainable forms of living, safeguarding the open countryside and protecting the character of one of England's ancient cities.

Published in In depth
Monday, 01 October 2012 13:26

We care about planning

There are many planning challenges currently facing Oxfordshire and the Oxford Green Belt including housing, windfarms, mineral extraction, waste and transport infrastructure. We consider each one on its merits and ask: it is appropriate? Is it needed? What impact will it have on our countryside and our communities?

Published in The issues
Friday, 19 August 2011 13:26

Local plans and neighbourhood plans

The planning system is being blamed as too slow and as a barrier to growth and economic development. This is simply not true. Planning helps us to develop carefully, appropriately, sympathetically and for the benefit of us all. It protects us from short term greed and preserves the character of our villages, towns and landscapes.

Published in Update
Friday, 19 August 2011 13:26

Planning matters

Planning should be a balance between economic, social and environmental considerations. It is a crucial tool in protecting our countryside, while encouraging the right development in the right places for the right reasons.

Published in In depth
Page 5 of 5

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