Better use of land could save Green Belt at Kidlington

Fields with trees

17th January 2023

Image credit: Kidlington Development Watch

CPRE Oxfordshire understands the Cherwell District Council Executive will be meeting to consider the Draft Cherwell Local Plan at a special meeting on 19th January and has written to request that the proposed allocation of 300 houses in the Green Belt at Kidlington (Land North of the Moors, LPR8A) is removed from the Draft Plan prior to it going forward for public consultation. Removal of this site would make no material difference to the broader strategic objectives of the Plan or the ability to deliver the proposed housing numbers.  It would however confirm the commitment to the principle of the Green Belt which has seemed questionable over the last few years.

Helen Marshall, Director of CPRE Oxfordshire, said: “We hope that CDC will remove this allocation and focus on delivering an innovative, ambitious housing plan which minimises land take and delivers well-designed and sustainable communities.”

CPRE Oxfordshire believes that the 300 houses proposed at Kidlington in the Draft Cherwell Local Plan 2040 needn’t be built on valuable Green Belt land. It is less than 18 months since the Green Belt around the Kidlington area was significantly redrawn in the Local Plan Part 1 Review which allocated 4,400 houses to this area of the Green Belt.

Helen Marshall said:
“The Oxford Green Belt is a vital and much-loved resource for Oxfordshire residents and helps to protect the countryside from encroachment. The allocation would lead to a further significant loss of amenity for local residents and further disintegration of the Oxford Green Belt in an area that is already under enormous pressure.”

National planning policy requires local authorities to consider housing density prior to justifying any changes to Green Belt boundaries. The proposed housing density targets in the Draft Plan are noticeably unambitious.   Nevertheless, the 300 houses planned for Kidlington could be allocated across alternative sites proposed in the Draft Plan without any impact whatsoever on the overall average housing density of these locations. 

Meanwhile, the Government has clearly stated its view that unmet housing need is by itself not a justification for reviewing Green Belt boundaries.