Cherwell District Local Plan Partial Review – CPRE’s response

Hulton Park

26th July 2017

CPRE Oxfordshire

STOP PRESS 9 Oct 2017 – CPRE Oxfordshire’s full response to this consultation is now available at the bottom of this page.  

Cherwell District Council has published is Local Plan Partial Review for consultation.

Deadline: 10 OCTOBER

The Council is seeking the public’s view on specific proposals for housing developments in the south of the district, to meet its contribution to Oxford’s unmet need.

Cherwell is proposing an additional 4,400 houses for the district by 2031, over and above that allocated in the adopted part of its Local Plan – 3,990 houses are proposed in the Oxford Green Belt between north Oxford and Kidlington and between Kidlington, Begbroke and Yarnton, plus an additional 400 at Woodstock (see map of proposed sites below).

In order to help you in formulating your own consultation response, CPRE has produced a short commentary outlining its key concerns with the Local Plan Partial Review and its recommendations (scroll down to the foot of this page to see our full commentary).

Some of our main concerns were raised in a recent Press Release (see below).

CPRE’s overall comments & recommendations:

1. Oxford’s “unmet need”

The Local Plan Review is intended only to accommodate Oxford’s “unmet need” for housing but not only is Oxford’s total housing need substantially overstated, Oxford has not satisfactorily identified the amount of it they might not be able to meet. In CPRE’s view Oxford is capable of accommodating all or almost all of it by switching land earmarked for businesses to housing instead. It is therefore premature for Cherwell to even start the process of accommodating it.

2. Green Belt

The Council’s Local Plan Review is not just to build in the Green Belt, but to attack the core principles on which Green Belts depend. Even if Oxford’s inability to accommodate its own housing need was real and had been properly quantified the Council could and should meet it elsewhere than in the Green Belt, which three quarters of its own voters want to see protected.

3. Sustainability

Although the Council tries to argue that the most sustainable option is to build on the Green Belt, to lose Green Belt land is the very definition of unsustainability. The Council should locate development on the sustainable sites it has identified elsewhere in the district

4. Density

In the adopted part of its Local Plan and in this Review the Council wastes land by proposing to build at very low densities (houses per hectare). This is not only an unsustainable waste of a vital resource, but higher densities would produce the more affordable houses people actually need. The Council should set much higher density targets.

5. Transport

The Council says the housing could be supported by a new railway station ‘between Kidlington and Begbroke’ but this is extremely unlikely to be deliverable. Plans for additional housing in north Oxford/south Kidlington should be put on hold until the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway route is settled, the East West railway is re-opened and the full extent of the expansion of Bicester is agreed, with its possible new transport infrastructure.

6. Employment

Any new high-tech employment sites in the district should be focused at Bicester where large numbers of houses are already being built/have been provided for on the basis that high-tech employment would be provided, but this has not yet been forthcoming.

7. Woodstock

The planned housing for Woodstock will put undue stress on local infrastructure and services, threaten the World Heritage Site prospect, damage the rural environment and risk turning this historic town into an Oxford suburb. The Local Plan Review should instead protect historic Woodstock from inappropriate development.

Find out more:

To see the Partial Review of the Plan or to find out how to respond to the consultation see the Council website.


CPRE Oxfordshire (updated 9 Oct)