Consultation on South Oxon Local Plan – read CPRE’s response

Hulton Park

4th December 2017

CPRE has responded to the consultation on SODC’s Local Plan – we have called on the Inspector not to release land from the Green Belt and to reconsider the need for a ‘new town’ at Chalgrove.

The consultation on South Oxfordshire’s Local Plan has now closed (30 November).

In our response we have said that the Plan is ‘unsound’.

We have called on the Inspector not to release land from the Green Belt for the proposed developments at Culham and Wheatley and to reconsider the need for a ‘new town’ at Chalgrove.

See our full response below.


Our overall comments:

1. Oxford’s unmet need is unsound.
There is no evidence that any houses are needed to meet Oxford’s unmet need at all, much less the arbitrary 3,750, and it is unsound for the Plan to contain them.

2. It is unsound to plan for a surplus.
The Plan allocates land for the provision of 1,500 houses over and above the figures from the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), which are already overstated. Over-allocation of land does not mean developers will build more houses – it just allows them to cherry-pick the ‘best’ (often greenfield) sites.

3. The SHMA itself is now proven unsound, as CPRE had always claimed.
The Government’s new proposal for calculated housing need, if accepted, would give a need figure for the District 3,000 houses lower than the SHMA-based total in the Plan – making the much higher SHMA totals unsound.

4. It is neither sound, nor positive, to plan without a target density to make best use of land and provide more affordable housing.
Land should be used as sparingly as possible to preserve the rural environment. The District already has a large stock of wasteful low density executive houses – the crying need is to balance the whole housing stock with lower cost, smaller houses, at higher densities, maximising use of expensive land.

5. Taking land from the Green Belt is unjustified.
The Green Belt removals are unsound as there are no exceptional circumstances to justify them.

6. The Chalgrove development is inappropriate and potentially undeliverable within the timescale of the Plan.
The proposed development at Chalgrove airfield will swamp the existing village of Chalgrove and neighbouring villages.

7. ‘Not mentioning the Expressway’ itself makes the Plan unsound.
Although it is mentioned in the Plan, the potential magnitude of the proposed Oxford – Cambridge Expressway Growth Corridor is not indicated, nor that the South Oxfordshire Green Belt seems to be the County Council’s preferred target area.


What happens next? 

After the responses have been reviewed and collated the Council will submit these, its evidence, supporting documents and the Plan itself to the Secretary of State.

A Planning Inspector will then be appointed to carry out an Independent Examination of the Local Plan.

The Inspector will then examine the Local Plan 2011-2033, the evidence supporting it and the comments received and will hear comments from those who wish to appear at the formal hearing sessions. The Inspector will then report as to whether the plan is “sound” and “legally compliant”.

CPRE has registered its wish to appear at the hearing sessions.


CPRE Oxfordshire, 4 December