Decision time for the South Oxfordshire District Council draft Plan

Hulton Park

3rd March 2020

STOP PRESS: The Secretary of State has directed South Oxfordshire District Council to progress its Local Plan through examination, to be adopted by December 2020. 

The information below was posted yesterday morning, but in the afternoon (before the letter was actually sent to councillors) we learnt that Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, had written to South Oxfordshire District Council and told them they must proceed with the submitted Local Plan as is, with a view to adoption by the end of this year.  

You can see his letter on the SODC website here.

CPRE Oxfordshire is alarmed by this overtaking of local democracy.  It also brings the whole Local Plan examination process into question, as there seems little point in challenging the evidence to be put before the Planning Inspector if the eventual outcome is already determined.   

As a leading barrister informed us last week, ‘Oxfordshire is rapidly becoming a case study of bad planning’.

We all know that more, genuinely affordable, housing is needed in the county. This will happen more quickly and more effeciently if communities have a genuine say in the process – not if they, and their elected representatives, are ignored and excluded.

We trust that SODC will be looking at all legal options open to it in response, and call on our other local authorities to show solidarity with South Oxfordshire – what happens in one District today may occur in others tomorrow. 


The submitted Draft South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2032 is not fit for purpose and no council, of whatever persuasion, should be seeking to implement it

Decision time is approaching for the SODC draft Plan. Most of you know the planned number of houses is vastly in excess of the number needed for the residents of South Oxfordshire and such rapid development would do considerable damage to our environment, communities and character of our District.

You will also know that, when asked, the residents of South Oxfordshire reject this excessive development and over 75% support the protection of the Oxford Green Belt, believing it should remain open and undeveloped1, Indeed successive Governments have re-affirmed their support for the preservation of the Green Belt and, only last week, the head of the National Infrastructure Commission reiterated this view. And yet here we are considering whether to give in to the Government and accept their poorly thought out targets. CPRE asks you to stand up and be counted and vote against the Local Plan.

We reiterate our view that the District does have a plan, adopted in 2012, which, with minor revision could last until 2027. This should give time to develop a really exciting and sustainable plan for the future.

You must know the current draft Plan is flawed. The number of houses is many times in excess of the Office for National Statistics projections for the growth of households for the District. The draft was developed before the recognition of the Climate Emergency facing the country. The scale of development, the settlement pattern and roads envisaged in the plan can only result in a congested, car based commuter society, totally unfit for the 21st Century.

Download the letter sent to South Oxfordshire District Councillors below.

CPRE Oxon letter to SODC Councillors March 20