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HAVE YOUR SAY Cherwell District Local Plan 2040 – Options consultation Runs until 10 November

Tuesday, 19 October 2021 09:38

Aerial view of Islip, Oxfordshire Aerial view of Islip, Oxfordshire cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Dave Price - geograph.org.uk/p/3892478

Only strong policies will save our villages, as developers swamp Cherwell with rural site proposals.

 Cherwell District Council (CDC) is currently seeking your views on its Local Plan 2040, which will eventually identify specific development sites and policies to guide what that development looks like. Consultation runs until 10 November – see the Cherwell District Council website.

Developers have been asked to put forward possible sites, and not surprisingly they are keen to pursue profitable greenfield sites, but this could come at the cost of swamping our rural villages.

For example, here are the possible sites in Ambrosden and Islip:

Ambrosden image     

Ambrosden                     

   Islip image

  Islip

See CDC Parish Profiles for the proposals for other areas.

(NB These are just sites that developers and land owners have proposed – there has been no assessment/filtering of proposals to date.)

What policies do we need to help protect our rural villages?

The level of development – Cherwell’s targets for housing numbers and employment land will in fact be set by the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. We must ensure that the level of development stays within our environmental constraints and does not harm Oxfordshire’s rural character, both of which underpin our successful economy.

Where should the growth go?
It is hard to comment on spatial options until we know for certain the level of growth that is being planned.  However, CPRE supports the main focus of growth being in the urban centres, as Cherwell appears to be proposing. This does not mean that Banbury or Bicester, for example, should expand out endlessly over their surrounding countryside, but we should make more effective use of brownfield/town centre sites, especially given the changing nature of retail.  

The Oxford Green Belt has already been hammered by development allocations within the current Cherwell Local Plan 2031. The NPPF is clear that Green Belt boundaries, once set, should be permanent beyond the end of the Plan period so there should be no need to re-visit the boundaries again so quickly.  Development such as that being proposed by the Church Commissioners at Islip should be completely ruled out as being entirely inappropriate. 

What should the growth look like?
Land is a scarce resource and we must use it wisely. We support compact settlements, with smaller people friendly houses which are inexpensive to buy, easy to maintain, climate efficient and utilise scarce land more efficiently. Cherwell has already squandered precious Green Belt land, giving it up for development at an absurdly low density which will encourage executive, commuter housing rather than meeting the need for genuinely affordable housing for local people.  

We are encouraged by the consultation paper’s reference to 20 minute neighbourhoods, but there must also be a robust housing density policy. CPRE Oxfordshire supports a target density of 70-100 dwellings per hectare, a density level historically found in both rural and urban communities respectively. Importantly, this should involve reviewing current Local Plans to improve site densities, as well as planning any additional units needed to meet 2050 ambitions.

This will ensure the homes we need at more affordable prices, preserve land for its other benefits and services, and make a significant contribution to meeting climate change targets.

Sir David Gilmour, Chairman, CPRE Cherwell said:

“Our priorities must be to protect our environment and rural character whilst tackling the climate emergency. The Prime Minister has recently declared his intention that new housing should be built primarily on brownfield sites, an aim we heartily welcome. Development should be concentrated on these and other sites in urban areas. We urge the Council to reverse its recent policy of promoting large-scale development within the boundaries of Oxford’s Green Belt. Proposals such as the Church Commissioners’ plan to engulf the village of Islip and multiply its size by a factor of ten must be resisted. Council policies should support developments that propose compact, high-density and climate-efficient housing - with a large portion of them affordable - instead of allowing builders to erect large villas for commuters at absurdly low densities. Cherwell District is close to losing its character as a beautiful and largely rural district of woods and valleys, rivers and stone villages. If we wish to protect both its environment and its individuality, the Council must act with urgency and vigour now.”

Download our full response to the consultation below.

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Facebook.com/CPREOxfordshire Twitter@CPREOxfordshire>

Comments on the Options Consultation Paper and the interim Sustainability Appraisal Report can be made online viahttps://letstalkcherwellgov.uk/ or can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by post to: Planning Policy Team, Planning Policy, Conservation and Design, Cherwell District Council, Bodicote House, Bodicote, Banbury, OX15 4AA.

All comments should be received no later than 11.59pm on Wednesday 10 November 2021.

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