Flawed South Oxfordshire Local Plan to be adopted

Image courtesy of Amanda Garrett

3rd December 2020

Image courtesy of Amanda Garrett

Councillors vote to adopt South Oxfordshire Local Plan.

The Inspector’s report into the South Oxfordshire Local Plan has now been published and has been found ‘sound’ with some relatively minor amendments, despite its impacts on this rural District.

Professor Richard Harding, Chairman, CPRE South Oxfordshire, said: “CPRE Oxfordshire cannot endorse this Plan, which vastly exaggerates housing numbers, fractures our Green Belt and does not reflect the wishes of South Oxfordshire residents.”

At a time when we have all experienced the value of green space, the South Oxfordshire Local Plan will provide over 70% of the housing and 85% of the strategic allocations within the Green Belt. Combined with other Local Plans across Oxfordshire, over 20,000 houses (development equivalent to a third of Oxford City) have now been given the go ahead within the Oxford Green Belt. The case of ‘exceptional circumstances’ to justify Green Belt development is laughable when clearly building on it is now considered the first, rather than last, resort.

CPRE continues to contend that the proposed housing numbers are far in excess of the needs of the residents of South Oxfordshire, based on figures published by the Government’s Office of National Statistics. The Plan now provides for over 30,000 houses by 2035, representing a 40% increase in housing stock.

CPRE Oxfordshire would like to see future planning for the District genuinely led by the people of Oxfordshire, rather than outside forces. The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 presents such an opportunity, and we are all encouraged to share our ‘thoughts, knowledge and expertise to help plan Oxfordshire’s future’. But South Oxfordshire residents may need some convincing that their voices will be heard and reflected in any forthcoming Plan.