Oxford Plan 2040 – No Green Belt Review Required


3rd November 2022

15 minute neighbourhoods should not trump Green Belt protections

CPRE Oxfordshire believes the proposal for a Green Belt review, hidden away in the latest consultation on Oxford’s Local Plan, would be inappropriate and a waste of taxpayers’ money. 

CPRE is urging City residents and those in surrounding Districts to challenge the City’s approach now before things are set in stone. Doing nothing will result in the city believing that its strategy of setting unrealistic housing numbers and expecting its neighbours to pick up the overspill has been endorsed, putting countryside & Green Belt at risk.

The City has made a detailed response difficult with an opaque plan that doesn’t give much clarity on how much development they are aiming for or where it will go.  However, they have made it clear they are likely to pursue a high growth agenda.

There are 20,000 houses already planned for the Green Belt in existing Local Plans, including the Oxford Local Plan 2036 that was only adopted three years ago.  This will inevitably put enormous pressure on the countryside, transport infrastructure and other services.   Adding to this pressure with yet another Green Belt review is completely unwarranted.  Enough is enough.

One of the main themes of the draft Plan is the creation of 15-minute neighbourhoods – meaning that houses should be within fifteen minutes’ walk or cycle of shops and services.   CPRE is supportive of this concept but believes protection of the Green Belt should also be confirmed.  As well as protecting the character and setting of historic Oxford and its other planning functions, the Green Belt is a vital area for leisure and well-being, food production, biodiversity and climate mitigation. 

Helen Marshall, Director of CPRE Oxfordshire, said:
CPRE Oxfordshire welcomes the concept of many of the environmental proposals in the Plan and the principle of the 15-minute neighbourhood, creating sustainable communities with access to services and facilities. However, this should not trump the importance of the Oxford Green Belt, which is vital to ensuring the continuing sustainability of the City and existing surrounding communities.

“We want early reassurance that 15-minute neighbourhoods will not be misrepresented as exceptional circumstances justifying more building in the Green Belt around the City and public money should not be spent on any further Green Belt Review.”

Oxford Local Plan 2040 Preferred Options Consultation closes 14th November 2022.

Read the CPRE Oxfordshire response here.

CPRE Oxfordshire has prepared a guide to help inform your response to the Oxford Local Plan 2040 Preferred Options Consultation. This includes suggestions for a quick 5 minute and a 20 minute response.
Download the guide below: