Oxfordshire Plan 2050: CPRE helps secure additional consultation

Ben Seymour, Unsplash

1st August 2022

Image credit: Ben Seymour, Unsplash

Earlier this year, CPRE Oxfordshire called for an additional round of public consultation on the emerging Oxfordshire 2050 Plan. The Future Oxfordshire Partnership (FOP) has now announced that this is likely to take place in the autumn.

CPRE believes a further consultation is necessary because the growth options outlined in the last version of the Plan were based on flawed evidence.  The FOP has confirmed that it will be updating the Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment – the critical document underpinning the growth figures – which was widely challenged by CPRE and many other groups including the Oxford Civic Society, Need not Greed Oxfordshire and Friends of the Earth.

Richard Harding, Chair of CPRE Oxfordshire, said: “The commitment to update the growth assessment is welcome but we still need reassurance that this will address the fundamental flaws in the original methodology, which didn’t even follow Government guidance.”

Summer is critical period as Councils debate behind the scenes

CPRE Oxfordshire is aware that meetings are taking place between the councils over the summer, and it is likely that this is where important decisions on growth and policy options will be thrashed out.  

Richard Harding: “Obviously the councils need to discuss the evidence and draw some preliminary conclusions and recommendations about the amount of development, what it should look like and where it should go.   However, the next consultation must be a genuine one, with the public given real choices about the scale and nature of development across Oxfordshire, not just an endorsement of decisions already taken behind the scenes.”

CPRE Oxfordshire is asking the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan to deliver on three key issues:

  • Housing numbers: committing to a level of growth that can be accommodated without undue damage to our countryside and rural character.
  • Building in the ‘right’ place: maximising use of already allocated sites and giving a high level of protection to Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and land with high biodiversity potential.
  • Housing density: building high-quality, high-density housing to make the best use of scarce land and create more affordable and climate-friendly communities.

What level of growth is consistent with protecting our environment and rural character?
It’s time to get the balance right.