Secretary of State asked to call in decision on Cherwell Green Belt


19th December 2019

CPRE Oxfordshire has asked Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to call in a forthcoming decision on the allocation of 4,400 houses in the Oxford Green Belt.

The proposals are currently going through examination by a Planning Inspector, with consultation on the Main Modifications closing this Friday 20 December.

If given the go ahead, large areas of land between North Oxford and Kidlington, Begbroke and Yarnton would be given over to development, effectively coalescing the settlements with each other and the City.

CPRE believes that a recent decision by the Secretary of State at Burley in Wharfedale undermines the proposals.

Michael Tyce, Trustee, CPRE Oxfordshire said: “The Secretary of State’s decision at Burley outlined the circumstances in which unmet housing need should not be met at the expense of the Green Belt.

This included where the land meets 3 or more of the purposes of the Green Belt, where build edges of 2 settlements would merge, where development would encroach in the countryside and where urban sprawl would be created.

All these same criteria apply to the proposed allocations in Cherwell District and we hope the Secretary of State will be willing to call in the decision, if the Planning Inspector is minded to give the proposals the go-ahead.”

CPRE Oxfordshire believes the proposed Green Belt releases in the Cherwell Local Plan Part 1 review fall foul of the Secretary of State’s criteria. There are therefore no exceptional circumstances to justify the release of Green Belt land proposed and the Cherwell Review should be found unsound.

CPRE has put this case to the Cherwell Inspector, Mr Paul Griffiths, but is also seeking reassurance from the Secretary of State that this critical decision will get the close scrutiny it deserves.

Mr Tyce added: “The Conservative Party manifesto promised to ‘protect and enhance the Green Belt’ so this will be an early test of this commitment.”

For more information see:
Cherwell District Council Website – Local Plan Part 1 Partial Review.
GOV.UK Website – Called-in Decision: land at Burley-in-Wharfedale.