Vale calls for Oxford City to review its Local Plan

Hulton Park

20th July 2015

On 15 July, Vale councillors voted for a motion calling on Oxford City to review its Local Plan, but Council Leader Bob Price says he has no intention of reviewing the City’s Plan. 

With a huge housing target already set for the Vale, the Council has called on Oxford City to review its own Local Plan before expecting other districts to share their burden.

There is a requirement for Councils to cooperate with neighbouring authorities to accommodate the so called ‘unmet need’ – when a Council simply cannot find space for new housing.

Whilst it is likely that Oxford will have some unmet need the number is not yet agreed.

At a meeting of the full council on 15 July, Vale councillors voted overwhelmingly to support the motion and to commission work on the options for dealing with the issue of Oxford’s ‘unmet need’ and to consult the public on them.

But at a recent meeting of the Oxfordshire Growth Board on 25 June, Council Leader Bob Price said he had no intention of reviewing the City’s Local Plan.

Peter Collins, Chairman of CPRE’s Vale District Committee, welcomed the Vale’s announcement:

“CPRE welcomes the call by the Vale for Oxford City to review its own Local Plan to ensure that it maximises the use of land within the City boundaries before looking to rural districts to take the strain.

Oxford City should review its own strategy before asking others to shoulder what at present can only be seen as an unnecessary burden.

The City Council has little incentive to review its own Local Plan whilst it thinks it can force its neighbouring Districts to allocate land in the Oxford Green Belt, thus fulfilling its long-term political ambition for expansion.

It is considered by many that the City’s Core Strategy is out-of-date, a point made at the recent Northern Gateway hearings by South Oxon District Council, as well as CPRE.

The Vale recognises the need to cooperate with other Councils (under the ‘Duty to Co-operate’) and has set out the way in which it intends to tackle what is known as Oxford’s ‘unmet need’, including a public consultation on the options available.

The SHMA figures are already resulting in unrealistic and unsustainable figures for house-building across Oxfordshire, even when social and environmental constraints are applied. The Vale is in an especially bad position to accept any overflow from the City after having accepted the SHMA figures in their entirety.”


CPRE Oxfordshire, 20 July