West Oxfordshire Local Plan Consultation – closes Friday 8 May


27th April 2015

Consultation closes on Friday 8 May on WODC’s pre-submission draft of its Local Plan – have your say!


The latest and final consultation on the draft West Oxfordshire Local Plan, setting out how the District should develop until 2031, closes on Friday 8 May.

As this is a ‘Pre-submission consultation’ all responses will need to be formatted to address the following specific questions:

  • Whether the plan has been prepared in accordance with the duty to co-operate;
  • Whether the plan has been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements; and
  • Whether the plan is ‘sound’ (i.e. positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy).

See the Guidance Note on the WODC website for further information.

This may seem complicated, but please don’t let it put you off!  Clearly you will wish to put any response into your own words but we set out below, in simple terms, the basis on which CPRE will be commenting in the hope that this may be of assistance.   

CPRE considers that there is much to be welcomed in the Plan, with an overall narrative which appears to have a very consistent approach to recognising and valuing the District’s rural character and landscape.  However, we remain concerned that the high housing numbers being proposed could fundamentally undermine the other proposed policies.

See CPRE’s response below.

In particular, CPRE believes that Policies H1 – Amount & Distribution of Housing and H2 – Delivery of New Homes are unsound on the grounds that the housing figures  proposed are too high and therefore unjustified and ineffective.  We also believe they are not consistent with national policy.

  1. The figures are based on the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment – which is itself unsound, unsustainable and unrealistic.   (See: ‘Unsound & unsustainable – why the SHMA will increase greenfield use but not meet housing needs’  Urban Policy, May 2014).
  1. Whilst we welcome WODC’s reduction of the figures in view of past over-delivery, we believe that the adjustment is not sufficient to take this fully into account.
  1. We question whether adequate consideration has been given to other constraints, such as the need to retain the unique rural character of the District, which should lead to a reduction of the overall figures.  The current Plan proposes 10,500 new houses by 2031, yet we note that a previous Sustainability Assessment on the South East Plan ruled out 6,700 new houses on the basis that this was considered ‘likely to put existing and planned infrastructure under greater pressure and have potentially negative sustainability impacts with the release of more greenfield land’.
  1. The windfall rates allowed for are modest in comparison to past figures, and therefore risk ongoing over-delivery which will build in problems for the future.

Please respond by the deadline of 8 May!

CPRE Oxfordshire, 27 April