West Oxfordshire Local Plan Consultation

Hulton Park

8th August 2014

West Oxfordshire District Council launches its Local Plan consultation today, with CPRE urging a further reduction in the housing target to avoid putting the countryside and infrastructure under pressure.

The consultatation on future plans for West Oxfordshire runs until Friday 19 September.   Have your say!

CPRE Oxfordshire has welcomed the decision by West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) to set a housing target that is lower than the recommendations of the SHMA (Strategic Housing Market Assessment) in its Draft Local Plan.

The new proposal of 525 houses a year for the District is an improvement on the SHMA, which suggests that a target in the order of 635 – 685 homes per annum is needed.

The Draft Plan, which replaces a former strategy that ended in 2011, has been refined to take account of the SHMA published earlier this year, which suggests that 11,880 homes are needed in the District for the period 2011-2029. The Draft Plan proposes instead a total of 9,450 homes, which although lower, makes allowance for the pro-growth agenda reflected in the SHMA by giving the target a ‘boost’ compared to past figures. Worryingly this number is still nearly 3,000 more than the “economic growth” option in the original draft Local Plan, which WODC recognised would put infrastructure under pressure, with potential negative sustainability impact.

Helen Marshall, Director of CPRE Oxfordshire said: “Whilst we welcome this lower housing figure, it is still a significant increase on the figure previously set out in draft proposals of 306 homes a year. The new figure relies on high in-migration and is above national rates. This could result in unnecessary loss of the countryside and erosion of the rural character of the District. CPRE believes the SHMA is unsound and unsustainable and should not be used as a benchmark in setting the District’s housing policy. CPRE therefore urges the District Council to further reduce the housing target, especially in view of the District’s past over-delivery of housing. CPRE also believes that other Districts should follow WODC’s lead.”

The Draft Local Plan sets out how the District could develop until 2029 and the latest version incorporates this higher target and associated changes on housing policy. A consultation focused on these housing issues now runs until Friday 19 September. Residents are being asked their views on how housing should develop in West Oxfordshire over the next 15 years, including a new overall target and strategy for meeting the objectives of the Plan.

Once the consultation has finished, all comments will be taken into consideration and a final version of the Plan will be published and submitted to an independent Inspector for examination in spring 2015.

We will of course be responding to the consultation.   If you share our concerns about these growth plans, please will you too? 

Read & respond to the consultatation via the WODC website.

Find out more about CPRE Oxfordshire’s views on the Strategic Housing Market Assessment and our Protect Rural Oxfordshire campaign