You have until 27 May to have your say on the county’s forced economic growth plan!

Hulton Park

3rd May 2016

OxLEP – Oxfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership – the unelected quango that is driving the economic growth in our county – is holding a public consultation on the ‘Refresh’ of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

See CPRE’s response to the consultation below.

The consultation runs until Friday 27 May and is being hosted on the OxLEP website.

The public were not consulted on the original SEP – the economic strategy for Oxfordshire. When it was drafted in 2014, OxLEP promised a public consultation on its growth plans, but cancelled this due to ‘lack of time’!

But while the public are finally being given the opportunity to comment on some aspects of the Plan, the overall growth targets are not up for debate.

This isn’t good enough! We believe local people should be given a proper opportunity to have their say on the future of our county.

The Plan

Although packed with cosy platitudes about economic growth, the truth is tucked away in Appendix 1 – that the quango is trying to impose a plan to create 85,000 new jobs in a County of full employment and build 100,000 houses – a 50% increase in our housing stock, equivalent to 2 new Oxfords – to house the people coming to take up these posts.

The Plan reveals:

– a rate and pace of growth that is unsustainable, unachievable and undesirable
– a lack of democracy and a failure to prioritise the needs of local residents.

The result is a blueprint that threatens to undermine Oxfordshire’s rural character and destroy the quality of life that underpins our vibrant local economy.

We believe that growth at the scale and pace they envisage will actually undermine quality of life, including worsening traffic congestion, increasing pressure on services and infrastructure and damaging Oxfordshire’s environment and rural character.  All these things are actually vital to a thriving economy – so in the end OxLEP may kill off the very thing they are seeking to enhance.

The real facts?

Economic Growth is desirable, but there is no reason Oxfordshire should bear such a heavy load.

We have full employment for local people already, and we don’t need to be concreted over.

Even if it was desirable, the rate of building proposed is way beyond any likelihood of achievement. It will mean though that greedy developers will cherry-pick the best bits – that is the places where building will be most damaging to us.

Already the Green Belt is being carved up. It is a threat to all green spaces.

What can you do?

Respond to the online consultation.

Or simply email:

CPRE believes the very future of our County is too important to be left in the hands of an unelected and self-interested quango.

A properly elected body representing us the people of Oxfordshire should review this quango’s proposals and assess their impacts on our County.

We should then be consulted by them on whether we share this nightmare vision of a future of growth at all costs to our environment.

We therefore urge you to call for:

1. A proper assessment of the impacts of this proposed Strategic Economic Plan,
2. To be followed by a full, separate consultation on the overall growth targets,
3. To be led by a democratically elected and accountable body.

See our response below.


CPRE Oxfordshire, 3 May 2016