Aspiration 3 - Support economic growth

45 Oxfordshire's economy is vibrant and dynamic, even through difficult economic times, local businesses have continued to emerge and grow and our employment rates are good. We have strengths in a range of sciences and research and development sectors which provide large numbers of high value jobs. The government has recognised these strengths and sees Oxfordshire as a key contributor to their industrial strategy for the future. The Local Industrial Strategy is a response to this and establishes a plan for building on our current strengths and taking opportunities that are presenting themselves to Oxfordshire businesses.

46 It is clearly desirable that future generations of Oxfordshire residents will be able to access high value, quality jobs in the future. Decisions taken in the Oxfordshire Plan will have an important impact on the opportunities for economic growth and investor confidence in the county. Maximising the creation of wealth in the county will help address infrastructure challenges and tackle inequalities. The Oxfordshire Plan needs to recognise the strengths and ambitions of the government and of local businesses and will have a role in helping to achieve some of those. Oxfordshire has an ambition to develop a number of Living Labs to develop and test technological and sustainability solutions in real-life situations to support our role as a world leader in these research areas.

47 The implication of this aspiration is that the Oxfordshire Plan makes provision for growth in order to help support the local economy and maintain Oxfordshire's role in the national economy. Even without the Oxfordshire Plan, additional economic capacity will need to be provided in the period to 2050 as national policy states that plans need to "set out a clear economic vision and strategy which positively and proactively encourages sustainable economic growth, having regard to Local Industrial Strategies".

48 The vitality of town centres have been negatively affected by the development in the 1990s-2000s of out-of-town shopping centres with free parking, the diverse range goods available at supermarkets and online retailing. Some of our market towns have seen new town centre shopping developments come forward in the last 10 years and the Oxfordshire Plan should build on this to continue to bring activity and spend back to town centres to support local businesses and foster vibrant communities.

49 As with housing numbers, it is for Oxfordshire to determine (in the light of the evidence available) the appropriate level of economic growth over the plan period.

Draft Objective 5

To establish the right conditions to sustain and strengthen the role of Oxfordshire in the UK economy by building on our key strengths and assets

Draft Objective 6

To create a prosperous, successful and enterprising economy with benefits felt by all