Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050

Comment ID 1111
Document Section Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 INTRODUCTION (no name) View all on this section
Respondent Debbie Dance View all by this respondent
Response Date 28 Mar 2019

Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 – Regulation 18 – Consultation


1.1 The Oxford Preservation Trust ("the Trust") is pleased to respond to the Oxfordshire authorities’ ("the authorities") ‘Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050’ ("Oxon 2050") regulation 18 consultation. 1.2 The Trust was established in 1927 as a charity and local amenity society with the principal aim of conserving and enhancing Oxford and its setting. It takes a forward thinking and positive approach to development, looking to influence change rather than stopping it, preserving the best of the old and encouraging the best of the new. It is committed to ensuring that Oxford can continue to flourish and prosper, whilst protecting its historic character and wider setting.

1.3 The Trust owns and looks after 1000 acres of land in and around Oxford making green space available for the benefit and enjoyment of local people.

1.4 The Trust has detailed knowledge and expertise built up over a number of years so that it is legitimately recognised as a professional and experienced voice. It is able to speak with conviction on matters relating to landscape, views and the impact of development on the wider landscape setting of the City of Oxford, the adjoining Green Belt and its surrounds.

1.5 The Trust is in the process of creating and adopting its planning mission statement within which it will set out its general approach to planning matters. This document is likely to reflect the planning principles of the Town and Country Planning Association and Historic England. The Trust will be pleased to share this with the authorities in due course and hopes that its positive and collaborative approach will be welcomed.

1.6 Oxford is an internationally recognised city, renowned for its excellence in academia and research; in science and innovation, and, in design and production. It has a wealth of historic and architectural assets of national and international importance which contribute to the character of the whole city, and its setting. It is essential that the city’s irreplaceable heritage and its setting are fully integrated into the overall vision, objectives and policies of the Oxon 2050 Plan. The historic and green setting of the city extends beyond its administrative boundary and into the Green Belt. Large areas of the Green Belt were established to specifically help protect the city’s irreplaceable heritage.

1.7 The Trust acknowledges the work the Oxfordshire Growth Board has undertaken, particularly to engage with the challenge of housing needs across the county. However, the Trust wishes to express some frustration and disappointment that the component Local Authority’s Local Plan timetables do not align and as a result, there is yet to be a very satisfactory conclusion for the reported unmet housing needs of Oxford City. The Trust is very concerned that the lack of a holistic view and plan on these matters will create a piecemeal erosion of Oxford’s unique green setting rather than a comprehensive management that could include well thought out and reasoned protection, and mitigation where necessary.

1.8 The Trust is pleased to see the emergence of the Oxon 2050 plan and hopes that this will point towards a more joined up and strategic approach to managing future change and growth. However, the Trust is not convinced that the Oxon 2050 plan will be able to engage with all the challenges created by the current misaligned Local Plans. This is especially the case where the Green Belt cannot be considered again in the short term (Oxon 2050 is expected to be adopted by 2020/21) to ensure that it has some level of permanence, as explained in the NPPF at paragraph 136:

"…Strategic policies should establish the need for any changes to Green Belt boundaries, having regard to their intended permanence in the long term, so they can endure beyond the plan period…"