Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050

Comment ID 1196
Document Section Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 INTRODUCTION (no name) View all on this section
Respondent Oxfordshire County Council View all by this respondent
Response Date 03 Apr 2019
Comment

1. The county council strongly supports the Vision, Aspirations and Objectives of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and wishes to emphasise the inter-dependence of the objectives and aspirations and the need to focus on delivering the vision in an integrated way. Set out below are some key points that would further strengthen future iterations of the Plan around certain key messages and themes.

2. The Introduction needs to be clearer on who ‘we’ are. A simple infographic that clearly show the interrelationships between, and responsibilities of, the five Local Planning Authorities, Oxfordshire County Council, OxLEP and the Growth Board would be valuable here.

3. It would be beneficial if it could be demonstrated how the different aspirations are interlinked, and how a genuine partnership approach across sectors (for example between public, private, academic, voluntary, community and faith sectors) is needed to achieve the Vision. At present the aspirations are boxed up separately, implying they are isolated considerations to achieving the aspirations and objectives. Perhaps this could be achieved in the Aspirations section, for example increased digital connectivity = reduce the need to travel; more active modes of travel = healthier lifestyles; advances in technology = reduced carbon and the need to combat climate change, promote integrated mobility and better air quality.

4. The word ‘sustainable’ appears frequently throughout the Plan. It would be helpful if a definition1 could be included in future consultations.

5. The Plan could put a particular spotlight on concepts such as charging points for Electric Vehicles into all premises together with full fibre broadband provision. This is vital if we are to manage congestion, promote healthy lifestyles and integrated mobility, and adapt to new innovations in energy generation.

6. Given the longer-tern nature of the Plan it could further highlight the possibilities of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles and Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) for their potential to disrupting all related transport domains such as safety, re-fuelling infrastructure, congestion management, accessibility, parking, quality of life and the use of urban space.

7. Air pollution is a significant issue that should be covered in more detail, given its significant effects on health & well-being and on the environment. It is crucial to ensure that modal shift and opportunities for safe cycling and walking routes are integrated into the connectivity of mobility within the built and natural environment. While the Plan recognises walking and cycling and its potential impact on reducing the need to travel by private car, which is welcomed, the importance of walking for its own sake is not highlighted as much as it could be – for example as a leisure activity, emphasising countryside access and the rights of way network, the importance of connected, safe and attractive walking routes for a range of users and in terms of its contribution to health and well-being (in line with the emerging Health & Well Being Strategy), community cohesion and integrated transport corridors with cycling, bus and rail services.

8. The Plan can also help to reinforce community cohesion and improve access to services by encouraging and supporting the provision of community hubs for shared services (for example, joint Emergency Services and/or Leisure and health facilities with libraries and other cultural facilities).

9. The concept of Integrated Mobility is missing from the Plan which would emphasise improved connectivity of places and people rather than a focus on ‘public transport’ or ‘sustainable transport’. It is well understood that problems in transportation today have arisen due to fragmentation between different transport choices and services. To reflect the long-term nature of the Plan, innovations in mobility and the change in thinking towards more connected, integrated transport solutions, congestion management, the Plan may well focus on the concept of ‘Integrated Mobility’. The county council has taken an active lead in the integrated transport future of Oxfordshire and would like to see the concept further strengthened in the Plan.

10. Oxfordshire is amongst the very best areas in the country for recycling and waste prevention. The Plan should aspire to retain this status and develop policies that create a circular economy2 which aims to keep scarce resources in use for longer.

11. Future growth in Oxfordshire needs to be seen in a wider context as it will be coordinated within a wider geography, including the Oxford to Cambridge Arc and England’s Economic Heartland areas. This is important in relation to the proposed development of the Expressway and East West Rail which will have a major impact on the selected broad locations for growth in Oxfordshire in the long term.

12. Outlined below are the key messages that emerged from consulting county council officers. More detailed comments that outline where officers have suggested certain changes to the Vision and Objectives is at Annex 1.

 

 

1 ‘Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.’ (US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)

2 ‘The circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Relying on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimising negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital.’ (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

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