Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050

Comment ID 1222
Document Section Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 INTRODUCTION (no name) View all on this section
Respondent CEG View all by this respondent
Agent Andrew Somerville
Response Date 04 Apr 2019

Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 – response to consultation

On behalf of CEG, we write in connection with the emerging Oxfordshire Plan 2050 ("the Emerging Plan") and the consultation ‘Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan’ ("the Consultation") being carried out under Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

We are pleased to engage in this innovative combined plan making process, which recognises the need to provide quality housing and employment choices for existing and future communities, whilst placing the health and social wellbeing of residents at the heart of the plan along with Oxfordshire’s outstanding historic and natural assets.

The Oxfordshire Plan’s ambition to be both visionary and deliverable, building on the proven working relationship of the Oxfordshire Growth Board and underpinned by the County’s ‘Housing and Growth Deal’, is greatly welcomed. Such an approach recognises the opportunities that such a wider, more strategic perspective will provide, which should enable the strengths of the County to be maintained whilst best addressing the challenges faced.

1. Introduction

CEG controls land adjacent to the south of Hanborough Station, which is available for development along with the adjacent land to the east that is owned by Blenheim Palace Estates ("the Site"). This land provides a significant opportunity to accommodate market and affordable homes in a sustainable location,

unconstrained by Green Belt or landscape designations and adjacent to a railway station with 10 minute journey time to Oxford (as well as direct connections to the wider southern region).

Whilst more detail of this opportunity will be provided in response to the Call for Ideas (call for strategic sites) consultation before its close on 12 April 2019, to help understand the context of these representations to the Consultation a plan showing the extent of the Site is at Enclosure 1; a plan showing the Site in relation to surrounding facilities is at Enclosure 2; a plan that shows railway accessibility is at Enclosure 3; the absence of Green Belt and AONB constraints is shown at Enclosure 4; and an illustrative masterplan is at Enclosure 5.

It is also relevant to identify the Site in three areas:

 Area A has planning permission APP/D3125/W/16/3148400 ("the Appeal Decision") for 120 homes that is currently being delivered by Bloor Homes;

 Area B was assessed in the West Oxfordshire District Council’s ("the Council") SHEELA 2016 (with site reference 449); and

 the whole Site (including Area C) was most recently considered in the Sustainability Appraisal (Sustainability Appraisal Further Addendum Report (October 2017)) as a reasonable alternative to the West Eynsham Strategic Development Area (SDA) in the West Oxfordshire Local Plan (2011 – 2031).

Whilst these representations focus on the Consultation, they should be read together with CEG’s response to the Call for Ideas once that submission is made.

2. Application of the Oxfordshire Plan

The Emerging Plan is committed to ensuring that the 100,000 housing requirement up to 2031 is met, as set out by the Oxfordshire SHMA (2014) and for which provision is identified through the respective and current Local Plans of each of the five local authority areas.

Beyond 2031, the Emerging Plan is to identify the number of new homes and level of economic growth that are needed, together with an appropriate spatial strategy and strategic locations for development to achieve this.

The Consultation sets out how the Emerging Plan will build upon the existing Local Plan of each authority, describing that it will only inform the preparation of district level local plans beyond the end of their current plan periods. However, this is based on the assumption – an assumption that is unrealistic – that all 100,000 new homes currently planned for will be delivered in accordance with those Local Plans.

Instead, as each Local Plan is reviewed more regularly at least every five years, the Emerging Plan (from its anticipated adopted in March 2021) will inform how the approach to housing delivery may need to change at the district level in response to changing circumstances.

For example where there may be significant delays to large strategic sites, requiring a revised approach to the housing strategy, such reviews would need to be in accordance with the Oxfordshire Plan as a higher tier development plan. This would be the case in West Oxfordshire (as it would in any other of the five districts), should the Cotswold Garden Village or other large sites around the existing settlements be delayed.

The Emerging Plan should therefore recognise its relevance at an earlier stage (well before 2031) should current Local Plan growth strategies become ineffective over time.