Work on Oxfordshire Plan 2050 collapses


Cherwell will now concentrate on its own local plan after the countywide arrangement falls apart

The arrangement between Oxfordshire’s five district councils to work together on a common plan for the county’s development has fallen apart.   The leaders of each authority have issued a joint statement saying they have failed to reach agreement and so work on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 will now end.

One of the main purposes of the plan was to guide where new housing would be built in the county and how many homes each district would agree to build annually.

The joint statement said: “The five Local Planning Authorities in Oxfordshire have been working together on a joint plan for Oxfordshire to 2050. It is with regret that we were unable to reach agreement on the approach to planning for future housing needs within the framework of the Oxfordshire Plan.

“Local Plans for the City and Districts will now provide the framework for the long term planning of Oxfordshire. The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 work programme will end and we will now transition to a process focused on Local Plans.

“The issues of housing needs will now be taken addressed through individual Local Plans for each of the City and Districts. The Councils will cooperate with each other and with other key bodies as they prepare their Local Plans.”

The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 was one of the commitments made by the six Oxfordshire authorities as part of a Housing & Growth Deal with the government in 2017.   This saw £215 million of new funding granted to Oxfordshire in return for the agreement to build up to 100,000 new homes in the county by 2031.

The five districts and county councils agreed to work together to decide where housing would be built and to provide a joined-up approach to new infrastructure around this.

With the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 agreement collapsing each district will now focus on their own local plans. 

Cherwell District Council began work on its new local plan during 2021, with landowners submitting details of sites they suggested for inclusion for new developments.   A subsequent public consultation took place at the end of the year.

However, progress on the plan has been slow with Councillor Colin Clarke, the Portfolio Holder for Planning, telling a recent council meeting that it was his intention to place a Draft Local Plan Consultation before Cherwell’s Executive at the start of October.  But he acknowledged that there had been hold ups, some of which were due to needing details of the part Cherwell had to play within the Oxfordshire Plan.

It is unclear what changes, if any, this move will make to the number of new houses that will be required to be built in the Cherwell District in the new local plan.   A spokesperson for the Council told Banbury FM: “We wouldn’t anticipate any particular change to the level of future housing growth. This will be identified through a technical evidence process that will still need to happen, with or without the Oxfordshire Plan.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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