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Local Plan – ‘the best possible news for West Oxfordshire’   ()

West Oxfordshire District Council’s Local Plan has been accepted by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate and will be presented to councillors for formal adoption at a special meeting to be scheduled during September.

The Local Plan sets out how the District can achieve economic growth and a housing target of 15,950 new homes, although some have already been built as the Plan covers the period from 2011 to 2031. 

It identifies the most suitable sites for new housing and what accompanying infrastructure, such as road improvements, new schools and play facilities, is needed to achieve the greatest benefits for the new development and, wherever possible, a wider area.

 

Cllr James Mills, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Having a Local Plan in place would be the best possible news for West Oxfordshire and I am confident that it will be adopted by councillors.

 

It is a significant policy document that will guide the way our district develops in the future by identifying the most suitable sites for housing needed for our growing population. By doing this, it protects us against speculative and inappropriate development.

 

“Engagement with communities, developers and stakeholders has been critical and we are immensely grateful for their input along the way. 

 

“I am sure it will meet the needs of the next generation of residents while continuing to balance their requirements with the benefits of living and working in an area of outstanding natural beauty.”

 

Cllr Jeff Haine, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing, added: “A Local Plan is vitally important as a blueprint for future development.

 

“Preparing a Local Plan is a lengthy and complex process and reaching this stage has involved a huge amount of work from officers and councillors over the course of several years.

 

“At times, it has, of course, meant compromise and finding the right balance between future development and protecting what is special about West Oxfordshire, but I believe we have done our best to achieve this.”

 

“The Planning Inspector has supported our sustainable approach of prioritising the main developments around our larger settlements where there is more employment and better transport links. He also supports our aspiration to increase the supply of affordable housing.”

 

The Local Plan was first submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in July 2015 but the Examination was suspended due to the Inspector’s concerns around housing targets and he requested that more work be undertaken. It was re-submitted in March 2017 with 15,950 new homes proposed compared to 10,500 previously.

 

The Local Plan report has been accepted by the Inspectorate subject to the modifications set out in the Inspector’s report on www.westoxon.gov.uk/localplan2031.