New policy document will shape long-term coronavirus response

The polices that guide the development of new homes, workplaces, and infrastructure in north Oxfordshire are being reviewed, the council has announced.

Published: Tuesday, 7th July 2020

A meeting of Cherwell District Council's executive on Monday 6 July approved a draft of “Planning for Cherwell to 2040 - A Community Involvement Paper”. This document aims to generate discussion with the community on the issues that will need to be considered in preparing a new, district-wide Local Plan. The council wishes to involve residents, businesses and other stakeholders at an early stage before any policies or proposals are considered.

The existing Cherwell Local Plan 2011-2031 was adopted in 2015. The review of the Local Plan will result in the creation of a new Local Plan, extending the period covered to 2040.

Cllr Colin Clarke, lead member for planning, said: “The Local Plan guides all the decisions we make about new developments in our district. It influences the growth and sustainability of our economy and helps us protect what makes our local areas distinctive.

“Whether it is the internet revolution, big infrastructure projects, or the climate emergency, the review of our Local Plan will help us make sure that Cherwell is well placed to respond to the wider, evolving context.

“We are also clear that the forthcoming Plan will be key to our long term coronavirus response. The pandemic and lockdown measures have underscored the importance of good quality housing, access to green space, and digital infrastructure. This is as an opportunity to listen to our residents and to do some long term thinking about how we can support economic and social recovery, encourage active travel and promote community cohesion.”

The next step is a six-week consultation and engagement exercise on the community involvement paper, which will run during July and August.

The start date for the consultation will be announced soon. The preparation of the plan and further consultation will continue throughout 2021 and 2022. The intention is to complete the Plan by summer of 2023.

People wanting to participate are advised that hard copy documents will not be available at the council’s usual deposit locations, because of coronavirus restrictions. However, the documents will be readily available online and officers will be available to assist.

The council will look to use its deposit locations when conditions allow. This is reflected in an addendum to the council’s Statement of Community Involvement.