Plan for Oxford’s unmet housing need wins seal of approval

New parkland, schools and public transport networks all feature in a vision for the south of Cherwell district which was backed by councillors yesterday.

Published: Tuesday, 8th September 2020

The Partial Review of the Local Plan provides for 4,400 new homes in the Kidlington, Gosford, Yarnton and Begbroke area. It fully meets Cherwell’s apportionment of Oxford’s unmet housing needs and was approved by a special meeting of Cherwell District Council on Monday 7 September.

The Plan will provide 50 per cent affordable and social homes as part of an integrated vision which connects the new developments to Oxford’s universities, facilities, and workplaces. Rapid transit bus links, new and improved cycleways, and sports facilities will all contribute to making this a reality.

Cllr Colin Clarke, Cherwell’s lead member for planning, said: “This decision represents the council coming good on a commitment it made, back in 2015, to cooperate with all Oxfordshire authorities to help provide the homes that Oxford city cannot accommodate. 

“The Plan will bring significant benefits to the south of Cherwell district. We began writing it in 2016 and, over the past four years, very careful work has gone into making sure that these new homes will be provided where people can most readily connect to Oxford and access its services and places of work. 

“As well as the high number of affordable homes; new schools; enriching biodiversity and access to green spaces for future residents are all essential to our vision.”

Conservation and the enhancement of the natural environment are key strands of the Partial Review of the Local Plan. The council will require net biodiversity gains on all developments; the Plan will also enhance woodland areas, create new wildlife habitats and connect and improve existing wildlife corridors.

The Plan was extensively consulted on and was the subject of public hearings in 2018 and 2019 where the views of organisations and members of the public were considered. 

An independently-appointed Government planning inspector concluded his examination by issuing his final report on 6 August 2020. He found the Plan with his recommended modifications to be legally sound.

Cllr Clarke added: “The development sites and proposals in the Plan are now officially council policy. In the coming months and years, we will be carefully considering applications for planning permission on the sites to make sure the Plan, and the benefits it offers to residents, are delivered.”