Oxfordshire 2050 Plan

30th July 2021 sees the launch of the Regulation 18 consultation on the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan, which will run for 10 weeks. Having successfully delivered housing sites in the County, we thought we’d highlight a couple of key points of the plan and what it means for landowners and developers looking at their options for delivering housing growth.

The Plan is based around a series of Policy Options, covering an extremely broad range of environmental and social issues, alongside the more traditional matters of employment growth, housing targets and development strategies. It equally recognises that it is a constrained environment with areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Green Belts and Conservation Areas to name a few.

In terms of housing, the Plan considers a range based on 3386 d/pa, 4113 d/pa and 5093 d/pa, which equates to a County-wide target (when taking int account existing commitments) of 27,300, 49,110 or 78,500 homes. How are these homes going to be accommodated?

The Plan faces a considerable set of challenges. There are a number of environmental focused policy options, based on protecting areas from development. For example, the Green Belt policy option is vague on the need for release, rather focusing on “strategic opportunities” to enhance the green belt by encouraging sport and recreation with no clarity of how this would be actually secured.

That said, the 5 Options are:

1 – Focus on opportunities at larger settlements and planned growth locations. This is seen as ‘business as usual’ building on the adopted strategies of the current local plans.

2 – Focus on Oxford-led growth, inevitably this will lead to green belt release, a fact readily recognised by the Plan.

3 – Focus on opportunities in sustainable transport corridors and at strategic transport hubs, such as the M40, A40 and A420 as well as the aspirational idea of new railway stations.

4 – Focus on strengthening business locations, based on the Oxfordshire Local Industrial Strategy.

5 – Focus on supporting rural communities, which recognises the wider rural area of the County. This includes the options for new settlements and reducing pressure on the main locations identified in Option 1.

The 2050 Plan is a high-level document, it does not allocate sites and it does not set housing targets for individual LPAs. What it does do is to set out the emerging development strategies which are being actively considered.

We strongly recommend that those with land development interests and aspirations engage with this Plan. Get in touch and we will be happy to advise you on how to do this to maximise the potential of your land going forward.