South Oxfordshire District Council’s (SODC) Local Plan sets out how development will be planned and delivered across South Oxfordshire to 2033. The recently released ‘Second Preferred Options Document’ (read it online: www.southoxon.gov.uk/newlocalplan or see a hardcopy at Watlington Library) continues to include a proposal to build a strategic development of 3,000 homes on Chalgrove airfield, creating a town the size of Thame or Wallingford.
To cater for the traffic generated development the document provides an extensive list of suggested improvements to road infrastructure, including a bypass around Watlington.
Even if you responded to the last Local Plan consultation, we urge you to respond again by the deadline of 17th May (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to SODC planning policy, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Abingdon OX14 4SB).
John Cotton, the leader of SODC, in his foreward to the Local Plan states that ‘your response to the consultation is crucial’ and ‘it is our desire to let more of the decisions be made by communities for themselves.’
NOTES ON THE SECOND PREFERRED OPTIONS DOCUMENT
1. Development Sites
The document now has three major sites for development:
- Chalgrove Airfield: 3,000 allocation
- A major new development at Culham – 3,500 allocation
- A further major development at Berinsfield – 2,000 allocation
There is also a small strategic development at Wheatley (on the to-be-vacated Oxford Brookes campus) – 300 allocation
The proposed Culham, Berinsfield and Wheatley developments are on Green Belt land and justification is provided in the document as to why the Council feels that this is now acceptable.
2. Transport Infrastructure:
The document provides an extensive list of suggested improvements to road infrastructure.
- Bypasses at Watlington, Benson and Stadhampton (presumably to cater for the traffic from the Chalgrove Development), plus a new park and ride at Standford on Thames – adjacent to Grenoble Road.
- Predominant focus is to improve the road transport in the Science Vale area: from the A34 Abingdon and Didcot Juntions, through the gap between Abingdon and Didcot, a new bridge across the Thames south of Culham and a Clifton Hampden bypass
3. Other Information:
- The main document makes no mention of the other potential strategic sites mentioned in the previous preferred options document and provides no mention as to why the three strategic sites have been preferred over any alternatives. It should be noted, however, that one of the many appendices includes an expanded and revamped set of sustainability appraisals that were a centre piece of the previous document. These do cover Harrington, Grenoble Road and the other sites covered previously.
- Of particular note, the document states that the plan is designed to cater for an overall housing need of 20,800 homes for the period to 2033. However, the total housing supply proposed in the document comes to 23,468. To justify this, the document says “Whilst the overall level of development required to support the existing and future needs of South Oxfordshire, and a proportion to assist Oxford City’s unmet needs amounts to 20,800 new homes, we are providing development to exceed this requirement. This provides additional flexibility to enable the management of our housing land supply trajectory going forwards and to respond to changing circumstances.”
- The document states that it is not a full draft Local Plan but contains much of the detail required at the next stage. It indicates that the Proposed Submission Document will be provided for consultation in Autumn 2017, the Local Plan will be formally submitted to the Secretary of State towards the end of 2017. All representations received will be considered by an independent inspector who will conduct a formal independent examination into the Local Plan – likely to be conducted in the spring of 2018. If the Local Plan is found to be “sound” it can proceed to adoption, this being expected to be in the summer of 2018.