No Strategy for Oxfordshire?

Councillors must explain the alternative

11 August 2022

Oxford Civic Society is extremely concerned that the Oxfordshire 2050 Strategic Plan has been abandoned after the different councils failed to agree a common approach.

The Society is calling for a full, clear and public response from the five councils involved as to what happens now.

Ian Green, chair of OCS, said (6 August 2022):

“We have been told the plan has been abandoned because the four districts and the city cannot agree on housing and growth targets. That is a problem that leads to other serious problems.

“This is not just about housing numbers and the Green Belt. The Oxfordshire 2050 plan was supposed to address cross-boundary planning matters across the county. The draft Plan also covered issues such as tackling climate change, improving environmental quality and creating stronger and healthy communities.

“A huge amount of good work has been done on these issues, and many of the draft policies were widely supported. The best parts of these will not easily be taken forward by five different Local Plans that may conflict or compete.

“We need answers from our councillors on how the future of Oxfordshire as a whole is to be planned. We will be inviting all the councils to take part in a public forum where they can explain and discuss how they intend to move forward on this.

“Last year, the councils stated that they had found ‘common ground’ on many issues. This must not disappear. They must ensure that the planning and research that went into the many policies in this plan that were widely supported is not lost. If these policies are to be in the next versions of City and District Local Plans, that could be a valuable resource.

“OCS will look at drawing together some of the best policies and ask all councils to endorse them as a statement of commitment for future Local Plans.”

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