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Local Plan Matters – August 2015

The Parish Council remains active in tracking plans for major housing development in Radley, and in exercising our limited influence to best effect to protect Radley’s interests.  This month, councillors have submitted views to the independent Inspector currently considering the Vale’s Local Plan, and spoken out at a Vale Cabinet meeting to consider what part this area should play in meeting the housing needs of Oxford City.

The Council’s submission to the independent Inspector on the Local Plan focussed on 3 ‘matters’ which he had identified:

The SHMA. We argue that the figures for future housing need are not soundly based. Many of the key underlying figures for economic growth are based on over-optimistic promotional material rather than objective statistical analysis of economic growth prospects.

The spatial strategy.  We argue that the Plan’s policy to focus development on larger villages such as Radley is flawed in that it does not deal with the issue of scale nor of so-called ‘community coalescence’. Some development of larger villages may make some sense, but not if the existing community is overwhelmed nor if the result is to merge one settlement into another.

Oxford’s unmet needs. The emerging proposals to deal with Oxford City’s unmet housing needs look like dwarfing the existing controversial strategic site proposals in the Local Plan (see below). We argue that the Plan needs to be rethought from first principles if development on anything like this scale is to be accommodated.

Whether the Inspector will be impressed by our arguments remains to be seen.

The Vale Cabinet considered proposals to meet Oxford City’s unmet housing needs at a meeting on 7 August. We were shocked to see that Vale officers were suggesting that as many as 3000 additional new houses might need to be sited within Vale district boundaries, and that most of these would need to go in the Oxford fringe and Abingdon area.   Along with Sunningwell and Cumnor parishes, we voiced strong concerns at the Cabinet meeting, widely reported in the local press. Watch this space.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.radleyvillage.org.uk/local-plan-matters-august-2015/