Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Oxfordshire Plan 2050?
The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 is what’s known as a Joint Statutory Spatial Plan (JSSP) that, through working with all Oxfordshire’s authorities, will set out the framework for future housing and infrastructure needs while seeking to preserve our natural environment and improve quality of life for all.
Why are Oxfordshire’s local authorities producing a Joint Statutory Spatial Plan?
The Oxfordshire Plan is a requirement as part of the £215m Housing & Growth Deal, agreed by all councils, that will help fund affordable housing and transport infrastructure in the county. But more than that, the Plan will help each district better plan for the future, beyond their current Local Plans and into the future up until 2050. By doing so collectively, this will help enable our children and grandchildren to have a head start in owning a home and having a well-paid job in the county while continuing to enjoy all the benefits of the county such as green spaces and quality of life we currently have.
How many houses will be built across the Oxfordshire and why?
In order for future generations to be able to live in the towns and villages they grew up in and for the local economy to continue to be thrive, more housing – especially affordable homes and social housing – are greatly needed across Oxfordshire. In 2014 the Oxfordshire councils received evidence for the need of an additional 100,000 homes by 2031, which has been considered as part of each authority’s plan making. The Oxfordshire Plan will support the current local plans and consider future housing needs using the new national planning guidance, which does not contain any set Government housing targets that need to be met. Instead, the Plan will enable us to set out what housing is needed and where, in a planned and inclusive way, to help match the aspirations of our residents to improve everyone’s quality of life into the future.
Will this include affordable homes? If so what is the expected volume?
We recognise the need for more affordable housing in Oxfordshire. The Housing & Growth Deal already has a commitment to deliver least 1,320 affordable homes over the next three years. And Oxfordshire councils agreed the need for an additional 100,000 homes by 2031 and that is what the Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal will help deliver. Oxfordshire’s ambition is for high-quality, affordable homes in good-quality developments. The Oxfordshire Plan will help determine what level of affordable housing, including social housing, will be needed until 2050.
Why do we need more growth and how will it be accommodated?
If we wish for local businesses to continue to thrive and create jobs for our children and grandchildren, for Oxfordshire to continue to be at the forefront of innovation, and for our schools and colleges to give the next generation the new skills needed in emerging sectors, then standing still is not an option. While unemployment is low in the county at the moment, the lack of affordable housing and our congested roads risks creating a recruitment and skills crisis that could damage the long-term prospects of our region. We want to plan for the best future for our residents, and consider what level of sustainable growth can ensure the continuing prosperity of the region, provide sufficient housing to allow businesses to thrive, while maintaining all the elements that make Oxfordshire a great place to live and work.
What type of land site will be used to accommodate the new homes? Will you be building on the Green Belt?
We know the countryside is one of things that contributes to the high quality of life in Oxfordshire and we want the county to continue to be a place where people want to live and work. The Oxfordshire Plan will consider key areas for inclusive growth, rather than specific locations. Sustainability will be an integral part of the process in deciding these areas. Districts will then use the plan to inform their future Local Plans following the current round of plans that will all be submitted by April 2019 and map development until mid-2030. Oxfordshire’s Green Belt has already been reviewed as part of each district’s Local Plan. When looking beyond the timeframe of the Plans, the Oxfordshire Plan may need to assess the Green Belt in light of any decisions made by the Government in relation to the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.
How is transport accounted for in the Oxfordshire Plan 2050?
The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 will take into consideration the current Local Transport Plan, and future reviews. The Plan will seek to promote sustainable transport methods such as public transport, cycling and walking, and will encourage people to not use their cars where possible. As much as £500m could be invested in infrastructure through the Oxfordshire Growth Board as part of the Housing & Growth Deal. The Plan will also consider schemes being explored such as the reopening of the Cowley Branch line and the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge rail line.
Is the plan just about housing and roads?
The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 will be looking at the best way to deliver a better quality of life for all in the county. This will include social infrastructure such as schools and access to health services. It will also include focusing on health and wellbeing such as encouraging people to cycle and walk rather than driving; protecting and enhancing the natural environment; mitigating climate change and promoting energy efficiency; and enhancing digital connectivity.
I already contributed to the Local Plan for my area – what will happen to that?
The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 will set out the strategic planning framework across the county to 2050, including the planned delivery of new homes and economic development, and the anticipated supporting infrastructure needed. It will incorporate the level of development in the Local Plans that have either been completed or are being drafted as part of this framework, and then build on them beyond their timeframes up until 2050.
We already have a Local Plan, why do we need this plan?
Each Oxfordshire district is committed to submitting a Local Plan for examination by April 2019. The districts are at different stages of this, however each authority is well on the way to producing a Local Plan covering the period to 2031 or 2036. The Oxfordshire Plan will look further ahead, until 2050, to help provide a longer-term framework that will help form future Local Plans by the districts.
How can I have my say on the plan?
We’re committed to ensuring there will be early, proportionate and meaningful engagement with communities, local organisations, businesses, infrastructure providers and statutory bodies. If you wish to find details on current consultations for the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and register you interest in forthcoming consultations so you can have your voice heard, please visit our consultation website.
Will there be a public consultation?
The will be three public consultations on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. The first is due to take place in Spring 2019 with a further two due later in the year. If you wish to find details on current consultations for the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and register you interest in forthcoming consultations so you can have your voice heard, please visit our consultation website.
What happens after the consultations?
Following the two consultations, the responses will be used to help form the final Oxfordshire Plan 2050, which will then be submitted to the Government. A Government inspector will be appointed to consider the plan and may request additional information. Following the closure of the examination, the inspector will prepare a report to for the Project Board with precise recommendations. The Plan, along with the recommendations, will then be voted on by all councils.
What about the Ox-Cambs Expressway?
The proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway is a Government scheme being led by Highways England. Two different preferred route corridors – one to the east of Oxford and the other to the west – are currently being explored. The potential impact on the county in terms of sustainable growth will be taken into consideration as the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 is formed.