South Oxfordshire District Council will look again at all available sites for major housing development in the district, as long as the extra time it will take does not significantly impact on a countywide housing growth agreement.
Councillors last night (15 May) backed Cabinet recommendations to do more work to determine the most suitable locations before finalising its Local Plan.
The Plan sets out where the main housing sites around the district should be up until 2033, as well as identifying the employment opportunities, schools and other infrastructure that will be needed to support housing growth.
The council intends to reassess each of the main housing sites currently proposed in the Plan, along with previously-considered locations and some additional sites that have more recently been put forward by developers:
Current proposed sites: Culham, Wheatley, Berinsfield and Chalgrove Airfield;
Previously considered (but not progressed) sites: Thornhill, Wick Farm, Lower Elsfield, Grenoble Road, Northfields, Harrington and land at Great Western Park;
Additional sites submitted by developers: land at Emmer Green, Reading, Reading Golf Club, Playhatch at Reading, land off Thame Road, North Weston.
Cllr Felix Bloomfield, Cabinet Member for Planning and the Council’s Deputy Leader, said: “When you’re talking about future housing in a rural district like ours, it’s very important that you get it right. By reviewing the housing sites, we’re looking to ensure the Plan we submit stands the best chance of a planning inspector finding that it’s a ‘sound’ plan and gives us a robust base on which we can build a better South Oxfordshire for everybody.”
This work will happen as long as there is no significant impact on the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, agreed by all of Oxfordshire’s councils to bring £215m of government funding over the next five years to support housing and infrastructure growth.
If there is an indication that there will be a significant impact on the deal, the council agreed that Chalgrove Airfield should stay in the Local Plan as a strategic housing site for 3,000 new homes, with a reserve site or sites added following assessment work.
Further information about the Local Plan and the steps taken so far can be viewed via the Local Plan page. More information about the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal is available on the Oxfordshire Growth Board website.