The Green Belt is here to stay

Released on October 11, 2015

South Oxfordshire District Council has confirmed it has no plans to allow any large scale homes or business developments on Green Belt land within the district.

The council commissioned a study to see if the Green Belt was serving its original purpose of preventing urban sprawl from the city. The outcome of the study will help the council make decisions on the preferred options for new development in their new Local Plan. It confirms the Green Belt is successfully protecting South Oxfordshire’s settlements and rural setting.

Cllr John Cotton, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Some people want large developments built on the land by Grenoble Road on the edge of Oxford, but that would be the definition of urban sprawl, which the Green Belt was put in place to prevent. This report shows we’re right to be standing firm against those ideas.”

The report mentions a few small areas where the Green Belt boundary could be changed because they aren’t fulfilling the original purposes of the Green Belt.  In some of these areas, at the edge of existing settlements, they could also provide opportunities for some sustainable small scale development. The council will look at these opportunities when they ask people to comment on its Local Plan.  

Cllr Cotton said: “We’ll now look carefully at our options for where we can put our remaining housing allocation… we’ll be asking our residents what they think of our preferred options in the coming months, but they can rest assured we have no plans to rip up the Green Belt as some others want us to.”

The council has asked local parish councils to carefully consider the report when preparing their Neighbourhood Plans.

The report also recommends that the district council should create a plan to make sure there is better public access to some of the green areas, which could be better maintained. The council is considering those recommendations.

To read the South Oxfordshire Green Belt study please visit www.southoxon.gov.uk/greenbeltstudy.