New housing sites identified in review of South Oxfordshire Local Plan

Released on December 5, 2018

South Oxfordshire’s updated draft Local Plan is set to be considered by the district council’s committees.

In May this year, councillors asked officers to reassess all main sites available for housing in the district.

Since then, the district council has been reassessing the main sites that were allocated in the last draft of the Local Plan, along with sites that had been considered but weren’t included in the draft plan. The council also assessed new sites that hadn’t previously been considered.

That assessment has now fed into the new draft of the Local Plan and has confirmed the inclusion of the main sites that were in the previous plan, including Chalgrove Airfield and the land near Culham, Berinsfield, the Oxford Brookes campus at Wheatley and previous allocations made at Didcot.

The plan runs until 2034. The council has reviewed the rate at which it expects the Chalgrove and Culham sites to deliver homes during the plan period – it expects fewer homes to be built by 2034 than was set out in the previous version of the plan. The remainder of properties for these sites would be built after 2034.

It has also led to the inclusion of three new housing sites. By including the extra sites, the council aims to make the plan sound and should ease concerns about any individual housing sites not being deliverable. 

The new sites added to the plan are at Grenoble Road near the Kassam Stadium, Bayswater Brook to the north east of Oxford and Northfield to the south east of the city. The plan acknowledges the contribution these sites, which are all close to Oxford could make to supporting the city’s unmet housing needs.

There have also been changes to policies in the plan to help bring forward more affordable housing, particularly on sites nearest Oxford, which will require developers to provide 50 per cent of the homes built as affordable homes.

Cllr Jane Murphy, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “It’s vital we have a sound plan that has the best chance of being approved by a planning inspector. We’re aiming to publish the plan in the new year to give everybody a final chance to provide their thoughts, which we will then submit to the government along with the plan in March.”

The draft plan will be seen by the council’s Scrutiny committee on 13 December, then by the Cabinet on 18 December. The Cabinet will make a recommendation to be considered at the full Council meeting on 20 December, where councillors will vote on the plan going out for public consultation on 7 January for a minimum six weeks. All the comments received to this consultation will be sent, with the plan and its supporting documentation to be independently examined.