Emerging Local Plan 2011-2033

The latest version of the emerging South Oxfordshire Local Plan Publication Version 2034 has been published on our website. This is a DRAFT version intended for the Scrutiny Committee meeting 13 December and will be subject to modifications in advance of the Cabinet and Council meetings scheduled for 18 and 20 December respectively.

Scrutiny version of Local Plan

Emerging Local Plan 2011-2033

South Oxfordshire District Council is developing a new Local Plan that, once approved, will shape the future of our district. We are committed to involving our communities in preparing the new plan.

The emerging Local Plan and its supporting studies set out our vision for South Oxfordshire up to the year 2033. Together they identify where housing, retail and employment land should be located as well as the infrastructure required to support this growth, such as new roads, schools, health services and sewerage.  The proposed policies in the plan will be used to help make decisions on planning applications in the district.

The most recent opportunity to provide feedback on the Local Plan was through the formal publicity period, which closed at 5pm on Thursday 30 November 2017. Thank you to all of those who took the time to respond. The responses can be viewed through our consultation portal here This link will take you to an external website... : or direct through our website here This link will take you to an external website... .

Local Plan update

Next steps

Full Council met in May 2018 to review the Local Plan and decided to follow Cabinets recommendations to reassess all available housing sites as long as the extra time that this will take does not have a significant impact on the countywide Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal. View the Cabinet Report and Minutes This link will take you to an external website... This link will take you to an external website...  and agenda and minutes from Full Council This link will take you to an external website... .

Council Leader’s statement - 19 July 2018

On 19 July, the council leader gave the following update on the Local Plan as part of her speech to a Council Meeting. You can read her full statement to council here.

The part of the speech relating to the Local Plan is below:

"I am pleased to be able to update you all on the progress of the site review work which officers are undertaking to support the South Oxfordshire Local Plan.

Officers wrote an initial letter to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on 24 May, which is published on our website, and have maintained a dialogue with them over the last few weeks regarding the review process.

I am grateful to the support extended to the Council from the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) and the Planning Inspectorate about the methodology and process of undergoing a site assessment process at this stage of the Local Plan development and their ongoing positive feedback. Notwithstanding this, in line with the democratic process, all sites under review will continue to be potential sites until a decision is made by Council.

The work which officers have undertaken with the support from both the Planning Inspectorate and the Planning Advisory Service causes me to believe that we are on track to deliver the milestones set out in the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, something I will confirm to partners at the next meeting of the Growth Board.

We recognise that the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework is imminent and may impact on the work that our planning team are undertaking and could necessitate additional work to support our Local Plan. If anything should change or impact upon our timetable, we may need to revisit the question set out in the Council resolution of 15 May and I will confirm as soon as possible to members if that is the case.

Notwithstanding the above, I have asked that officers bring an updated version of the Local Plan timetable to Cabinet in August".

Local Development Scheme

An updated Local Development Scheme, the Local Plan timetable was approved by Cabinet on 2 August 2018 It can be found here


The council intends to reassess each of the main housing sites currently proposed in the Plan, along with previously-considered locations that were dismissed but were ‘reasonable alternatives’ and some additional sites that were promoted to the council prior to the close of the Regulation19 publication stage of the Local Plan.

The sites under consideration are as follows:

Current proposed sites: Culham, Wheatley, Berinsfield and Chalgrove Airfield;

Previously considered (but not progressed, ‘reasonable alternatives’) sites: Thornhill, Wick Farm, Lower Elsfield (Bayswater), Grenoble Road, Northfields, Harrington;

Additional sites submitted by developers: Palmers Riding Stables – Emmer Green Reading, Reading Golf Club, Playhatch - Reading, Land off Thame Road - North Weston and Land South of Great Western Park

View the location of all 15 sites to be assessed on a map of the District (2.4 MB) PDF

As part of the evidence base collection process to support the emerging South Oxfordshire Local Plan, the council has written to site promoters, developers and land owners for each of the above-mentioned sites requesting additional information to support an initial assessment of the sites.

The council has also written to stakeholders to request assistance in reviewing the delivery of the Local Plans strategic site allocations. In particular, the council sought information or comments on the potential for an alternative site or ‘reserve site’ to be included in the Plan, as well as the sites that have not been subject to the Local Plan consultation process previously.

The initial site assessment process is likely to be completed by the end of July 2018.

Additionally, we are corresponding with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and discussions are continuing. We have updated partner authorities, who are part of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, and continue to work to the approach agreed by the Council to ensure we are in the best possible position to produce a ‘sound’ and robust Local Plan.

Initial letter This link will take you to an external website... to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

If there is an indication that there will be a significant impact on the Growth Deal, Chalgrove Airfield will remain in the Local Plan as a strategic housing site for 3,000 new homes, with a reserve site or sites added following assessment work. An indication of the impact on the growth deal is expected to coincide with the completion of the initial site assessment process July 2018. 

The Oxfordshire Growth Board has written (186.9 KB) PDF to Councillor Jane Murphy, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council to express its support for the reassessment of the strategic allocations.

Councillor Jane Murphy's response to the Oxfordshire Growth Board letter can be found here (336.3 KB) PDF

More information about the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal is available on the Oxfordshire Growth Board website This link will take you to an external website... .

Letter (90.6 KB) PDF from Chief Executive of South Oxfordshire District Council to  the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 16 July 2018.

Response (620.3 KB) PDF to Council's letter dated 16 July 2018 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government 31 July 2018.

The final stages

Once the Plan is finalised, we will submit all of our evidence, supporting documents and the Local Plan itself to the Secretary of State in accordance with Regulation 22 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. A Planning Inspector will then be appointed to carry out an Independent Examination in Public (EiP).

The Inspector will examine the Local Plan 2011-2033, the evidence supporting it and the comments received and will hear comments from those who wish to appear at the formal hearing sessions. The Inspector will then report as to whether the plan is "sound" and "legally compliant". For information on what these terms mean, please see our guidance note (866.0 KB) PDF .

Viewing the documents

The plan and supporting documents can be viewed below:

Evidence studies can be viewed here

 The SHELAA provides a technical assessment of the suitability, availability and achievability of land for development. It is an update to the Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (HELAA), which was published in March 2017. The SHELAA is available to view here This link will take you to an external website...

Topic papers

You can also view a series of topic papers, which set out the processes undertaken and evidence considered to inform the sites and policies in our Local Plan.  

Last reviewed: 06 - 12 - 2018

Was this page helpful?YesNo