The following statement was made by the Chief Executive at the South Oxfordshire District Council meeting on 15 July 2021:
Our stated position is that our current land supply position is 5.33 years for the period from 2021 to 2026. This is the figure published following the annual reporting, in line with national guidance, by the Head of Planning, and the research and review work undertaken by the planning team that looks at actual and projected delivery rates.
It is worth noting that the lower figure advanced by the appellants in a recent case and accepted by the Inspector was for the period 2020-2025, so we are comparing different 5 year periods.
For this reason, the published land supply figure of 5.33 years is the figure that planning officers and members of the planning committee will be continuing to work to at this time. Both need to continue to make decisions in accordance with the adopted development plan which remains in force.
Neighbourhood plans should continue, as they have been, to plan proactively for their areas. As the Government itself states “Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to plan for the types of development to meet their community’s needs and where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area.”
It is also the case that where made neighbourhood plans are less than 2 years old, and contain housing allocations, these neighbourhood areas are only required to demonstrate a 3 year housing land supply rather than a 5 year supply*. The greater share of the Community Infrastructure Levy** these areas receive is a further benefit of having a neighbourhood plan that plans positively and proactively. We encourage parishes to continue with plans under preparation, and as always, our neighbourhood plan team are available to assist with any queries.
In the meantime, we are reviewing the Inspectors decision, and it is only right that we look to provide ourselves with further assurance in light of its challenge on our 5 year supply figure. That work includes a review led by our new Head of Policy and Programmes, who has also engaged independent planning advice and additional external legal support.
I expect us to update scrutiny and planning committee on the outcome of that work as part of our normal processes, and Members more widely once the work has concluded. I will ensure that we also issue a further communication to all Town and Parish Councils at that time as I appreciate this in an important area for them, and our residents.
*National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 14)
**(25% as opposed to 15% elsewhere).”
More information on the council’s five year land supply is available on this page