Oxfordshire Local Plan Watch - Spring 2021
There has been significant change in the local plan positions across Oxfordshire’s five main areas, along with progress in the county’s wider 2050 Plan. Both Cherwell and South Oxfordshire are the subject of legal challenges against recently adopted plans, while the temporary three-year housing land supply across Oxfordshire has reverted back to five-years, as of 25th March 2021.
- A High Court Challenge by Cherwell Development Watch Alliance (CDWA), against Cherwell’s Partial Review, has been granted a full hearing (date TBC). This follows adoption of their document on 7 September 2020. The primary reason for the challenge is against the loss of Green Belt land for housing to meet Oxford’s need.
- Similarly, in South Oxfordshire, Bioabundance CIC have begun the process of launching a High Court Challenge against the Local Plan that was adopted in December 2020. The basis for the challenge is that the Plan does not comply with the Climate Change Act 2008.
- MHCLG have confirmed that a short written ministerial statement will be issued later this month (March 2021) withdrawing the temporary three-year housing land supply (HLS) that has been in place in Oxfordshire since September 2018. Following this, the HLS will return to the standard five-years.
Cherwell’s Local Plan Part 1: Partial Review was adopted on 7 September 2020. The Plan is subject to a High Court Challenge against the loss of Green Belt land for housing to meet Oxford’s need.
In March 2020, Cherwell published its LDS, which sets out a programme for a full review of its Local Plan 2031. Initial issues consultation (reg 18) concluded on 14 September 2020. The district-wide options consultation was due to commence in February/March 2021 but has been delayed to better align with the Oxon 2050 Plan. It is now expected to commence in May/June 2021.
Oxford City adopted their Local Plan 2036 in June 2020.
In July 2020, Oxford published their LDS, which sets out a programme for their emerging 2020-2040 Local Plan. The LDS suggests that early, non-statutory engagement will begin in 2021; preferred options consultation (reg 18) will take place in Summer 2022; consultation on pre-submission (reg 19) in summer 2023; and adoption earmarked for March 2025.
Oxfordshire 2050 Plan
Extensions to the Oxon 2050 Plan’s timeline were agreed at a meeting of the Oxfordshire Growth Board in November 2020.
The revised timetable pushes back the options (Reg18) consultation to summer 2021 and the draft submission plan (Reg19) consultation back to spring 2022. This comes after MHCLG agreed that full use can be made of the 5-year Growth Deal period to produce the Plan - a significant shift from the position of being limited to the first three years of the deal.
Following the Secretary of State’s intervening direction and subsequent expedited examination, South Oxfordshire’s Local Plan was adopted on 10 December 2020.
A High Court Challenge has been launched by Bioabundance CIC against the Local Plan. The basis for the challenge is that the Plan does not comply with the Climate Change Act 2008, by way of the amount of homes planned for the district, and the number being built on Green Belt land.
Vale of White Horse
In February 2020, VoWH published its LDS, setting out an indicative timeframe for its emerging Local Plan 2041.
A formal Call for Sites exercise took place between April and May 2020; however, the council is encouraging further submissions. Public consultation on preferred options/draft plan (reg 18) is hoped for April 2021, with public consultation on pre-submission (reg 19) hoped for April 2022 and adoption by July 2023.
In November 2020, WODC published an Addendum to their May 2020 LDS, which sets out the following programme for its emerging Local Plan 2040:
- Informal engagement (Regulation 18) – Sept 2021 to Sept 2022
- Publication of pre-submission draft Local Plan (Reg 19) – Sept 2022
- Submission of pre-submission draft Local Plan (Reg 22) – Feb 2023
- Examination – May 2023
- Adoption – September 2023.