Council adopts Local Plan Part 2

Released on October 10, 2019

Vale of White Horse District Council have agreed to adopt Part Two of the district’s Local Plan.

The decision was made, unopposed, at a meeting at The Beacon in Wantage last night (9 October).

The council adopted Part One of its Local Plan in 2016, which dealt with the main housing sites and policies. Part Two deals with more detailed policies used in the determination of planning applications and also allocates housing sites that will help the city of Oxford towards meeting its need for houses, for which the city council says it doesn’t have space. 

Adopting Part Two will mean it becomes part of the council’s Development Plan and will be used to help decide planning applications in the district. In reaching this decision, the council has considered other options available, including withdrawing Part Two.  To withdraw Part Two, the council would have needed to provide sound planning reasons and explain why it disagreed with the Planning Inspector’s ruling. 

Withdrawing Part Two would have left the council vulnerable to challenges to its five-year housing land supply, which could have led to housing developers pushing through unacceptable planning applications on appeal. It could also have jeopardised funding for infrastructure improvements in the area.

Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “While we would have liked to have made changes to this plan, because of its advanced stage, our options were very limited. We considered withdrawing this version of the plan and starting again, but this option would have left residents across the Vale exposed to speculative developments.

“This was a very difficult decision to make, but now we can focus on progressing the new administration’s priorities, safe in the knowledge we have done everything in our power to protect residents from the impact of speculative development and avoid costly legal challenges.” 

Cllr Catherine Webber, Vale of White Horse District Council cabinet member for planning, said: “With a fully adopted local plan in place, we can start work on the next local plan for our district that will have higher environmental standards and help us plan more truly affordable homes and more social housing for the future."