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Hundreds use new website to help shape districts’ future

A new interactive website helped ensure communities had their say on the future of South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse.

The website was created by the two district councils to ask people their thoughts on their Joint Local Plan.

The plan will help guide the councils when deciding on new housing and jobs up until 2041, as well as set policies to address climate change, environmental protection and ensure accessible community services for residents.

The new easy-to-use website made the process more engaging and interactive – when asked their views on the feedback process, about 70% of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied.

This was the first stage of consultation to gain a better understanding of the community’s priorities and concerns for the future.

The results have reinforced that we’re focusing on what matters to our residents, such as protecting our countryside, taking action against climate change, and improving infrastructure.

The consultation also highlighted the challenges our districts face, such as balancing the need to provide genuine affordable housing with ensuring the landscape character and green spaces in the districts is protected.

Following the consultation, we’ve set out some principles that will guide  the Joint Local Plan, differing from the last local plan:

  • Working to Good Growth principles means thinking radically about how much development we plan, where it is located and how it is done.
  • Rather than more of the same kind of development we’ve seen in recent years, we will focus on delivering homes to meet the actual local need.
  • We will look at the number of and types of homes, their affordability and the energy efficiency standards they need to meet.
  • We will use the opportunities we have through the planning system to protect nature and increase nature recovery.
  • We will help tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions, recognising this as an emergency and in line with our ambition to become zero carbon districts.
  • We will focus on community health and wellbeing and locate new homes near to work places and community facilities.
  • We will work hard to secure new and improved social and physical infrastructure to support development, ensuring that developers contribute a fair share of the cost.

Cllr Debby Hallett, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Transformation at Vale White Horse District Council said: “This approach was a new one for our councils and I’m excited to see how engaged and positively our community has responded.

“I want our residents and businesses to be part of this process from the beginning, to make sure the Joint Local Plan is on the right track from the very start. These results will help guide the next stage of the process.”

Cllr Anne-Marie Simpson, Cabinet Member for Planning at South Oxfordshire District Council said: “I want to thank everyone who submitted their thoughts through this initial consultation. We need everyone in our community to join in the journey to help plan and build our districts’ futures.

“There will be another opportunity to have your say later this year when we will set out proposed policies and sites for development and I strongly encourage everyone to get involved and contribute to the future of our districts.”

Notes to the editor:

View the Joint Local Plan Issues Consultation Statement and find out more about the Joint Local Plan 2041 on both the councils’ websites.

South Oxfordshire website

Vale of White Horse website

If you’d like to receive planning policy consultations and updates (including those about the Joint Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Documents) and/or general council consultation notifications, you can register here: