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Our priorities for the Joint Local Plan

In January 2023, Cllrs Debby Hallett and Anne-Marie Simpson, Cabinet Members for Planning at South Oxfordshire and the Vale, released this message:

“In May 2021, we adopted the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision, which all the other Oxfordshire Councils signed up to as well. Although joint work on the Oxfordshire Plan has ended, we are serious about pressing forward with developing strategies and planning policies to deliver this vision.

Importantly, we agree with ‘Good Growth’, not growth at all costs. For us this means making sure development in the district really is ‘development’, as in something that makes our districts better. It should be about improving people’s wellbeing and leading the way in transitioning to a low carbon future, rather than making decisions on growth for the sake of serving narrow targets for the numbers of homes and jobs and economic output.

We will take these ‘Guiding Principles’ for Good Growth from the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision to inspire and help shape the Joint Local Plan:

  • We will seek to reverse the impacts of climate change
  • We will create the conditions to support a world-leading and innovation-rich economy which is clean, prosperous, diverse, inclusive, successful and sustainable
  • We will improve our overall health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities
  • We will enhance our natural environment
  • We will reflect our distinctive and diverse communities and places
  • We will deliver homes that meet the needs of current and future generations
  • We will embrace technological changes
  • We will expect high-quality development
  • We will maximise the benefits of strong collaboration
  • We will help people to help each other by supporting communities and individuals to achieve positive change for themselves

The focus of the Joint Local Plan will be different from the last local plan

  • Working to these 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.

How we’ll make the plan

We will strive to listen to residents and make it easier for them to contribute their ideas. 

Whilst creating the new Joint Local Plan, we know that we’ll have to mesh our ambitions with the rigorous testing of the plan that will happen when it is examined by an independent Planning Inspector. We’ll need to provide a positive vision for the future of our areas and a framework for addressing housing needs and other economic, social and environmental priorities. We will develop the plan in discussion with others, including our neighbours. We will embrace these challenges and welcome your feedback on how we are doing.”