Rebel Oxfordshire council publishes unilateral housing overspill target

An Oxfordshire council which last year rejected advice that it should find sites for almost 5,000 homes to meet Oxford's overspill requirements over the next 15 years has published its own target to help address the city's unmet need in its draft local plan.

Oxford: surrounding councils will help city meet unmet need
Oxford: surrounding councils will help city meet unmet need

At a meeting in September last year of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, the county’s other four district councils and Oxfordshire County Council signed up to officers’ recommendations for a deal to help Oxford meet its assessed need for around 15,000 homes up to 2031.

But South Oxfordshire Council declined to sign the memorandum of cooperation, which allocated 4,950 of the extra homes to its area. "We don't think the city council has done enough to identify its own capacity," said council leader John Cotton.

Under the memorandum, Cherwell District Council agreed to accept 4,400 extra homes to meet Oxford’s housing needs. West Oxfordshire District Council will contribute 2,750 and Vale of White Horse District Council 2,200. The city council will provide sites for 550 extra homes.

Now, in its latest draft of its local plan ahead of submission to the secretary of state, South Oxfordshire says that it will assist the city meet its unmet need, but suggests providing for 3,750 homes.

"We have included a specific Local Plan Policy STRAT3 – ‘The unmet housing requirements from Oxford City’ to make contributions of 3,750 homes towards Oxford city’s unmet housing needs and make a commitment to undertake a partial review of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan at such time as the Oxford City Local Plan is adopted and the level of unmet homes is known", a council report said.

The document says that key changes to the latest draft of the plan include that a proposed strategic allocation at Berinsfield has been reduced from up to 2,100 houses to up to 1,700 new homes.

It also said that proposed site allocations at Crowmarsh Gifford have been removed from the local plan as a neighbourhood plan is to be produced for the settlement.

The report said that the council intends to submit the local plan for examination at the end of 2017 and anticipates that the plan would be examined in spring 2018 and adopted in autumn 2018.

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