Friday, 19 July 2019

Rewrite Local Plan, say rural campaigners

SOUTH Oxfordshire District Council is facing a call to rethink its Local Plan following the local election results.

The Liberal Democrats, who are now the largest party on the council, opposed the plan, which earmarks sites for tens of thousands of new homes.

The document was passed in December, when the Conservatives were in control, and is now with an independent examiner.

Now the Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England has called on the new council to rethink the plan

A spokeswoman said: “The massive swings against the ruling parties in Oxfordshire’s local elections suggest that local dissatisfaction with the excessive development in the Growth Deal, including unjustified loss of green belt land, may have been a factor on top of a national protest vote.

“Whatever the causes, the shake-up at the councils, the changes of control, and the election of new councillors gives an opportunity for each council to revisit the support given by its predecessor to its proposed Local Plan.

“CPRE Oxfordshire is recommending that these councils take the current Local Plans off the table for a rethink before they are examined or adopted.

“The housing numbers currently proposed are very close to double those the Government considers necessary and the Growth Deal itself states that they are significantly in excess of any local need. Local Plans should be rewritten to accommodate actual need.

“Likewise, CPRE urges each council to review the assumptions behind the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, which is aimed at building more than another 200,000 houses.”

Helen Marshall, director of CPRE Oxfordshire, said: “It’s time to set a more appropriate level of development in line with natural growth and migration, not arbitrary targets.

“Then we can concentrate on looking after our wonderful landscape and supporting our local communities, which are actually critical to our economic success.”

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