Monday, 27 September 2021

Housing plan to be updated

EVERY household in Woodcote is to be surveyed as part of an update of the village’s neighbourhood plan.

The parish council, which oversaw production of the original document, has reconvened the volunteer working group that wrote it and will deliver questionnaires next month.

The plan, which passed a referendum in 2014, names up to seven sites where 76 homes should be built by 2027 in order to meet Government targets. It forms part of South Oxfordshire District Council’s local plan, which is being updated to cover the period up to 2032.

The district council says the old local plan is out of date as it has failed to identify enough immediately available land to meet the next five years’ housing demand.

Planning officers believe this also makes neighbourhood plans obsolete, although Henley MP John Howell, who introduced the neighbourhood plans in the 2011 Localism Act, insists this is not the case.

Woodcote Parish Council says its plan remains robust but should still be updated.

The working group will analyse feedback from the survey to determine whether demand for new housing has increased.

Landowners will be invited to come forward with potential development sites.

Councillor Geoff Botting, who chairs the group, said: “The plan has been, and remains, very successful.

“A fully ‘made’ plan carries significant weight despite the district council’s land supply problems, a position confirmed in several High Court judgements.

“Building and managing the plan through the lengthy and somewhat tortuous processes required took a lot of work. Updating it will not be quite as demanding but the effort will still be significant.”

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