Since 2018, all five Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) that make up Oxfordshire had been working together on a Joint Local Plan to support sustainable growth for the county up to 2050. However, amid dispute over planning for future housing needs, the leaders of Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council have announced that:
” It is with regret that we were unable to reach an agreement on the approach to planning for future housing needs within the framework of the Oxfordshire Plan.”
As a result, the joint Oxfordshire Plan 2050 work programme is to end, and the five LPAs will now transition to a process focused on individual Local Plans for each City and District to deliver their own housing needs.
The individual LPAs will now continue to be reliant on existing Development Plan Documents for an extended period, which may have consequences on their ability to deliver new homes. Whilst latest published figures suggest that four of the five LPAs currently have a five year supply of housing (5YHLS), that supply is marginal for most of them:
The risk for the LPAs is that, should they be unable to demonstrate a 5YHLS, the National Planning Policy Framework advises that their policies for the delivery of new housing will be considered out of date. A tilted balance in favour of approving sustainable development will then kick in.
This situation, should it evolve to those LPAs not being able to deliver their housing requirements, could present an opportunity to put forward proposals for housing development outside of formal allocations and for smaller windfalls. Where it can be demonstrated that the proposal represents sustainable development, and any adverse impacts would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, planning permission should then be granted. Where applications have previously been refused and for proposals outside of designated settlements, we can help build you a strong case for approval.
Furthermore, now that the LPAs are effectively back at the drawing board, they will need to identify new sites to ensure they can maintain both their 5YHLS and meet other development needs in the area. Before long, as part of the Local Plan process, LPAs across Oxfordshire will inevitably be issuing a series of Call for Sites to identify land that is available and suitable for such development. Getting involved in the process as early as possible is the best time for those with development interests and land in the area to secure future development potential, particularly for large strategic sites.
We advise at all stages of the planning process but consulting with us at this early stage will help to ensure your interests are protected and your assets are promoted. We work on a case-by-case basis and have excellent knowledge of the Oxfordshire area. If you wish to discuss opportunities for site promotions, please get in touch for advice on the best way forward for you.
Eastern South East