SODC LOCAL PLAN – proposed development of 3000 homes on TheAirfield

An Update from SODC - 4th June 2018

"I am writing to you in order to provide an update on the emerging South Oxfordshire local plan and the work that is currently being undertaken by officers to support its development.
As you may be aware on 15 May Council endorsed Cabinets recommendations to do more work to determine the most suitable locations for strategic development before we submit the Local Plan. This issue arose because there were concerns over the delivery of Chalgrove Airfield and that it may require a compulsory purchase order to bring it forward for development which created uncertainty for the Local Plan. You can read the Council agenda and minutes here
This work will involve looking again at all available sites for major housing development in the district, this includes housing sites currently proposed in the Plan, along with previously-considered locations that were dismissed and also some additional sites that have been put forward by developers but have not been subject to the Local Plan consultation process previously. As part of the Local Plan process, it is necessary to consider all reasonable strategic site options prior to the selection of those sites which are ultimately included in the Publication Local Plan. The reasonable alternatives provide the appropriate starting point for considering additional/alternative site(s). These have been promoted to the Council through the Local Plan process up to and including the Regulation 19 stage already undertaken.
This approach is dependent on the response from Government as to whether the delay created by this additional work would significantly impact on the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal. The Deal, agreed by all of Oxfordshire�s councils, is to bring £215m of government funding over the next five years to support housing and infrastructure growth. If there is an indication from Government that there will be a significant impact on the deal, the Council agreed that Chalgrove Airfield should stay in the Local Plan as a strategic housing site, with a reserve site or sites added following the detailed site assessment work. We hope for a response from Government by July.
The council has identified 15 potential sites for strategic allocations which meet the criteria for a strategic site:
  • Land at Chalgrove Airfield
  • Land at Berinsfield
  • Land adjacent to Culham Science centre
  • Land at Wheatley campus, Oxford Brookes University
  • Harrington
  • Lower Elsfield / Land at Bayswater
  • Land at Wick Farm
  • Land adjacent to Thornhill Park and Ride (Shotover Estate)
  • Grenoble Road
  • Northfields
  • Playhatch (Land East of Caversham Park Rd, Reading)
  • Reading Golf Club
  • Land at Great Western Park
  • Palmers Riding Stables, Emmer Green, Reading
  • Land off Thame Road, North Weston
An outline map of the District is attached that shows all 15 sites.
As part of the evidence base collection process to support the emerging South Oxfordshire Local Plan, the council has written to site promoters, developers and land owners for each of the above-mentioned sites requesting additional information to support an initial assessment of the sites.
In addition to this, the council has written to stakeholders to request assistance in reviewing the delivery of the Local Plans strategic site allocations. In particular, the council sought information or comments on the potential for an alternative site or �reserve site� to be included in the Plan, as well as the sites that have not been subject to the Local Plan consultation process previously.
We are now commencing the desktop assessment of these 15 sites. It is envisaged that a response from Government about the Growth Deal and Local Plan will be with us in July, also that the outcomes of undertaking the desktop assessment of site will be completed in September. We will update you once we have dates for Cabinet and Council to consider this matter.
Also please be aware that in the interests of fairness, consistency and transparency individual Councillors and Officers generally will not be meeting with those representing potential local plan sites, not least because it assists with resource capacity when a lot of sites are promoted in the District. The exception to this is typically during a Council organised event or with an officer.
Five Year Housing Land Supply
The National Planning Policy Framework requires local planning authorities to assess and demonstrate the extent to which existing plans already fulfil the requirement to identify and maintain a rolling five year supply of deliverable land for housing. South Oxfordshire District Council has recently updated its Five Year Housing Land Supply position. As of April 2018 the District has a supply of 5.4 years. A copy of the statement can be viewed using the link below.