Oxford Local Plan 2040

Preferred Options Stage

Oxford City Council is embarking on the development of a new Local Plan. The Local Plan 2040 will set out the planning strategy for meeting the needs of the city and once adopted, will be used in determining planning applications for a wide range of development. It will set out where new homes, businesses and community facilities will be built to make Oxford a better place to live, work and visit. It will also look at how we can protect the things that make Oxford special such as open spaces, ecological habitat and areas of heritage. It will guide how development happens, helping to support the transition towards a zero-carbon city, ensuring high quality design, being conscious of health and wellbeing, and addressing inequalities. 

At the previous Issues Stage, we identified several specific issues in an Issues Paper that we believed the Local Plan could address while setting out a proposed vision and set of objectives for the Plan itself.  These were collated into an Issues Paper which was subject to a public consultation.  Responses were received from individuals, local communities, businesses and other organisations.  A consultation report has been prepared that summarises the responses and findings.

Following careful consideration of this feedback, and a growing evidence base, we have developed a number of proposed policy approaches that we believe will enable us to achieve the objectives of making Oxford a better place to live.  These approaches are presented as a range of options and at this stage there is the opportunity to have your say and share your ideas on what you feel are important issues. . 

Preferred Options Document & Supporting Studies

The Preferred Options document contains a series of proposed policy approaches or options which cover a range of topics including housing, economy, communities, and design and heritage.  It includes a development sites and infrastructure chapter, which sets out proposed sites that may require a site allocation in the plan.   

All the options are considered at this stage and have been presented as a preferred option, an option, an alternative option or an alternative option (considered detrimental).  With each set of options, a short commentary has been included, setting out the potential positive and negative consequences of the approach.  The document does not contain draft policies and the options do not contain all the detail that will be included in the final policy.   

This Preferred Options document is an important step in policy development which transitions from the issues presented at the previous Issues stage to the draft plan which will be consulted upon next year.   The Preferred Options document is supported by several focussed background papers, as well as a Sustainability Appraisal, Health Impact Assessment and further evidence base studies. 

Preferred Options Consultation

Regulation 18 Part 1 consultation

A 6 week consultation exercise was carried out between Monday 3 October 2022 and Monday 14 November 2022.   We have prepared a summary report of the consultation and it is available to review via the link below.

Regulation 18 Part 1 Consultation Report

Housing Need Consultation (Regulation 18 Part 2)

A supplementary 6 week consultation specifically on Housing Need was carried out between Monday 13 February 2023 and Monday 27 March 2023.  A summary report of the consultation is available to review via the link below.

Regulation 18 Part 2 Consultation Report


Next Steps

The full detail of our timetable for developing the new Local Plan is set out in the Local Development Scheme (LDS) on the website. 

Link to LDS

Sustainability Appraisal 

The purpose of the sustainability appraisal process is to appraise the social, environmental and economic effects of a plan from the outset. It informs decisions by assessing the likely positive and negative impacts of options, policies and sites across a wide range of topics. It therefore performs a key role in providing a sound evidence base for the plan and forms an integrated part of the plan preparation process.  At the issues stage we produced a scoping report, the purpose of which is to provide to provide background evidence for subsequent stages of assessment.  The scoping report will be regularly reviewed to reflect any comments received and results of additional studies carried out as part of the plan making process. 

View Sustainability Appraisal of Policy Options

View the Sustainability Scoping Report

Duty to Cooperate Scoping Statement 

The Duty to cooperate scoping statement sought to identify the issues which the Oxford Local Plan 2040 will need to address that are likely to be strategic matters and which therefore fall under the duty to co-operate. It also sought to identify those bodies with which co-operation may be necessary. This document was the first step towards undertaking the duty in relation to Oxford’s Local Plan processes. It has been consulted on, giving the chance for additional duty to cooperate bodies or strategic issues to be raised and added. The General Statement of Common Ground is a living document that sets out the current position on bodies and matters we are considering relevant to the Duty to Cooperate, and the regular meetings that are taking place that enable these matters to be discussed.  

Call for Sites

The Call for Sites is an opportunity for landowners, developers, agents, individuals and other interested parties to suggest sites within or partially within Oxford City Council’s administrative boundary which are considered to have potential for development, and to let us know when they may be available for development. We are welcoming the submission of potential sites for a wide range of uses.

Sites can be greenfield or previously developed (brownfield) land. There is no maximum or minimum size of site at this stage. However, please do not submit separate parcels which adjoin or overlap- we need only to see the full extent of available land for the assessment. We encourage those submitting large scale sites to work collaboratively with adjoining landowners/promoters, where appropriate, to ensure that a coordinated and comprehensive approach is taken in establishing their development potential.

Each site submission will require the completion of a separate form.

For information about how to complete the form we have prepared a guidance note.

Further details about the Call for Sites are set out in the accompanying Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have difficulty accessing any of these documents please email at planningpolicy@oxford.gov.uk or call the Planning Policy team on 01865 252847.