The purpose of OxIS is to identify, map and prioritise Oxfordshire’s strategic infrastructure requirements up to 2040. It is based upon information available at the time of release.
The Oxfordshire Growth Board commissioned the strategy to better understand the scale of the infrastructure challenges in Oxfordshire, the infrastructure required, and the likely costs and funding gaps, to support new homes and jobs. Never before has such a comprehensive study covering the whole county been carried out, or looking so far into the future.
Why we need to build more infrastructure
Oxfordshire is already planning for 100,000 new homes and 85,000 new jobs in the period 2011-31, based on the scale of housing need identified in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) and forecast jobs growth in the Oxfordshire Strategic Economic Plan. This study projects growth forward to 2040 which reflects a combination of factors including population growth and changing demographics. We need to ensure growth takes place in a planned and sustainable way with the infrastructure that is required to support it.
Difference between infrastructure strategy and the local plans
The Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy looks longer term and has a higher level focus, which brings together all the strategic infrastructure that supports local plans. It looks at the county as a whole, as opposed to local plans which cover a district/city area. The strategy provides a ‘snap shot’ of infrastructure requirements reflecting development proposals at that time, and is based on common assumptions about funding, costs, and modelling. As such it should be read alongside local studies which have been carried out to support individual local plans, which may include more detailed analysis, such as District wide Infrastructure Delivery Plans.
How the strategy will be used
OxIS is a non-statutory document. The strategy is intended to help inform investment decisions, and our bids to government or other sources of funding to deliver strategic infrastructure. It will also provide a common evidence base to help inform local plans.
All Growth Board councils/members signed up and developed OxIS jointly, to enable us to talk from a common understanding on the growth and infrastructure needs of Oxfordshire, particularly when it comes to liaising with government and seeking funding across the various infrastructure themes.
The draft strategy is being published for people to learn more about the strategy, and to comment if they wish.
Ranking of the different investment proposals
Each of the infrastructure items is being assessed against a range of criteria such as how much housing and jobs growth it would help to support, how much funding is already secured for the project, and what sort of environmental or social benefits it might bring.
When the final strategy will be published
The final strategy is due to be published in autumn 2017. It is then intended to be a ‘living document’ that can be updated in the future to reflect changes in circumstances, such as new development proposals or funding secured.
Why the strategy doesn't include community infrastructure
The strategy is primarily designed to assess strategic infrastructure needs. Things that meet the local needs of communities such as community centres, leisure facilities and libraries are outlined in Infrastructure Delivery Plans which are part of Local Plans.
Some of the higher cost, more strategic infrastructure schemes will need to be supported through government funding bids and significant funding pots or funded direct by the service or utility providers.
At a more local level, some infrastructure is funded by Community Infrastructure Levy (where the local authority has one in place) which is collected from developers linked to planning permissions, and some is funded or directly provided by the developer through Section 106 legal agreements on planning permissions.
Infrastructure and new developments
A benefit of having an Infrastructure Strategy in place for Oxfordshire is that by identifying and collating the strategic infrastructure and emphasising the need for investment in, for example, strategic rail and road corridors is that infrastructure is more likely to come forward in advance of some of the development it is designed to support – in other words, infrastructure helping to influence where development goes.
Where it is feasible then the local planning authority would normally encourage infrastructure to be in place earlier on in the development. The focus of OxIS is on the strategic infrastructure, but individual Infrastructure Delivery Plans will set out timing requirements for local schemes as well. Timing is often tied to a certain number of homes being sold or occupied. For example getting bus services up and running by the time that an agreed number of homes are occupied, so that people get in the habit of using public transport from the outset. Sometimes however, due to practical reasons or financing of the scheme, this is not possible.
Sources for the strategy
The strategy draws evidence from a range of sources, including talking to utility and other infrastructure providers, local authority evidence, modelling of jobs and homes growth to roll forward the numbers to 2040, and the consultants’ independent expert experience of delivering major infrastructure schemes.