Oxford City Council has opened public consultation as the next step in developing its Local Plan 2040.
All local planning authorities need to have an up to date local plan, supported by an evidence base, which sets out how and where homes, jobs and infrastructure will be delivered.
On Wednesday 8 February, cabinet approved consultation on a further preferred options document focusing on housing need, informed by a new independent report providing the evidence base underpinning the local plan.
This is the third round of public consultation on the emerging local plan and follows consultation on emerging issues in 2021 and on preferred options in 2022.
More information about the Local Plan 2040 is available on the council website.
Copies of consultation documents are also available for viewing at Oxford Town Hall and Blackbird Leys, Cowley, Headington, Littlemore, Oxfordshire Central and Summertown libraries.
Consultation is now open on the council's consultation portal and runs for six weeks until 11:59 pm on Monday 27 March.
The council will also welcome comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To encourage participation, the council is emailing stakeholders inviting them to take part. Stakeholders include statutory consultees, residents’ groups and people who have taken part in previous local plan consultations.
The council will use consultation results to guide the further development of its draft Local Plan 2040.
This is expected to go out for further consultation in November and December before a final draft is submitted for examination by government inspectors by the end of March 2024.
Assessing housing need
The evidence base report is a housing and employment needs assessment (HENA) that was jointly commissioned by Oxford City Council and Cherwell District Council to support the development of their respective local plans.
The national planning policy framework (NPPF) sets out a standard method as a starting point for assessing housing need. However this has not been adjusted to take account of the 2021 Census and the NPPF allows for alternative approaches where there are exceptional local circumstances, as there are in Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire has a strong and diverse economy which is forecast to keep growing, even during a prolonged period of economic volatility as a result of Brexit, Covid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is primarily due to the county’s world-class life science, education and technology sectors. There is a strong and growing demand for lab and R&D space in particular.
The HENA considers a range of scenarios. From this analysis, the council concludes that the best way to objectively measure housing need is to forecast future job growth and then calculate the number of homes needed to support this sustainably.
Under this model – referred to as the Cambridge Econometrics Baseline Trend – Oxford will need 1,322 new homes and Cherwell will need 1,009 new homes each year between 2020 and 2040.
As people’s home and work lives transcend individual council boundaries, the HENA is based on Oxfordshire’s distinctive employment and housing market area. However, its purpose is to specifically inform the review of both Oxford and Cherwell local plans. Oxfordshire’s other district councils will produce their own evidence in developing their respective local plans.
“The Local Plan 2040 will set out how and where we deliver homes, jobs and community facilities in Oxford for the next 20 years. This third round of consultation sets out our evidence base for the number of homes we’ll need over the lifetime of the plan and we need to know what you think. Please have your say by completing our online consultation survey or by emailing our planning policy team.”
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery