The City Council has approved the draft Oxford Local Plan 2036 for a third and final round of consultation before submission to the Government Inspector early next year.
A consultation on the draft – or Submission Document – will commence on 1 November 2018 and run for six weeks.
This new Local Plan will help shape the homes, jobs, community facilities and new transport infrastructure of the next twenty years, striking the right balance between the different pressures that Oxford and its citizens face.
Providing more homes– especially homes for social rent, community-led housing, self-build housing and other forms of affordable housing – is one of its key priorities. The plan also makes it easier for employers like the NHS, Oxfordshire County Council and the universities to build housing for their own staff on their own land.
The need for housing in Oxford continues to be higher than the capacity for new homes inside the city, so the Local Plan commits to continuing to work with adjoining authorities to meet housing need that cannot be met within Oxford.
Within the city’s own boundaries, there is room to deliver an additional eight thousand homes. The new Local Plan proposes to build upwards and increase densities where appropriate. It also allocates 18 hectares of Green Belt land – just 0.02 per cent of its total size - for housing.
To reflect the reality of Oxford as not just its city centre but a network of separate communities with their own characters, the Local Plan focuses development in district centres like Cowley, Headington and Summertown, to make sure that facilities and services are close to home and easy to reach on foot or by bike.
Another top priority of the Local Plan is to reduce traffic and congestion, promote walking and cycling, and continue to improve air quality in Oxford. In line with this, new developments near shops and public transport routes will be required to be car-free. The City Council will continue to work with Oxfordshire County Council to reduce traffic levels throughout the city, not just in the city centre.
Oxford has a successful economy, and the Local Plan continues to protect the city’s key economic sites like BMW. It will encourage better use of existing sites to provide new office and workshop spaces for both large and small businesses in the city.
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board member for Planning and Transport, said: “A Local Plan needs to respect the city of previous generations while shaping the city of the generations to come. That is what this Local Plan aims to achieve. We can’t treat the city like an artefact; it would be easy to wrap up the historical core in aspic and turn our home into a monument to the past. Oxford’s not about that: We are a future-looking city, and we have to meet that challenge head-on.”