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Column 10th July 2019

Are more people really interested in health than housing?

More people responded to the OX12 Health and Wellbeing Survey (1,303) than responded to the Oxfordshire 2050 plan consultation (512 in the whole county).

Why is this? Could it be because we understand the importance of the Health survey to our lives but have less understanding of the impact of the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan?

The Oxfordshire 2050 Plan will determine what the future investment in the County will be and the number and location of new homes to be built over the next 30 years.

Does the low response mean that we don’t care what the plans for Oxfordshire should be or that we don’t expect anyone at the Local Enterprise Partnership or the Oxfordshire Growth Board to listen so it wasn’t worth participating?

I hope that we do care and that the planners listen because most people who come to Oxfordshire to work do tend to stay here so the future of Oxfordshire is the future for our families.

Most of the questions in the consultation asked if we agreed with the draft vision and direction of the plan and in almost every section there were more people disagreeing than agreeing - so we should get significant changes.

A number of respondents felt that levels of growth in existing District Council plans can’t be sustained due to environmental limitations, lack of infrastructure and/or the negative impacts on existing communities.

Many respondents emphasised the need to fully understand and take appropriate consideration of factors including housing affordability, lack of infrastructure, climate change and sustainability.

Many suggested that housing is being built solely for developer and landowner profit and not for people working in the county and that the new homes delivered are not affordable. It was felt that affordable housing needs to be genuinely affordable to local people

It was suggested that economic needs should be balanced with ensuring social benefits and environmental protection/ enhancement.

Respondents also suggested that the vision should aim to restrain growth in Oxfordshire and to facilitate a more ‘natural’ level of change and that addressing social inequalities, air pollution and aiming to achieve environmental net gains should be central to the Oxfordshire Plan’s vision.

If we want to be carbon neutral by 2050 then the plan should look very carefully at the need for and quality of new homes, the level of infrastructure (health facilities, schools etc), and the sustainability of transport, and ensure that homes are affordable by all those living and working in our county.


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