The Future Oxfordshire Partnership (FOP) has gained agreement from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to allow them to delay adoption of the Oxfordshire 2050 plan until the end of 2024.
This means that they are now working out what the new timetable will look like and the Councillors and Officers now have the opportunity to review the plan and consider whether another consultation should be carried out.
Councillor Emily Smith (member of FOP on behalf of the Vale District Council and Chairman of the Oxfordshire Plan Advisory Group) stated that the Advisory Group have also noted that communication about the plan is something that they are keen to improve.
There were questions asked at the latest FOP meeting about the assumptions on which the housing numbers are based in the Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment (OGNA).
The response from Councillor Smith was that as the projections were prepared before the Covid pandemic and the current economic circumstances, they need to ensure that the evidence is up to date and are commissioning additional work to help inform the plan policies.
She also pointed out that this would include work on the OGNA.
One of the public questions at the meeting referred to the report by independent consultancy Opinion Research Services (commissioned by the Cherwell Development Watch Alliance) which criticises the methodologies used for calculating population and employment growth in the county in the OGNA.
Councillor Smith did reply stating that individual members had read the report and if this report was submitted in response to their next consultation they would be happy to give it formal consideration.
So at the current time the projections for future housing growth across Oxfordshire are in question and we have no idea what and when any new (or amended) proposals will be in place.
Our planners seem to be running to stand still.
Please don’t let this put you off responding to the consultation on the new Joint Local Plan being prepared by the District Council which will guide the kinds of new housing and jobs needed and where they should go.
This consultation is on the main issues facing our districts and how we could use the Joint Local Plan to address them.
The deadline for responses is tomorrow – 23 June and you do have to register to take part.
You can access the survey at https://survey.southandvale.gov.uk/s/JointLocalPlanIssues/