To consider the head of planning’s report.
Cabinet considered the head of planning’s report on the South Oxfordshire Local Plan Publication Version (2034).
The report proposed Cabinet recommend to Council to approve the plan and its associated documents for publication, under Regulation 19 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012, and for submission to the Secretary of State for independent examination. Subject to Council’s approval, the plan would be subject to Regulation 19 consultation from 7 January 2019 for six weeks.
The Cabinet member for planning reported that, since the Council’s decision on 15 May 2018, there had been a thorough assessment of all possible housing site allocations. Three new housing sites had been added to the draft plan. The sites selection background paper had been made available to councillors prior to the meeting and would be published in January. The plan was prepared in accordance with the revised National Planning Policy Framework and provided a strengthened approach to the duty to co-operate with neighbouring councils. It planned for housing, employment, retail and infrastructure. Any significant amendments to the plan as proposed would impact upon the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal and the milestones contained therein.
Officers provided Cabinet with the following updates to the report:
· The housing trajectory would be updated
· Policy EMP1 - additional text would be added to refer to the 'distribution proposed within the strategic allocation at Grenoble Road for approximately 10 hectares to extend the Oxford Science Park’
· STRAT13: Land North of Bayswater Brook - additional wording to be added to refer to either providing for all necessary highways infrastructure as set out in the infrastructure delivery plan, which was likely to include a new road access between the site and the A40/B4150/Marsh Lane junction, and either a new road link between the site and the A40 between the Thornhill Park and Ride junction and the Church Hill junction for Forest Hill, or significant upgrades to the existing A40 Northern Oxford Bypass road including at the A40/ A4142 Headington Roundabout
· there needed to be an update to table 5F in the local plan. The completions and commitment figure for Crowmarsh Gifford required updating to state 570 rather than 494 homes. As Crowmarsh had met its growth target already, this did not affect the number of homes left to plan for
· the Scrutiny Committee had met on 13 December and recommended that the Oxford Brookes University site at Wheatley Campus should remain in the Green Belt and should be for ‘300 homes’, not ‘at least 300 homes’
· the Scrutiny Committee had also recommended the text in Chapter 5 of the draft plan being amended to more accurately reflect the existing activities at Chalgrove Airfield and the tenant’s (Martin Baker) unwillingness to negotiate with Homes England. Suggested amended text was tabled at the Cabinet meeting
· in Table 7.10 to the report’s Appendix 3, the reasons for selecting Lower Elsfield/Wick Farm as a combined housing allocation site (now referred to as Bayswater Brook) were shown in the row for the Thornhill site in error
· in paragraph 30 of the report, the table would be updated to include the missing housing allocations at Nettlebed. The same table was included in the local plan: Table 5c
· the number of letters received by the Planning Service in relation to the Northfield proposed housing allocation was in excess of 300
Cabinet debated the proposals, noting that an evidence base had been prepared to support the draft local plan. For example, the site selection background paper contained an analysis of each site under consideration and set out their rankings. Cabinet recognised that not all sites would be deliverable in the early years of the local plan; some sites would take longer to complete. The site selection background paper also set out the reasons for releasing land within the Green Belt to form new housing allocation sites. These were to meet the housing needs of neighbouring councils and where the sites were sustainable and deliverable.
In answer to a question why the proposed housing numbers were greater than the target, Cabinet noted that the plan included sufficient land to meet this council’s housing target and land to assist in meeting Oxford’s housing need, under the duty to co-operate with neighbouring councils contained within the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal. The housing numbers in the draft local plan were required to provide the council with a rolling five-year housing land supply throughout the fifteen-year plan period to 2034.
Cabinet concluded that, as required by the resolution of the Council in May 2018, officers had undertaken a thorough re-assessment of all sites capable of forming a strategic housing allocation promoted through the local plan. The draft local plan was based on the professional recommendations of planning officers. Cabinet supported the proposals set out in the report to recommend Council to approve the local plan for publication under Regulation 19.
RECOMMENDED to Council to:
(a) approve the publication version of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan and associated documents, for publication under Regulation 19 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 as the version of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan proposed to be submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination, subject to:
(i) the updates provided by officers to the report to Cabinet on 18 December 2018, as appended to these minutes;
(ii) the changes to the Local Plan text on land at Chalgrove Airfield, as appended to these minutes; and
(b) delegate authority to the head of planning, in consultation with the Cabinet member for planning, to make any necessary minor amendments and corrections to the Local Plan and its associated documents including the identification of any saved plan policies as considered appropriate prior to:
(i) publication of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan; and
(ii) submission of the South Oxfordshire Local Plan to the Secretary of State for independent examination and leading up to and during the examination.