Cabinet considered the head of planning’s report on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. The report sought Cabinet’s approval for the Regulation 18 Part 2 version of the plan to be subject to public consultation for ten weeks from 30 July 2021 until October.
All principal councils in Oxfordshire had met during the week to consider the same report and recommendations. Each council had approved the plan for consultation.
An all-councillor briefing had been held on the plan and members of the Joint Scrutiny Committee had met informally and made suggestions on the consultation methodology. South Oxfordshire District Council would itself respond to the consultation. The Cabinet member for planning urged all councillors to respond also and to promote the consultation to their communities.
Cabinet welcomed the vision in the plan, which would provide a solid basis for the consultation. Some concerns were expressed that the options did not include detail on the likely housing numbers; other members explained why at this stage of the plan process, the approach had their support and should go forward. The plan needed to provide for the right type of homes for Oxfordshire, not mass sprawl. Overall, this should be a plan that supported ecological recovery and be driven by the needs of Oxfordshire, not by the historic statements about the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.
Cabinet supported the recommendations in the report to approve the plan for consultation. It should be meaningful engagement, reaching young people on the future of Oxfordshire up to 2050. Cabinet suggested that the consultation should also be wider than just Oxfordshire as it affected other areas of the country. It was noted that the consultation would be web-based and would be freely available to everyone across a wider geographical area. Cabinet thanked the officers for their work on this plan and thanked Councillor Roberts for her work on the Oxfordshire Plan steering group.
(a) approve the Regulation 18 (Part 2) Oxfordshire Plan 2050 document for public consultation as attached at Appendix A to the head of planning’s report to Cabinet on 22 July 2021;
(b) authorise the head of planning to make any necessary editorial corrections and minor amendments to the documents, and to agree the final publication style, in liaison with the Cabinet member for planning, and subject to agreement with their counterparts in the other four partner Local Planning Authorities; and
(c) adopt the updated Statement of Community Involvement which will become the formal basis for the forthcoming Regulation Part 2 consultation.