Cabinet considered the head of policy and programmes’ report. This reported that work had ended on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and the implications this had for the Joint Local Plan and the Local Development Scheme.
Cabinet recalled that in February 2018, the council made a decision to participate in a strategic plan with the other Oxfordshire authorities, and later that year, Cabinet approved the timetable for an Oxfordshire plan. However, during the summer 2022, the leaders of the five Oxfordshire local planning authorities announced that they were unable to reach agreement on the approach to planning for future housing needs and ended work on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. Instead, the councils agreed to tackle these issues through their own local plans, in South Oxfordshire’s case through a joint local plan with Vale of White Horse, recognising the wider duty to co-operate.
The report presented the next steps and sought approval of an amended timetable for the Joint Local Plan in an updated Local Development Scheme. The report proposed that the timetable for getting the Joint Local Plan to adoption stage should be extended by 11 months. This would allow time to fill some gaps in the councils’ evidence base and would avoid holding public consultations during a pre-election period. Recognising that the timetable might need to change again, the report sought delegated authority to make further updates.
Cabinet noted the end of work on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and welcomed the progress already made on the Joint Local Plan with the Vale of White Horse District Council. Cabinet noted that not all of the freedoms and flexibilities initially offered by the government for the period of 2050s development were made available. Cabinet welcomed the revised Local Development Scheme and its amended timetable, and supported the delegation to make further changes to the timetable if necessary.
(a) formally note the cessation of work on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050;
(b) note that Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire councils have committed to develop a Joint Local Plan and work is progressing well to the delivery of that outcome, recognising the wider duty to co-operate;
(c) approve the updated Joint Local Development Scheme (December 2022), attached at Appendix 1 to the head of policy and programmes’ report to Cabinet on 1 December 2022; and
(d) authorise the head of policy and programmes, in consultation with the Cabinet member for planning, to make any updates to the Joint Local Development Scheme.