David Bainbridge, director in the Savills central planning team in Oxford, considers the Cherwell District Council’s new Local Plan consultation.

Cherwell District Council in North Oxfordshire has begun a consultation on a new Local Plan to 2040. The plan is intended to guide development of new housing and employment, whilst tackling the challenges of climate change.

Ensuring sustainable development and building healthy and sustainable communities are the laudable, albeit challenging, themes at the heart of the draft plan.

Cllr Dan Sames, portfolio holder for planning and development, said: “We aim to protect and enhance our natural environment and ensure a sustainable future with responsible development in the right places. We understand the need for a limited amount of additional housing while maintaining affordability for those struggling to access the housing market.”

The objectives set out in the draft include:

  • Promoting net-zero carbon new developments, with high sustainable construction standards, and low embodied carbon to ensure new developments deliver the highest viable energy efficiency, including the use of decentralised energy; and support a local zero-carbon energy system.
  • Support for a strong and sustainable economy within the district, including the visitor economy and agriculture.
  • Meet the housing needs of the district, in a way that creates sustainable, well-designed, safe, inclusive and mixed communities.

An ambitious agenda is set out in the plan, which would see new development focussed in and around Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington and Heyford Park.

Given that the district includes the growth areas of Banbury and Bicester, along with a large rural geography, while also adjoining Oxford in the south, it will be interesting to see how the opportunity for greater connectivity between employment locations and homes is addressed.

Sustainable urban drainage, at least 10 per cent biodiversity net gain, and minimum housing density targets are also proposed as part of a package of policy measures.

The council is inviting responses by November 3 and the new Local Plan could be adopted by the end of 2025.

For more information, please contact David Bainbridge at Savills Oxford on 0186 526 9053 or david.bainbridge@savills.com.

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