David Bainbridge, director for Savills in Oxford, believes the city council is leading the way on strategic planning with its public consultation on housing need which launched this month.
A public consultation which launched on February 13 is the next step in the preparation of a new Local Plan for Oxford.
It holds significant implications for planning for development across local authority boundaries. This is the first step in explaining that there is potentially insufficient suitable land to meet the housing needs of the city to the year 2040 and hence the city council may once again need co-operation from neighbouring authorities in Oxfordshire.
The interim assessment of capacity of land within the city boundary is approximately 9,147 dwellings over the proposed plan period to 2040. This means land is considered suitable for only some 457 dwellings per annum on average against a potential need of some 1,322 dwellings per year.
There is a significant challenge here for neighbouring authorities to ‘help out’ and consider land for housing arising from the city’s needs. In part this might lead to a review of land already designated for protection as Green Belt around Oxford.
This has been done before with sites due to deliver beyond the city’s boundaries but, following the decision to cease co-operation over a strategic plan for the entire county of Oxfordshire late last year, the willingness to co-operate to this extent could be wearing thin.
Due to findings of harm in a Green Belt assessment of land within the city, Oxford Council is not proposing a review of the Green Belt boundaries in the emerging Local Plan and instead will look to neighbours to be kind to one another.
The deadline for comments on the consultation is March 27.
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