Greater Oxford does not have a plan of course – rather Oxfordshire districts are all individually seeking to allocate the overwhelming overspill housing from its long overdue SHMA to sites just outside the Green Belt
For West Oxfordshire Eynsham North of the M40 a new Garden Village
For South Oxfordshire Chalgrove Airfield
For Cherwell Bicester Garden City
Vale of White Horse is the exception proposing Green Belt Amendments in four areas which the Inspector has accepted.
The issue is does this add up to a can of beans. Eynsham makes sense, it is a proposed Park and Ride station and the A40 is to be upgraded. One day the former rail line to Whitney might be restored, possibly as guided bus.
So most of Oxfords overspill is accounted for – the great exception being South Oxfordshire who stick out with an unsustainable site – rather than the site next to Oxford at Grenoble Road – which the County Council said
“The decision favouring Chalgrove Airfield as the preferred site, largely due to the fact that it is outside Green Belt has to be weighed against the highly likely severe transport implications in a location with such a high degree of inaccessibility and an extreme lack of potential sustainable travel.
“Oxfordshire County Council considers that the choice of Chalgrove Airfield as the site for a single strategic allocation is not based on sound evidence.”
Of all of Englands Great cities with Green Belts achieving a sustainable strategy for housing and transport for Oxford seems most within reach. The loss of Green Belt at Grenoble road would be comparatively small and it achieves an accessible site around a city where flooding and landscape constraints make expansion hard. It is time for South Oxfordshire to take one for the time and achieve the wider goal of protecting the vast majority of Oxford’s Green Belt for the next generation.