What might happen to South Oxfordshire Local Plan – The Inside Thame Information

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SODC councillors will be asked to choose from four options, which will eventually go to a council meeting in coming weeks.

Officers want them to make no changes to the plan and allow it to be decided by Government inspectors as had been expected before May’s local elections.

Or the councillors could allow the plan to be decided by inspectors but recommend possible changes.

Alternatively, it could pull the plan, change it and then resubmit the revised proposal after a public consultation.

At the most drastic, it could also withdraw the whole plan and then restart the process.

It is understood councillors have mooted entirely removing Chalgrove Airfield from the plan, where 3,000 homes could be built. That would be built by Government agency Homes England but has been dogged by concerns that funding for infrastructure would be insufficient.

When asked whether a collapse of the airfield project was likely, a Homes England spokesman said:

“This is something that you will have to ask South Oxfordshire District Council.”

It is also understood building at Culham – and on the Green Belt – might remain but potential numbers of homes would be cut from a planned 1,850.

While sources said up to 1,700 new homes off Grenoble Road could remain but only if unmet need for housing in Oxford could be clearly shown.

All Local Plans in Oxfordshire’s four districts have been based on demand in Oxford and possible overspill from the city into them.

But critics have said that is based on old figures from 2014 and demand is now much less.

They have said it could mean the agreed 28,500 homes for South Oxfordshire could be significantly cut, potentially by as much as 40 per cent.

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Oxfordshire said it supported a delay.

Its director Helen Marshall said:

“It is quite frankly nonsense that our other local authorities should be putting forward housing sites, especially in the Green Belt, to meet a level of need that is clearly questionable.”

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