Oxford Mail – Scrutiny last Tues in clear exactly what is going on but comm enter suggested they recommended option 3 – withdraw plan and resubmit.
SOUTH Oxfordshire district councillors advised that the authority formally amends its controversial Local Plan.
Its scrutiny committee was asked to recommend a way forward for the council after dissatisfaction amongst councillors following the local elections in May.
The council is now run by Liberal Democrats and Greens, who took control after the Conservatives suffered heavy losses two months ago.
Its cabinet will meet next Wednesday to discuss the recommendation and will decide whether it should ask the council to formally adopt that policy at a meeting later this month.
That meeting will take place at the Cornerstone in Didcot from 6pm.
The new leader, Liberal Democrat Sue Cooper, has said she wants to reduce the number of houses and “improve” the plan, which is currently undergoing independent examination.
Officers have proposed four options in a report to a meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee on Tuesday. These range from continuing with the proposed plan to withdrawing it.
Councillor Cooper told the Henley Standard: “I don’t like any of them to be honest, not as they are written up in the scrutiny paper.
“I’m just extremely worried about the very high numbers in the plan. I think it’s a huge risk to this area to have such big numbers in there. There are 101 other reasons to take into account as well and we feel we have got a very strong mandate because of the election result to do something about the plan as it exists.”
Cllr Cooper said the number of proposed houses was too high to proceed with option one, while option two meant any changes would be in the hands of the inspectors. Options three and four would take time.
She said: “They have all got big unknowns with them if you like. I go to bed each night with a different option in mind but none of them is ideal.
“I think Oxfordshire County Council would like us to stick with option one because that’s what they have been preparing for.
“I don’t really know what’s going to happen at this stage. There are planning issues, legal issues and financial issues and they are still in the melting pot.”
Meanwhile, the Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England says the plan should be scrapped.
It says that the council’s core strategy, which applies until 2027, is a “sound” document while the proposed local plan was prepared for “little other reason” than to justify the council’s share of the 100,000 houses under the Oxfordshire Growth Deal.