South Oxfordshire Fudge – Votes to Keep Local Plan at Same time as Pleading to reduce Numbers in Growth Deal

Oxford Mail Nathan Briant

The recommendation said ‘alongside satisfactory progress being made on resolving issues in the emerging Local Plan, work on a subsequent Local Plan shall commence, strengthening climate change considerations’

I.e. they keep the current local plan examination, and the inspectors have confirmed by letter that unless they raise soundnes concerns they can’t reduce the housing numbers by main modification, and uin parell work on a future plan which is already of course going ahead anyway across Oxfordshire.  In otherwords a fudge (a word mentioned 13 times last night I fiind through twitter) making it look like your reducing housing numbers when the very predictabvle government response to teh growth deal knocks the idea back.

A COUNCIL will ask for time to decide if it wants to change a critical housing plan but keep £218m of key Government infrastructure funding.

In the latest twist as South Oxfordshire District Council seeks to pass its Local Plan, its new Liberal Democrat/Green coalition was accused of ‘fudging’ a decision by opponents.

The coalition swept to power in May promising to scrap its unpopular Local Plan but now it has said it needs more time to decide what to do.

It said it wants to ensure £218m that would be spent on improving infrastructure in and around Didcot is not lost.

South Oxfordshire council’s cabinet member for planning, Leigh Rawlins, told a packed meeting it ‘wouldn’t be sensible to make a knee-jerk decision and crash on’.

The coalition has said it also wants to build an appropriate number of new homes. But it believes the need for about 28,000 that could be built in the district before the mid-2030s is unproven and far too high.

The decision leaves potential planning sites at Grenoble Road, Chalgrove Airfield and Culham up in the air for at least a few more weeks.

The council will now seek to get county council and Government reassurance that the £218m in Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) money will be secure regardless.

The county council, which has led the bid, said it wants to sign it off in September.

District council officers had urged councillors to continue with the current Local Plan, which seeks to build on several contentious Green Belt sites. But 20 councillors to 13 voted to try to keep HIF money and delay the plan.

More to follow later. 


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