For once I agree. I have previous ciriticised this here and on twitter as ‘all must have prizes’ planning designed to avoid triggering anyone (which of course produces entitled cry babies).
Countryside charity CPRE have attacked the public consultation on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 as “an unrealistic, ‘have it all’ tick box exercise”.
The plan will guide the development of Oxfordshire for the next 30 years.
The next stage in its formation is to ask residents to consider policies on climate change, improving environmental quality, creating strong and healthy communities, plans for sustainable travel and connectivity and creating jobs and providing homes.
A public consultation on the plans, which is one of the commitments made by all six Oxfordshire authorities as part of the £215m Housing and Growth Deal, opens on Friday July 30 for 10 weeks.
CPRE Oxfordshire said while it was supportive of the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan in principle, it was concerned that the consultation document was not ‘fit for purpose’.
Helen Marshall, director of CPRE Oxfordshire, said: “The Plan document does not attempt to address what level of growth is consistent with protecting our environment and rural character.
“It talks about ‘good growth’ but makes no clear assessment of the different impacts of the three options (the lowest of which is still 50 per cent above actual need) or the five spatial options outlined.
“It is not only silent on the tough choices that will be needed between meeting targets for carbon and nature and the push for economic growth but implies that we can effectively have it all.”
She said it will let the Arc dominate.
“As the Oxfordshire 2050 documents euphemistically put it, that will ‘be an increasingly important influence’.
And it will undermine the role of our local councillors as “we are presented with a wide range of policies (albeit many very desirable) which are to be imposed on all our local councils because otherwise ‘different approaches might be taken and this could result in less certainty and clarity for developers’.”
Ms Marshall said there should be a revised consultation document, “or at the very least an additional paper, that sets out the preferred growth and spatial options and provides adequate information to allow the impacts, risks and benefits to be compared.” [cough cough as statutorily required by the SEA regulations – why is this so hard]
“Environmental constraints must be a key consideration,” she said. “We need a plan that assesses the growth the county can bear within the constraints of maintaining its rural character and environment.
“A plan to ensure we don’t lose this character whatever Government seeks to impose.”
By the way of course the best way of maintainig rural character is concentrating development into large Garden Citties so 90% of the County remains rural. The worst way is developing so little that all the roads into Oxford and Science Vale become congested and polluted by people driving into work.