Councillors in South Oxfordshire have agreed to take a little more time to consider options for the district’s Local Plan following a vote at a Council meeting last week.
Councillors want to find effective and suitable ways to ensure the plan takes into consideration feedback from local residents, who have raised concerns about the emerging plan’s approach to providing land for housing in the district.
The district council submitted its new Local Plan to the government in March ready for it to be examined, but following the local elections in May, the council’s new administration is keen to ensure the district has a plan that addresses local concerns.
South Oxfordshire District Council has also formally declared a Climate Emergency and so at the meeting in Crowmarsh on 18 July, councillors also expressed their wish to use the Local Plan process to help address the issue.
Cllr Sue Cooper, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We’re all very keen to make sure that we have a Local Plan that protects the best interests of South Oxfordshire and our residents. It’s sensible to take time to make sure we investigate fully of the implications desired changes might have, particularly if they have an impact on quality of life in the district.”
Following the councillors’ vote, council officers will be working with partners and the government to discuss issues related to the Local Plan including implementing Oxfordshire County Council’s successful Housing Infrastructure Funding bid.
Councillors approved a recommendation from the council’s Cabinet and agreed to:
 
(1) express its determination to maintain its housing land supply and avoid speculative development;
 
(2) express its continued support for the Housing and Infrastructure Fund (HIF) funding and infrastructure projects that could be delivered by it;
 
(3) ask officers to explore with Oxfordshire County Council, Homes England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government options for protecting the HIF funding whilst enabling the council to address concerns about the current emerging Local Plan 2034 including (but not limited to) climate change issues, Oxford City’s unmet housing need, and to report back to Cabinet and Council;
 
(4) recognising that the Climate Change Emergency is all too real and is recognised to be of key and statutory importance under the Climate Change Act 2008 and the associated objective of “zero carbon by 2050”, express its wish to do all that it can to respond through the Local Plan process;
 
(5) agree that as soon as practicable, 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.