On August 30th 2023 the WODC will be launching its Local Plan Consultation for 8 weeks closing the 25th October 2023. I recognise many of you are sceptical of consultations, but it is important for you to have your say.
The Local Plan shapes our future and the decisions made for the future of West Oxfordshire and is key in developing the areas where we live and work ensuring the surrounding environment isn’t negatively impacted.
The Local Plan legally has to be reviewed and updated. Many of you will be aware we currently don't have enough housing land supply to meet the current local plan which effects how we make planning decisions. Currently when planning applications are submitted refusal can only be granted if “substantial harm” is identified outweighing the benefits regarding that application.
Aston Parish Councillors and villagers recently spoke at an appeal by Terra to build more houses in Aston. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful and could not stop the planning being approved as the benefits were considered to outweigh any harm despite presenting a very strong argument.
It is important for those of us in villages to have their say. Within the consultation, which is all encompassing, they will be looking at where housing should be built. There will be several options for you to look at but two of the options focus on villages.
Dispersed Growth - A more even distribution of growth with emphasis on small - medium scale development taking place in villages.
Village Clusters - similar to above but with villages considered collectively in 'clusters' based on available services and facilities.
We all recognise that there is a real need for housing and equally a huge demand for affordable housing. The question is are villages the right place? Villages will still play their part in regard to additional housing numbers but without your input it could be much larger and have a much greater impact on where many of us live now.
Whilst this will be available online and will be fully interactive allowing you to make comments WODC will be engaging with Town and Parish Councils and will also be happy to receive written feedback on the consultation via email or post.
Please register now to ensure that you can have your say. Your Parish Council are already working on this but will need your help!
To sign up for more information on the forthcoming Local Plan consultation please visit https://yourvoice.westoxon.gov.uk/en-GB/
Lysette Nicholls (District Councillor)