Sites and Housing Development Plan

Where should development go?Our response to the City Council's consultation

11 May 2012

Why is there no Master Plan for Headington, given the huge developments in NHS, research and higher education that will be taking place over the next few years? What is being done to meet the Government’s targets for housing in Oxford for 2017 and 2022? Where is it sensible to locate new student residences in the City? What should happen to the Jericho canal side? Should restrictions on Houses in Multiple Occupation be tightened?

These are some of the many questions that arose during discussion of the City’s Sites and Housing Development Plan Document which was approved by the City Council on 13 February 2013. The Plan forms part of Oxford’s Local Development Framework. It allocates sites for development for housing, employment and other uses as well as setting out detailed planning policies that planning applications for housing development will be judged against. Oxford Civic Society members worked together very actively in efforts to influence the outcomes. We take our motto “Shaping Oxford’s Future” very seriously! The Sites and Housing Plan affects some 65 sites across Oxford. We are pleased that the final plan has rewarded the efforts Society members have made to influence it positively although by no manes all of our concerns have been answered.

We are particularly concerned that the policies fail to take sufficient account of the problems of traffic and transport which have now reached a level that compromises the quality of life in some areas of the City. We want to see policies strengthened in future to preclude car ownership in student housing developments. And we want cycling to be encouraged.

We commented in detail on a considerable number of the specific proposed site allocations. The most vigorous debate here concerns building on public car parks. Retailers, in particular, have been vociferous in objecting to the loss of parking spaces, which they see as detrimental to their businesses. Of course, the vitality of the city’s neighbourhoods depends on the presence of thriving commerce, but this must be balanced by many other factors.

See the Society’s full response to the Consultation