Cherwell Local Plan adopted to mark future developments in district

Cherwell District councillors adopted their Local Plan at a meeting at Bodicote House yesterday (Monday). ENGNNL00120130724145215
Cherwell District councillors adopted their Local Plan at a meeting at Bodicote House yesterday (Monday). ENGNNL00120130724145215

Cherwell’s submitted Local Plan document which will guide the delivery of 22,840 homes and 200 hectares of employment land in the district has been adopted.

Members of the council agreed yesterday (Monday) to formally adopted the plan in accordance with the modifications proposed by Government Inspector Nigel Payne.

The decision led to the immediate implementation of the plan which sets out the council’s preferred sites for development and will guide future planning applications until 2031.

It will see the delivery of 7,319 homes in Banbury; 10,129 homes in Bicester and 5,392 homes elsewhere including a total of about 2,361 homes at the former RAF base at Upper Heyford.

To support economic growth, the plan delivers 61 hectares of employment land in Banbury and 138.5 hectares in Bicester.

Councillor Michael Gibbard, Cherwell’s lead member for housing, said: “It has taken ten years of preparation, 18 months of scrutiny and thousands of officer hours but we are delighted to now be in a position where we have an up-to-date Local Plan.

“This document will guide all planning applications over the next 16 years and, coupled with the fact we have a five-year land supply, will effectively put an end to speculative applications which contravene our preferred sites for development.”

Key housing development sites in Banbury include:

Canalside - 700

Southam Road - 600

West of Bretch Hill - 400

Bankside Phase Two - 600

North of Hanwell Fields - 544

Bolton Road - 200

Salt Way West - 150

Salt Way East - 1,345

Drayton Lodge Farm - 250

Higham Way - 150

While key housing developments in Bicester include:

North West Bicester - 3,293

Graven Hill - 2,100

South West Bicester Phase 2 - 726

South East Bicester - 1,500

Gavray Drive -300

The Local Plan was first submitted to the Govermnent for consideration in January 2014 and was followed by an examination in public in June last year.

The examination though was suspended until December to allow Cherwell to revise its housing figures in line with Oxfordshire’s Strategic Housing Market Association (SMHA) which was published after the document’s submission.

Following a three-week hearing at the end of last year involving more than 150 interested parties, Mr Payne retired to consider his recommendations and offer any amendments.

Although he made no changes to the location of sites for housing or the quantity allocated, Mr Payne reduced the amount of employment land in Banbury bordering south Northamptonshire by 36 hectares.

The other significant change was the removal of the council’s proposal for allocated ‘green buffers’ of land between urban and rural areas to protect their separate identity.

Councillor Gibbard added: “This plan signifies an important step in Cherwell’s future as it will give us full control over the expansion of the district without being open to interpretation by opportunistic developers.

“It will offer strict guidelines, a robust defence and a realistic vision which will put Cherwell firmly in the driver’s seat as it steers towards a better and brighter district for everyone.”