Examination of local plan begins

Artists impression of Graven Hill Development PNL-140603-181257001
Artists impression of Graven Hill Development PNL-140603-181257001

A Government planning inspector has begun to formally examine the Cherwell Local Plan which outlines the preferred sites for housing and employment until 2031.

Today, Tuesday, Nigel Payne opened the inquiry in public for Cherwell District Council’s submitted local plan which explains where 16,750 homes should be built between 2011 and 2031.

The hearing will take place for nine days over a three week period in the council chamber at Bodicote House, where Cherwell officers and interested parties will discuss the document with Mr Payne.

The plan has earmarked Bicester and Banbury as the two main areas to take additional housing including 1,793 additional homes for north west Bicester, 1,900 homes for Graven Hill, 650 homes for the second phase of south west Bicester and 400 homes for south east Bicester.

Michael Gibbard, councillor for planning, said: “The inquiry in public will test the ‘soundness’ of the plan as an appropriate framework to guide the growth of the district until 2031.

“It will consider the numbers and locations for housing and employment growth as well as factors such as design and conservation and environmental management to ensure the necessary infrastructure will work.

“The inspector will also look at the supporting evidence and the way in which the council has engaged with stakeholders, including neighbouring authorities such as Oxon County Council and its highways department, English Nature and partners such as town and parish councils.”

The examination will begin with Cherwell officers presenting the plan to Mr Payne.

Over each of the following nine sitting days up to 20 interested parties will then present their views to the inspector, with Cherwell invited to respond to any issues raised. The council will then summarise the document ahead of the inquiry in public finishing on June 19.

Mr Payne will consider whether to recommend the plan for approval as it has been submitted or may suggest modifications. This advice is expected to be received by Cherwell in October and a final decision on whether to accept Mr Payne’s recommendations and adopt the plan will be made at a meeting of the full council in the autumn.