Draft Core Strategy January 2011

Draft Core Strategy January 2011 - interactive online version

1 Introduction

1.1 This document contains the Council's strategy to help meet the challenges likely to be faced by West Oxfordshire over the years ahead. These challenges include global issues such as climate change and fluctuations in the economy as well as changing expectations and needs of people living in and visiting the District. Planning has a key role to play but is only part of the way forward. Successful delivery of the strategy can only be achieved through working in partnership with the many organisations that have a responsibility or interest in some aspect of West Oxfordshire, particularly local communities and landowners. A strong message received throughout local consultation is that this part of the country is a special place which is highly valued by the people who live here and which must not be eroded by decisions to accommodate future development or other change.

1.2 The strategy has been developed through two key documents published for consultation - the Core Strategy So Far (February 2009) and the Preferred Approach (February 2010). It also has its foundations in the strategy of the West Oxfordshire Local Plan adopted in June 2006. Local plan policies will continue to be part of the statutory planning system in West Oxfordshire until formally replaced by new policies adopted through the Local Development Framework (LDF).

1.3 In parallel with preparation of the Core Strategy, various options have been assessed against sustainability criteria, particularly development options of concentration and dispersal around the District and options for urban extensions to the main towns.

Supporting documents are available on the Council's website - please see the LDF Sustainability Appraisal and Evidence Base page: www.westoxon.gov.uk/LDFappraisal
What is the Core Strategy?

The Core Strategy is the main plan in the Local Development Framework, the statutory development planning system introduced by the former Government in 2004 to replace the previous process of structure and local plans.

1.4 The Core Strategy sets the strategic context for any other development plan documents which in turn must conform with the Core Strategy. Supporting planning guidance already exists in the form of two adopted supplementary planning documents - the West Oxfordshire Design Guide and Affordable Housing. The need for their review and any other LDF documents will be reassessed when the Core Strategy is finalised.

1.5 The West Oxfordshire Core Strategy sets out the key elements of the planning framework to guide public and private sector investment; it makes decisions about the amount and broad location of future development. It contains policies to manage change and to ensure that new development delivers high environmental quality. All decisions reflected in the Core Strategy have been informed by our evidence base (such as studies and local surveys and the sustainability appraisal process) alongside the consultation feedback from stakeholders and the local community.

1.6 The Coalition Government is bringing about changes to the development planning system including removal of the regional planning layer of decision-making. Responsibility for setting local housing targets will be devolved to the local planning authority and has informed the content of this document.

1.7 As the Core Strategy should cover at least 15 years from the date of adoption this Plan will cover the years from 1 April 2011 through to 2027/8.

The West Oxfordshire Local Development Framework (click to enlarge)

LDF Strategy Diagram

Important Influences

1.8 The Core Strategy has been informed by on-going discussion with local communities and various organisations such as Oxfordshire County Council (key responsibilities for transport, education, social care, and minerals and waste planning), the Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust (health), and Thames Water and the Environment Agency (sewerage, water supply, flooding and the water environment in general). This is covered in more detail in the LDF Core Strategy Consultation Statement.

1.9 Other key influences have been:

  • Oxfordshire and West Oxfordshire Sustainable Community Strategies. Public consultation on the District document was undertaken in conjunction with early consultation on the LDF.
  • District Council Strategies such as Housing and Tourism.
  • Town and parish plans.
  • LDF documents in neighbouring local authorities.
  • Oxon Minerals and Waste LDF
  • Cotswolds AONB Management Plan and planning guidance.
  • The South East Regional Plan.
  • National planning policy - the Core Strategy must comply with this unless special local circumstances demonstrate an alternative approach is sound.
  • Information, including site suggestions for development, provided by parish councils, landowners, developers and their agents
  • Specific LDF studies such as town and village services and facilities, various aspects of housing provision and need, the economy, retail needs, transport, landscape, flood risk, renewable energy and sustainable construction.

The documents prepared as part of the supporting evidence base, including responses to consultation, are available via the Council's website: www.westoxon.gov.uk/LDFappraisal