Draft Core Strategy January 2011

Draft Core Strategy January 2011 - interactive online version

3 Our Vision and Strategy for the Future

3.1 The spatial vision for the Core Strategy has evolved through consultation with local communities and partner organisations. Initial consultation on the strengths of the District and future challenges took place as part of the West Oxfordshire Sustainable Community Strategy - Shaping Futures. The Community Strategy contains nine priorities for action:

  • To keep towns and villages economically prosperous and vibrant
  • To tackle the specific challenges of accessing services and facilities
  • To help young people to move from childhood to adulthood
  • To support individuals and young families who want to stay in the area where they grew up
  • To support older people to maintain their independence and health
  • To maintain and improve the health and well-being of all residents in West Oxfordshire
  • To reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime across the District to improve the quality of life in our neighbourhoods
  • To keep West Oxfordshire clean and beautiful while protecting the environment and trying to reduce the causes of and effects of climate change
  • To campaign to improve the transport infrastructure.

3.2 At the County level, Oxfordshire 2030 (the partnership plan for improving quality of life in Oxfordshire) contains the following long-term vision:

"By 2030 we want Oxfordshire to be recognised for its economic success, outstanding environment and quality of life; to be a place where everyone can realise their potential, contribute to and benefit from economic prosperity and where people are actively involved in their local communities".
Our vision for the future....

...is to meet the needs of West Oxfordshire's communities without significant change to the intrinsic character of the District. We wish this area to continue to be one of the best places in which to live, work, play and visit.  There will be a network of safe, inclusive, vibrant and prosperous market towns and villages within a healthy and attractive environment where new development will respect and complement the distinctive character of the area whilst managing the impacts of climate change. 

Witney will provide an enhanced range of services and facilities with improved transport infrastructure, whilst maintaining its character and vibrancy as a market town.  The town will offer a choice of well-designed housing which meets lifetime needs together with a network of green spaces linking with the surrounding countryside.  There will be a diverse range of local employment which will reduce the necessity for commuting to nearby cities.  The town centre will be vibrant, attractive, convenient and safe for all users with a wide range of retail and leisure activities on offer and will be well served by parking facilities and frequent bus services.

Carterton will strengthen its role as a service centre meeting the daily needs of its residents and work force, including personnel at the country's premier military transport airbase, RAF Brize Norton.  Much of the older MOD housing will be replaced with new urban development which will complement Carterton's enhanced role.  A choice of well-designed housing which meets lifetime needs will be available together with a network of green spaces linking with the surrounding countryside and continuing to provide a green buffer between Carterton and nearby villages. The range of services and facilities in the town centre will expand, alongside further improvements in the quality of the built environment. Local employment opportunities will continue to increase.
Chipping Norton will strengthen its role as a centre of enterprise in the northern part of the District.  It will be an economically and socially strong market town serving the needs of a large rural area.  Its distinctive historic character and fine setting will be conserved and enhanced at the same time as accommodating new development to meet identified needs.

The distinctive qualities of the smaller towns and villages will be protected.  Services and facilities in these communities will be supported and strengthened through improved partnership working between the organisations involved and through more innovative practices.  New affordable housing for local families and development specifically to meet the needs of older people will be delivered to help maintain the vibrancy of rural communities.  

Our Core Objectives
The settlement strategy

  • Provide new development, services and facilities of an appropriate scale and type and in locations which will help improve the quality of life of local communities and where the need to travel, particularly by car, can be minimised.
  • Locate new residential development where it will best help to meet local housing needs.

3.3 West Oxfordshire is a predominantly rural district with its population dispersed to market towns and villages. It is vital that its distinctive rural characteristics are maintained while meeting the needs of local communities. Although it is a relatively affluent area there are pockets of deprivation. For rural communities to be sustainable they must have affordable housing, good employment and access to services.

Meeting the specific housing needs of our communities

Plan for an appropriate mix of new residential accommodation which provides a variety of sizes, types and affordability with special emphasis on the provision of homes for local people in housing need who cannot afford to buy or rent at market prices as well as homes to meet the varying needs of older people.

3.4 There needs to be a greater choice within the local housing market to help balance the preponderance of family housing. Two key housing challenges will be to help address as much local housing need as is feasible and sustainable, and to better meet the needs of older people.

Sustainable communities with access to services and facilities

  • Ensure that land is not released for new development until the appropriate level of supporting infrastructure and facilities is secured.
  • Promote opportunities for local travel to be made on foot, by cycle and by public transport.
  • Achieve sustainable economic growth which improves the balance between housing and local jobs, provides a diversity of local employment opportunities, and flexibility to adapt to changing economic needs. 
  • Achieve a prosperous and sustainable tourism economy.
  • Promote safe, vibrant and prosperous town centres and resist proposals that would damage their vitality and viability or adversely affect measures to improve the centres.
  • Maintain or improve where possible the health and wellbeing of the District's residents through increased choice and quality of shopping, leisure, recreation, arts, cultural and community facilities.
  • Improve access to services and facilities without unacceptably impacting upon the character and resources of West Oxfordshire.

3.5 In a rural area it is important to achieve a sensible balance between delivering services direct to local residents and expecting people to travel elsewhere to particular services. In many parts of the District there is little choice other than to travel by private transport. However new development should not lead to more people being isolated from services and facilities which they need on a regular basis. New development must provide the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of its residents and/or users.

3.6 These objectives seek to deliver a high quality of life with a prosperous and sustainable economy whilst improving opportunities wherever possible or appropriate for travel by means other than the car.

Protecting our environment and reducing the impact from climate change

  • Conserve and enhance the high environmental quality of West Oxfordshire with protection and promotion of its diverse landscape, biodiversity and geological conservation interests, and its local cultural, heritage and environmental assets.
  • Reduce the causes of and adverse impacts of climate change, especially flood risk.
  • Improve the sustainable design and construction of new development, including improving energy, water efficiency and water management.
  • Ensure that new developments are located and designed to protect and enhance the individual form, character and identity of our towns and villages as well as contributing to the quality of life in West Oxfordshire.

3.7 These objectives seek to meet the challenge of climate change and to improve the sustainability of new development within the context of an area of high environmental quality.