Draft Local Plan October 2012

Amount and Distribution of Housing

Amount of Housing

5.3 West Oxfordshire has accommodated high levels of growth over the last 30 years particularly Witney which was earmarked for expansion under various county and regional plans. With the proposed abolition of regional planning, it is for the Local Plan to determine how much new housing is needed in West Oxfordshire. The draft Core Strategy (2011) identified a requirement for at least 4,300 new homes in the period 2011 - 2026. However, because the plan period has been rolled forward to 2029 it is necessary to revisit this target.

5.4 Updated housing projections have been prepared which identify three different scenarios; a lower level of growth (4,000 homes) based on 'natural change' in the District's population post-2016, a medium level of growth (5,500 homes) based on the South East Plan applied on a pro-rata basis post-2016 and a higher level of growth (6,700 homes) which identifies the number of homes needed to maintain the predicted peak in the District's economic workforce post-2016.

5.5 Whilst local housing projections such as these provide an indication of the number of homes likely to be needed in the future, there are a number of other factors that must also be taken into account including evidence of housing need and demand, national household projections, economic needs, the availability of suitable land for housing, the need to improve affordability and increase housing supply, the need for sustainable development and the availability of and need for infrastructure such as roads and schools.

5.6 West Oxfordshire falls within the Oxfordshire Housing Market Areas (HMA) and it is also important to consider the level of housing being planned for in the other Oxfordshire Districts. Notably, all other Oxfordshire Districts are basing their housing requirement on the South East Plan, which remains a material consideration and has been subject to independent scrutiny by way of an examination in public.

5.7 Taking into account all of the considerations outlined above, the proposed level of housing for West Oxfordshire is 5,500 new homes in the period 1st April 2011 - 31st March 2029. This level of growth is in line with the South East Plan, takes account of the need to increase housing supply to provide for economic growth and tackle housing affordability, but is balanced with the likely capacity of existing and planned infrastructure, the availability of suitable housing sites and the need to achieve a 'sustainable' level of development for the District. The housing target is not however a 'ceiling' and may be exceeded.

5.8 A lower target of 4,000 homes would be below previous trends of housing delivery in the District and would fall well short of identified housing need and demand. It would not be as effective in boosting housing supply and addressing affordability and would limit the opportunity to provide new or enhanced infrastructure. Importantly it would be inconsistent with the South East Plan. A higher target of 6,700 new homes, whilst presenting the opportunity to boost housing supply and meet a greater proportion of identified housing need and demand, would put existing and planned infrastructure under greater pressure and is likely to have potentially negative sustainability impacts with the release of more Greenfield land.

5.9 Of the 5,500 new homes that are needed, 359 were built in the period 2011/12 leaving a remaining requirement of almost 5,150 new homes. Of these, 1,197 are already committed through existing planning permissions and previous adopted local plan allocations . The housing trajectory at Appendix 2 shows the likely rate of delivery on an annual basis from 1st April 2011 until 31st March 2029.

Distribution of Housing

5.10 In accordance with the overall strategy, the majority of new housing will be located in the Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton sub-areas with a particular focus on the three main towns. This strategy has been tested extensively through consultation and sustainability appraisal (SA) and is considered to represent the most appropriate and sustainable strategy for West Oxfordshire. It also ensures that in accordance with national policy, at least 10 years worth of 'deliverable' housing sites have been identified with Strategic Development Areas (SDAs) proposed at Witney and Carterton.

5.11 The remaining housing requirement will be met in the Eynsham - Woodstock and Burford - Charlbury sub-areas, with a particular focus on the main rural service centres. The Council will work with the towns, parishes and local communities to identify suitable and deliverable sites for housing including through Neighbourhood Plans and/or a separate site allocations document.

5.12 The proposed approach is summarised in Core Policy 6. It should be noted that the housing figures for each sub-area are indicative and should not be taken as absolute requirements or targets. It should also be noted that housing land supply will be calculated on a district-wide basis rather than individually for each sub-area. Further detail on each sub-area is set out at Section 9. A small allowance has been made for future windfall sites yet to come forward, excluding 'garden land' development in line with the NPPF.

CORE POLICY 6 - Amount and Distribution of Housing

West Oxfordshire will provide at least 5,500 new homes between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2029. Taking account of houses already built (359) the remainder will be distributed as follows:

Witney Sub-Area

Around 1,900 new homes - to be focused on Witney including Strategic Development Areas to the west of Witney (1,000) and to the east of Witney (300) with the remainder provided through existing commitments (368) and other sites (250).

Carterton Sub-Area

Around 1,850 new homes - to be focused on Carterton including Strategic Development Areas to the east of Carterton (700) and at REEMA North and Central (400) with the remainder provided through existing commitments (315) and other sites (440).

Chipping Norton Sub-Area

Around 600 new homes - to be focused on Chipping Norton including existing commitments (226) with the remainder (375) delivered through the Chipping Norton Neighbourhood Plan and other sites.

Eynsham - Woodstock Sub-Area

Around 450 new homes - to include existing commitments (172) with the remainder (280) provided on other sites, with a particular focus on the rural service centres of Eynsham, Woodstock and Long Hanborough and the larger villages.

Burford - Charlbury Sub-Area

Around 350 new homes - to include existing commitments (116) with the remainder (235) provided on other sites, with a particular focus on the rural service centres of Burford and Charlbury and the larger villages.

Development will be monitored to ensure that the overall strategy is being delivered. Sites for new housing will be identified through partnership working with local communities, landowners and self-build groups, particularly through the use of parish or neighbourhood plans and/or preparation of a separate site allocations document.