West Oxfordshire Local Plan Housing Consultation

5 Spatial Strategy

5.1 Having determined the number of homes to be provided, we need to consider where they are going to be built. In this section we focus on the overall spatial strategy before moving on to consider specific development sites in Section 6.0.

5.2 The existing adopted Local Plan strategy to 2011 is summarised in Table 5.1 below.

Table 5.1 - Existing Local Plan Strategy to 2011


Key Element of Strategy

Three main 'Group C' service centres (Witney, Carterton, Chipping Norton)

Significant new housing and employment development including use of fringe greenfield sites

Other 'Group C' service centres (Bampton, Burford, Charlbury, Eynsham, Long Hanborough and Woodstock)

Some new housing and employment development with more limited use of fringe greenfield sites where appropriate/necessary

'Group B' medium-sized villages (all with population over 1,000)

Development more limited and generally confined to within existing built-up areas only

'Group A' smaller villages

Small-scale housing development only

Small villages and hamlets

Generally no new housing or employment development (other than through re-use of existing, suitable buildings)


5.3 The logic behind the strategy is that because the larger settlements offer the greatest range of services and facilities (shops, pubs, schools etc.) they should accommodate the majority of future housing and employment development.

5.4 Table 5.2 shows the location of new homes completed in West Oxfordshire between 2006 and 2013.

Table 5.2 - Location of new homes built in West Oxfordshire (2006 - 2013) 


Number of homes built (2006 - 2013)





Chipping Norton












Long Hanborough







5.5 It can be seen that in accordance with the adopted strategy, most new homes have been provided in Witney and Carterton and to a lesser extent Chipping Norton, Woodstock and Eynsham.

5.6 The key issue is whether focusing most growth at the District's service centres remains the most appropriate and sustainable strategy for the new Local Plan in light of the increased housing requirement of 9,450 homes.

5.7 During early consultation on the new Local Plan three main strategy options were suggested:

  • Concentrate development at Witney
  • Concentrate development at Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton
  • More dispersed development amongst a variety of towns and villages but still including development in Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton

5.8 These options were consulted upon and also tested through a process of Sustainability Appraisal (SA).

5.9 The most well-supported option through consultation (and also the best performing option in SA terms) is to concentrate development at Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton (referred to as the 'three-town' approach).

5.10 Two more options were identified but not taken forward or tested through SA because the Council did not consider them appropriate or consistent with national and regional policy. These two options were:

  • A new village; and
  • Concentration along main transport corridors (A40, A44 and/or Cotswold Railway line) including expansion of existing settlements and/or new villages

5.11 In accordance with the SA report and previous consultation responses, the draft Local Plan (2012) seeks to focus most future growth at Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton. These towns have the widest range of services and facilities, have suitable and deliverable development sites available, are accessible by a choice of transport modes and offer the greatest range of job opportunities.

5.12 The plan recognises however that not all growth can or indeed should go to the three main towns and that there is a need for development elsewhere in order to spread the potential benefits of growth and sustain the more rural parts of the District.

5.13 To ensure the proposed strategy remains the most appropriate and sustainable way forward for West Oxfordshire, it has been re-assessed through an independent Sustainability Appraisal (SA) report.

5.14 Importantly, the SA report concludes that, notwithstanding the increased housing requirement outlined in Section 4.0, the 'three town' approach of accommodating most new growth at Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton, remains the most appropriate and sustainable strategy for West Oxfordshire.

5.15 The new Local Plan will therefore continue to focus most new development at the three main service centres of Witney, Carterton and Chipping Norton.

5.16 Outside of those three main towns, the focus of development will be the six rural service centres of Bampton, Burford, Charlbury, Eynsham, Long Hanborough and Woodstock which will accommodate development of an appropriate scale and type that would help to reinforce their service centre role.

5.17 Beyond the rural service centres, some development will be supported in the villages but this will be limited to that which respects the village character and local distinctiveness and would help maintain the vitality of the local community.

5.18 In the small villages, hamlets and open countryside, new development will be limited to that which requires and is appropriate for a rural location and which respects the intrinsic character of the area.

5.19 In accordance with national policy, isolated new homes in the countryside will be avoided unless there are special circumstances.

Consultation Question 3) Proposed Spatial Strategy

Do you agree with proposed spatial strategy outlined in paragraphs 5.15 – 5.19?

If not, which alternative strategy do you think should form the basis of the new Local Plan?

Option Results Count

View the responses to this question.