West Oxfordshire Local Plan Housing Consultation

2 Background

2.1 All local authorities are required to produce a Local Plan. Local Plans set out a vision and framework for the future development of an area, addressing needs and opportunities in relation to housing, the economy, community facilities and infrastructure as well as a basis for safeguarding the environment, adapting to climate change and securing good design.

2.2 The Local Plan should make clear what is intended to happen in the area over the life of the plan, where and when this will occur and how it will be delivered.

2.3 Importantly, planning decisions must be taken in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

2.4 A crucially important issue for all Local Plans to address is the number of new homes to be provided.

2.5 The consultation draft Local Plan published in 2012 included a housing target of at least 5,500 new homes to be delivered in the period 2011 - 2029 (306 homes per year). The target was based primarily on the South East Plan (2006) extended on a pro-rata basis.

2.6 However, the South East Plan was revoked in March 2013 meaning that it no longer has any statutory weight in planning terms.

2.7 Since then there have also been a number of legal cases (e.g. St. Alban's - December 2013) in which the continued use of regional plan housing numbers has been called into question.

2.8 As such and in light of the more recent evidence contained in the Oxfordshire SHMA, the Council accepts that it is no longer appropriate to base its housing requirement on the South East Plan.

2.9 The remainder of this consultation paper sets out how the Council intends to take the Local Plan forward in light of the SHMA and other relevant evidence including the number and type of new homes to be planned for as well as where and when they are expected to come forward.