Draft Core Strategy January 2011

Draft Core Strategy January 2011 - interactive online version

Town Centre Strategy

7.26 The main town centres in West Oxfordshire are generally vibrant and our objective is to maintain and enhance their shopping and leisure offer to meet residents needs. Recent developments have further enhanced the role of Witney as the primary shopping and leisure destination. Chipping Norton and Carterton are important town centres in the north and south of the area providing a range of shops and services for the residents of these towns and their rural hinterlands.

7.27 These main centres are supported by a number of smaller town, village and neighbourhood shopping centres. The town centres of Burford and Woodstock have a relatively large number of shops and facilities for their size relating to their historic and tourist roles. The policy approach for these centres seeks to maintain the current mix of shops, hotels and other town centre uses interspersed with residential properties as a key part of their character and charm. Smaller centres, neighbourhood shopping parades and village shops continue to be important in meeting the day to day needs of residents. The Council will continue to resist the loss of shops and services through Policy CS27 (Infrastructure)

7.28 The Council will work in partnership to promote and enhance the attractiveness of all town centres addressing where possible issues of publicity, security, parking and accessibility, and improvements to the public realm.

7.29 Proposals for new shopping and town centre development must follow the 'town centre first' approach. The availability, suitability and viability of town centre sites to accommodate new town centre development should be fully explored, before edge of centre sites[1] , and lastly out-of-centre sites are considered. New town centre development should be in accessible locations and appropriate in nature and scale to the role of the centre where it is located. Developments which are likely to attract customers from a significantly wider area than the centre's existing catchment may be considered out of scale with the role of that centre and may be better located within or adjacent to a larger centre.

7.30 The impact of town centre development proposals on the vitality of existing town centres and planned measures to improve them should also be considered. Proposals which will have a negative impact on town centres will not be supported. Impact assessments will be required for significant proposals and will be expected to be proportionate to the scale and type of development proposed.

Policy CS18 - Town Centres

Town and village centres will be supported as the focus for shopping, leisure and services. Significant new shopping and other town centre development will follow the 'town centre first' approach, be in accessible locations and be of a scale in keeping with the role of that centre.

The town centre hierarchy is:

Principal town centre - Witney

Primary town centres - Carterton, Chipping Norton

Town centres with a significant tourist role - Burford, Woodstock

Within the primary shopping frontages defined in Witney and Chipping Norton the loss of shops (A1 use) will be resisted. Other uses, such as restaurants or cafes, will only be allowed where they would complement and enhance the shopping offer of the defined shopping frontage.

In Burford and Woodstock the change of use of premises to shops or other town centre uses will only be permitted within the defined town centres unless the proposal provides an overriding community benefit which cannot be accommodated in the town centre.


Key Evidence
  • PPS4:Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth and accompanying guidance.
  • Economy Study (and subsequent updates)
  • West Oxfordshire Tourism Strategy
  • West Oxfordshire Local Plan

1. Edge of centre sites are generally considered within 300m of the town centre and with good pedestrian connections to the town centre [back]


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