Draft Core Strategy January 2011

Draft Core Strategy January 2011 - interactive online version

10 Infrastructure

10.1 The provision of adequate and timely infrastructure is an essential part of the delivery of sustainable development. The definition of infrastructure covers a wide range of physical, social, community and green supporting services and facilities including transport, recreation, health and education, utilities such as broadband, water and sewerage, and space for flood control, recreation, amenity and biodiversity. Green infrastructure is specifically covered in the earlier environment section (see Policy CS23).

10.2 Infrastructure provision is not just the delivery of new services and facilities but includes the retention of existing useful facilities. This can involve resisting development proposals that would result in the loss of an existing beneficial local facility (or where it would provide a less than satisfactory replacement), seeking to combine facilities to ensure continued delivery as well as establishing community schemes to assist viability.

10.3 Generally the availability of supporting infrastructure in West Oxfordshire is constrained by the rural nature of much of the District. Many of the smaller towns and villages have seen the closure of schools, shops, post offices, public houses and other facilities during the second half of the twentieth century. This is due in part to changing social and economic circumstances of their residents together with economies of scale leading to public services being increasingly concentrated in the larger centres of population. In Witney where major expansion of the town has taken place, new services and facilities have been delivered, particularly through an improved town centre, although some services remain increasingly centred upon Oxford. However there is local concern about yet further growth particularly as some of the long-standing infrastructure needs of the town, notably transport, remain to be addressed. Delivery of at least one new river crossing in the town as well as improved access to the A40 remains a critical part of the required local infrastructure improvements.

10.4 The District Council has a very small capital budget and is not a major landowner. The social housing stock has been transferred to Cottsway Housing. Delivery of new infrastructure has always been a partnership approach with other organisations (such as health, social care and recreation providers) and developers. Oxfordshire County Council is an essential provider of services, most notably transport, education and care.

10.5 Both Thames Water and the Environment Agency are key partners in ensuring that a high quality of life is maintained in West Oxfordshire. Accommodating surface water run-off in the most effective way during times of high rainfall is an important influence on both their investment programmes.

10.6 The Council financially supports rural services through its own grants and through the Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC) which co-ordinates support for community transport schemes, village shops and halls as well as promoting parish planning and helping to deliver affordable housing through rural exception sites.

10.7 We will continue to seek appropriate contributions from new development to help deliver new infrastructure. These contributions may take the form of built facilities as part of the new development and/or financial contributions which are pooled to improve infrastructure in the locality. The cumulative impact of individual development proposals may be considered when assessing infrastructure requirements with standard charges applied to the payment of financial contributions. The use of Section 106 agreements as part of planning decisions and a tariff approach will change in the coming years in response to Government proposals through the Community Infrastructure Levy.

10.8 During 2009/10 all Oxfordshire local authorities worked together with the Government's Homes and Communities Agency to produce a Local Investment Plan (LIP). The Agency has provided significant funding to help deliver development schemes across the country. The Oxfordshire LIP forms the basis of Appendix 2 which gives further detail on delivery of supporting infrastructure.

Policy CS27 - Infrastructure

Infrastructure to support existing and new communities will be delivered by working with relevant organisations and prospective developers to:

  • retain and strengthen existing local services and facilities, including improved  flexibility in the way they are used and accessed on foot and by cycle;
  • ensure that appropriate supporting infrastructure will be available to meet the needs of new development;
  • address existing deficiencies which adversely impact upon the quality of life.

New developments that individually or cumulatively generate a requirement for new infrastructure will be expected to deliver, or contribute towards the provision of, supporting services and facilities.  Planning permission will only be granted for new development where the identified level and range of supporting infrastructure to meet the needs of the new development is already available or will be available in accordance with an agreed timescale. 

Proposals which would result in the loss of existing services and facilities will only be supported where it can be clearly shown that appropriate alternative local provision of at least equivalent suitability and accessibility, particularly by foot, will remain or that the existing use is no longer required or viable and is incapable of being made viable or adapted for other local community uses.

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