INTRODUCTION

1.1 This is the draft Local Plan for West Oxfordshire. It sets out how the District will move forward in the period 2011 - 2029 in response to local issues such as housing need and flood risk and wider global issues such as climate change and the need for economic growth. The plan has been shaped by extensive community engagement which has helped to ensure that it focuses on those issues of greatest significance to West Oxfordshire.

1.2 A strong message received throughout is that this part of the country is a special place which is highly valued by the people who live here and which must not be eroded by decisions to accommodate inappropriate future development or other change. A key challenge for the plan is to deliver the new development needed to support economic growth in a way that does not compromise the quality of life and the environment enjoyed by those who live and work in the District - in other words to achieve 'sustainable development'.

1.3 The Local Plan sets out how much development will take place, what type, where and when it will come forward as well as what infrastructure is needed to support it. In this respect it seeks to provide certainty for the local community, service providers and those looking to invest or move into the area. It is aspirational, yet realistic about what can be delivered on the ground.

1.4 The plan contains a number of 'core policies' to manage change and to ensure that all new development is sustainable. These include 'cross-cutting' policies that apply to all development, 'topic-based' policies that apply to certain types of development and 'placed-based' policies that apply to specific parts of the District. The core policies replace many of the policies contained in the existing adopted Local Plan. Further information is provided at Appendix 1.

1.5 The plan covers the period 1st April 2011 - 31st March 2029. It will however be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure it remains relevant and appropriate.