Draft Local Plan October 2012

Summary of Key Issues & Challenges

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Central, accessible location
  • High quality environment - landscape, built heritage and biodiversity
  • Strong sense of place
  • Generally good place to live with a high quality of life
  • Strong and articulate community groups
  • Generally vibrant town centres, particularly Witney
  • Strong and diverse local economy including many small businesses, specialisms in high-tech manufacturing and engineering plus RAF Brize Norton
  • Relatively skilled workforce with no major skills gaps although perhaps lacking in some technical skills
  • Relatively low unemployment
  • No significant areas of dereliction
  • Oxfordshire Cotswolds - important tourism sector with nationally important attractions
  • Good variety of formal and informal leisure opportunities
  • Out-commuting and reliance on the private car and rural road network
  • Severe traffic congestion in Witney and on Oxford approach roads, particularly A40 east of Witney
  • Air quality problems within Witney and Chipping Norton
  • Limited public transport, particularly in more rural areas. Also main towns not directly served by rail
  • Limited opportunities for safe travel by foot or cycle outside main towns
  • Disturbance from activity at RAF Brize Norton
  • House prices higher than national average and very high in some areas with a predominance of larger properties
  • Some rural areas have poor access to services and facilities plus trend for loss/closure of rural services
  • Limited access to high speed broadband
  • Small pockets of rural poverty with lower wages for workers in West Oxon compared to those travelling to work elsewhere
  • Generally limited or no spare capacity in existing primary schools
  • Many areas and communities affected by flooding, particular in the south of the District.

Opportunities

Challenges

  • New development to help secure increased affordable housing provision as well as new supporting infrastructure, including green infrastructure
  • To attract additional inward investment and achieve a more self-contained local economy
  • Further investment at RAF Brize Norton
  • Capitalising on and contributing to the Oxfordshire high tech economy
  • Improvements in internet and mobile phone technology
  • New sustainable construction methods and renewable energy schemes
  • Investment in town centres
  • Biodiversity Conservation Target Areas
  • Biomass and woodland management
  • Sustainable drainage schemes to reduce flood risk
  • Provision of new green infrastructure through after-use of mineral working
  • Provision of primary road connection between Carterton/RAF Brize Norton and the A40
  • Improvements in public transport, walking and cycling facilities to help reduce the use of the private car
  • Further develop the District's tourism offer
  • Further develop the role of the Thames for leisure and recreation
  • An ageing population
  • Meeting the needs of local communities with access to services and facilities whilst maintaining West Oxfordshire's high environmental quality
  • Provision of new housing to meet the needs of smaller households and an older population
  • Delivery of an increased supply of affordable housing
  • Reduction in our higher than average carbon footprint
  • Reducing dependence upon travel by private car including long distance travel to nearby urban centres and London
  • Pressures from growth centres close to West Oxfordshire
  • Climate change - extreme weather events
  • Flood risk
  • Water scarcity
  • Use of Greenfield land to meet development needs
  • Satisfactorily accommodating and benefitting from the expansion of RAF Brize Norton
  • Modernisation of older employment stock
  • Supporting the agricultural sector and diversification of the rural economy
  • Mitigating the impacts of sand and gravel extraction
  • Roll out of high speed broadband in rural areas