Oxfordshire's Green Belt ‘may have to change’

John Broad, of the Bicester branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England

John Broad, of the Bicester branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England

First published in News Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

A PLANNING inspector has said a complete review of Oxfordshire’s Green Belt may be needed.

His comments came as he temporarily halted an inquiry hearing into Cherwell District Council’s development strategy yesterday.

Nigel Payne, who has been appointed by the Government to examine the district council’s local plan, said the authority’s housing target may be too low and told its officers to look again.

In the plan, the council is proposing to build 16,750 homes by 2031 but this is significantly lower than the 22,800 homes which a recent study – commissioned by all of Oxfordshire’s councils – said it should build by that year. The study, or strategic housing market assessment (SHMA), has been criticised by those who fear Oxfordshire’s green spaces will be paved over.

Ian Kemp, the programme officer for the inquiry, said: “The inspector has suggested Cherwell could accommodate a higher figure in line with the SHMA.

“The inspector said it would be helpful if there was a review of the Oxfordshire Green Belt, and everyone would know where they stand, but it is not something he can control and he doesn’t have the powers to say it has to happen.”

It was announced in March the SHMA recommended more than 100,000 homes would need to be built across Oxfordshire by 2031 – including 28,000 in Oxford.

The Oxfordshire Green Belt stretches from Bletchingdon in the north to Warborough in the south.

City council leader Bob Price said: “It is such a large part of the county that I cannot see how you can possibly seek to absorb those housing numbers without a review of the Green Belt. What the inspector said broadly reflects the view of the city council.”

But John Broad, of the Bicester branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, criticised the city council for not supporting the district council.

He said: “Oxford has done a spoiling operation on the local plan. The city should be supporting Cherwell rather than throwing spanners.”

After the planning inspector voiced his concerns, the hearing was halted while Cherwell’s planning officers discussed what to do.

The planning inspector suspended the hearings yesterday to allow the district council to make changes to its local plan. These will have to go out for public consultation before a new hearing can start – probably in December.

Sir Tony Baldry, the MP for Banbury, said: “I don’t see what possible benefit there is for anyone in the inquiry bringing the examination in public of Cherwell District Council’s local plan to a halt.

“Clearly everyone recognises that one of the crucial decisions the planning inspector is going to have to make is what is the appropriate level of housing need in Cherwell between now and 2031 and that is likely also to have an impact on other district councils such as South Oxfordshire, which already have an agreed local plan.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments (5)

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7:25am Thu 5 Jun 14

Patrick, Devon says...

I wonder why every time Green Belt is mentioned CPRE are the first to be invited to comment? Why not ask others with a broader perspective, such as the Civic Society?

Of course, the people who are paying inflated prices for property are concerned that more housing will reduce demand and perhaps reduce values. The reason why property is so inflated is precisely because of the "spoiling operations" carried out by CPRE etc to prevent a balanced approach.
I wonder why every time Green Belt is mentioned CPRE are the first to be invited to comment? Why not ask others with a broader perspective, such as the Civic Society? Of course, the people who are paying inflated prices for property are concerned that more housing will reduce demand and perhaps reduce values. The reason why property is so inflated is precisely because of the "spoiling operations" carried out by CPRE etc to prevent a balanced approach. Patrick, Devon
  • Score: 3

9:23am Thu 5 Jun 14

hot foot says...

Patrick, Devon wrote:
I wonder why every time Green Belt is mentioned CPRE are the first to be invited to comment? Why not ask others with a broader perspective, such as the Civic Society?

Of course, the people who are paying inflated prices for property are concerned that more housing will reduce demand and perhaps reduce values. The reason why property is so inflated is precisely because of the "spoiling operations" carried out by CPRE etc to prevent a balanced approach.
CPRE are a minority group in the UK, unelected,and generally unqualified who have a massive say in matters that come before planning committees in the UK.More often than not they own their own homes and yet seek to give their own distorted views as to why fellow UK citizens cannot do the same.
Every citizen of the UK are entitled to an affordable roof over their head and to be able to make it their own. Balance is the key to the problem,not simply saying no just because you have influence in the planning system.,
[quote][p][bold]Patrick, Devon[/bold] wrote: I wonder why every time Green Belt is mentioned CPRE are the first to be invited to comment? Why not ask others with a broader perspective, such as the Civic Society? Of course, the people who are paying inflated prices for property are concerned that more housing will reduce demand and perhaps reduce values. The reason why property is so inflated is precisely because of the "spoiling operations" carried out by CPRE etc to prevent a balanced approach.[/p][/quote]CPRE are a minority group in the UK, unelected,and generally unqualified who have a massive say in matters that come before planning committees in the UK.More often than not they own their own homes and yet seek to give their own distorted views as to why fellow UK citizens cannot do the same. Every citizen of the UK are entitled to an affordable roof over their head and to be able to make it their own. Balance is the key to the problem,not simply saying no just because you have influence in the planning system., hot foot
  • Score: 4

9:40am Thu 5 Jun 14

downsview says...

Well said hot foot

All the dc's need to asssit in this process SODC esp but they would rather dump on Didcot than offend the sacroscant Green Belt Thank God an inspector has pricked that particular bubble Now are they any Tory district cllrs with some balls?
Well said hot foot All the dc's need to asssit in this process SODC esp but they would rather dump on Didcot than offend the sacroscant Green Belt Thank God an inspector has pricked that particular bubble Now are they any Tory district cllrs with some balls? downsview
  • Score: 3

10:40am Thu 5 Jun 14

TobyB1960 says...

If Oxford City has to build 28,000 new homes then it's up to Oxford City to find the space within it's own boundaries to find the space. Oxford City dumping their own allocation of new builds on other district councils is not the answer as they have their own allocations of new builds to fulfil as well.

Oxford City needs to decide if green space is important to the wellbeing of it's residents or not. If green space is important then the only answer is to build up!

But then again, wait 12 months and we will have another new government and the whole system changes again!
If Oxford City has to build 28,000 new homes then it's up to Oxford City to find the space within it's own boundaries to find the space. Oxford City dumping their own allocation of new builds on other district councils is not the answer as they have their own allocations of new builds to fulfil as well. Oxford City needs to decide if green space is important to the wellbeing of it's residents or not. If green space is important then the only answer is to build up! But then again, wait 12 months and we will have another new government and the whole system changes again! TobyB1960
  • Score: 3

12:52pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Chris Henderson says...

Building lots of market housing is not the only way to influence house prices. Indeed as developers will simply stop building if prices start to fall it is arguably never going to work. Look at the slow progress on Gt Western Park Didcot and the Grove airfield site. There are alternatives to reduce price rises.

1 Increase interest rates. This would also increase savings rates. At present much of our country's savings are in empty rooms. What is the incentive to downsize if you get a better return on capital keeping it in bricks and mortar.
2 Reverse the proposed pension changes. Millions of new pensioners no longer obliged to take annuities will be looking to invest. As buy-to-let has outperformed all other investment types over the last 20 years look out for another spike in house prices.
3 Let Councils build more council housing and stop right to buy from diminishing the stock.
4 Reintroduce rent controls in the private rented sector.
Building lots of market housing is not the only way to influence house prices. Indeed as developers will simply stop building if prices start to fall it is arguably never going to work. Look at the slow progress on Gt Western Park Didcot and the Grove airfield site. There are alternatives to reduce price rises. 1 Increase interest rates. This would also increase savings rates. At present much of our country's savings are in empty rooms. What is the incentive to downsize if you get a better return on capital keeping it in bricks and mortar. 2 Reverse the proposed pension changes. Millions of new pensioners no longer obliged to take annuities will be looking to invest. As buy-to-let has outperformed all other investment types over the last 20 years look out for another spike in house prices. 3 Let Councils build more council housing and stop right to buy from diminishing the stock. 4 Reintroduce rent controls in the private rented sector. Chris Henderson
  • Score: 1

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