NEW housing developments in Oxford should not have car parks if access to alternative transport is nearby, according to the city council’s planning chief.

Alex Hollingsworth, the council’s board member for planning and regulatory services, said the plan would mean Oxford becomes a ‘grown-up city’.

Oxford City Council’s Local Plan outlines where the authority wants building to take place until 2036 and is expected to be approved later this month.

Controversially for some, it says building should be allowed on parts of the city’s green belt. It adds that new buildings should only ‘focus on high quality design’ to enhance Oxford’s appearance.

But amongst other critical passages in the report, the city council says car-free developments will be expected to become the norm.

Mr Hollingsworth said: “[The plan] is going to make it clear that new developments, where something is being built in a controlled parking zone and it’s close to shops and close to public transport routes, then it will be car-free.

“I suppose this marks a transition for Oxford to being like a grown-up city.”

Currently there are 21 controlled parking zones operating in Oxford, where parking is only allowed in designated bays and is normally restricted to residents. A new CPZ will be launched in Iffley Fields later this month.

Mr Hollingsworth added: “If you look at most [urban] areas, that’s standard. There isn’t an expectation that every development comes with a car park.

“We need to reflect the changing trends and the ways in which car ownership is happening.

Mr Hollingsworth added: “My understanding is that car ownership in the city is in decline. That’s a common thing across all urban areas, both across the country and worldwide.”

The popularity of app-based taxi services and car clubs could mean a smooth transition.

Though broadly in favour of the proposal, Liberal Democrat city and county councillor Roz Smith said: “The council needs to be a bit careful because we do need family homes and some families do need a car.”

Developments across Oxford would still be allowed parking spaces for disabled residents, car clubs and operational uses.

Later in the plan, the city council notes that taller buildings will be key to Oxford’s growth but that they ‘must make a positive contribution’ overall.

The Local Plan will be first discussed by the council’s scrutiny committee next Monday.