A major countryside charity has secured an additional consultation on an emerging planning document.

Earlier this year, CPRE Oxfordshire called for an additional round of public consultation on the emerging Oxfordshire 2050 plan.

The Future Oxfordshire Partnership (FOP) has now announced that this is likely to take place in the autumn.

CPRE believes a further consultation is necessary because the growth options outlined in the last version of the plan were based on flawed evidence.

The FOP has confirmed that it will be updating the Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment – the critical document underpinning the growth figures – which was widely challenged by CPRE and many other groups including the Oxford Civic Society, Need not Greed Oxfordshire and Friends of the Earth.

Chair of CPRE Oxfordshire Richard Harding said: “The commitment to update the growth assessment is welcome but we still need reassurance that this will address the fundamental flaws in the original methodology, which didn’t even follow government guidance.”

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CPRE Oxfordshire claims to be aware that meetings are taking place between the councils over the summer, and it is likely that this is where important decisions on growth and policy options will be thrashed out.

Mr Harding added: “Obviously the councils need to discuss the evidence and draw some preliminary conclusions and recommendations about the amount of development, what it should look like and where it should go.

“However, the next conclusion must be a genuine one, with the public given real choices about the scale and nature of development across Oxfordshire, not just an endorsement of decisions already taken behind the scenes.”

The charity is asking the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan to deliver on three key issues.

Housing numbers; committing to a level of growth that can be accommodated without undue damage to our countryside and rural character.

Building in the ‘right’ place by maximising use of already allocated sites and giving a high level of protection to Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and land with his biodiversity potential.

And housing density, including the building of high-quality housing to make the best use of scarce land and create more affordable and climate-friendly communities.

CPRE Oxfordshire promotes the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural Oxfordshire by encouraging the sustainable use of land and other natural resources in town and country.

Established in 1931, the charity’s volunteers have been helping to protect and enhance the countryside for over 80 years.

The charity believes the planning system should focus on preserving the countryside as much as possible for the benefit of us now and for generations yet to come.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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