Decision details

Oxfordshire Plan 2050

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Cabinet considered the head of planning’s report on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050.  The report sought Cabinet’s approval for the Regulation 18 Part 2 version of the plan to be subject to public consultation for ten weeks from 30 July 2021 until early October. 


All principal councils in Oxfordshire were meeting during this week to consider the same report and recommendations.  Two councils had already approved the plan for consultation, three more were meeting today, including this meeting, and a further council would meet tomorrow. 


Appended to the report was the Statement of Community Involvement, which Cabinet was also asked to approve.  This set out how the consultation would be conducted.  This included two Vale community webinars for local residents on 19 August and 22 September. 


A briefing had been held on 17 June for all councillors.  Also, members of the Joint Scrutiny Committee had met informally on 13 July to consider the plan and had made suggestions, which had been circulated to Cabinet members in advance of this meeting.  The suggestions were to improve clarity in the plan and to improve the consultation process.  These had been fed back to the Oxfordshire Plan team. 


The Cabinet member reported that Regulation 18 Part 2 was the stage at which different options could be tested through public consultation.  Following the Regulation 18 consultation, the Regulation 19 stage would be held where the plan would take shape with policy detail.  Following the adoption of a motion at the Council meeting on 14 July, this council would be submitting its own consultation response about the sustainability challenges facing Oxfordshire.  The Cabinet member encouraged other councillors to promote this consultation to their communities and to respond to the consultation if they wished. 


Cabinet supported the recommendations to commence the consultation.  The major challenge for the Oxfordshire Plan would be to set out how ongoing growth could be compatible with climate change objectives.  The plan had defined what green growth could look like but the policies in the plan were unlikely to meet it in their current form.  For Oxfordshire the climate change threats were from increased incidences and severity of flooding, and extreme heat.  Every new house added to the carbon footprint.  Generally, development in Oxfordshire had resulted in patterns of large numbers of people commuting from their towns and villages into and out of Oxford for work, which also added to the carbon footprint.  Any growth should avoid this scenario in future and should be decided on the basis of what Oxfordshire could afford in terms of its natural resources. 


Cabinet also noted that there was a separate consultation being undertaken on the government’s Oxford to Cambridge Arc project.  Councillors believed that it was important that the Oxfordshire Plan was a strong document, which would give Oxfordshire more control over the decisions affecting its future, rather than being driven by the Arc’s policies.  Hopefully some of the Oxfordshire Plan policies would be replicated across the Arc. 


It was noted that the Office of National Statistics had recently downgraded its predictions for population growth.  It was suggested that this point should be made as part of the consultation response so that the latest population prediction figures were used as the basis for defining future levels of growth in the Oxfordshire Plan 2050.  The growth figures in the plan should be based on actual, natural need, not on the method of employment growth estimates that had been used in the past. 


Cabinet was optimistic that the council, councillors and the public could influence the Oxfordshire Plan policies.  It was hoped that the plan would be an exemplar for the country.  Cabinet therefore urged the public to respond to the consultation. 


Cabinet thanked the Cabinet member, the Oxfordshire Plan officer team, and Vale officers for their work on this plan. 




(a)       approve the Regulation 18 (Part 2) Oxfordshire Plan 2050 document for public consultation, as attached at Appendix A to the head of planning’s report to Cabinet on 21 July 2021; 


(b)    authorise the head of planning to make any necessary editorial corrections and minor amendments to the documents, and to agree the final publication style, in liaison with the Cabinet member for corporate services and transformation, and subject to agreement with their counterparts in the other four partner local planning authorities; and


(c)        adopt the updated Statement of Community Involvement, which will become the formal basis for the forthcoming Regulation Part 2 consultation. 

Report author: Lucy Murfett

Publication date: 25/08/2021

Date of decision: 21/07/2021

Decided at meeting: 21/07/2021 - Cabinet

Effective from: 30/07/2021

Accompanying Documents: