To consider the head of planning’s report.
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 ... view the full minutes text for item 18