Agenda item

Draft Scrutiny Panel response to the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Regulation 18 Part 2 Consultation

To consider a draft response (Appendix 1) to the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Regulation 18 Part 2 Consultation, produced by a working group of four members from the Scrutiny Panel.



The Chair reminded the Panel that they had agreed, at their previous meeting, to delegate authority to a smaller group of members to compile a proposed Panel draft response to the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Regulation 18 Part 2 consultation. Following that decision, the Chair, the Vice-Chair, Councillor Nell and Councillor Haval had worked to produce the suggested draft response which has now been circulated to the Panel. The Chair paid tribute to his colleagues’ hard work in putting the responses together, and to Kevin Jacob for collating them into one document. 


The draft response had been written on the basis of providing comments on each of the five themes of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 consultation document. The Chair encouraged the Panel to discuss any amendments it wished to make, especially any matters that had been omitted or which members could not agree to.


A detailed discussion took place with comments made in the following areas for consideration for inclusion in the final Panel response:


·           The need to promote Modern Methods of Construction, as provision of this type of housing needed to be stepped up significantly as a housing type. 

·           The Green Belt had worked very well to preserve the historic city of Oxford, but this had increased growth pressure on rural areas. Infrastructure needed to be provided to help meet Oxford’s unmet housing need and compensation was necessary to meet the cost of providing this infrastructure.

·           The Plan should take account of/include provision for the development of new technologies for sustainable energy generation and use, (electricity and transportation) based on ‘mirror tech’, ‘high temperature plasma’ technology and storage of energy in synthetic hydrocarbons, (clean petrol and diesel) – linked to an Oxford University sanctioned research study.

·           The concept of the loss and damage relating to unchecked climate change did not feature strongly enough in the consultation document, for example the effects of increases in flooding across the UK and rest of Europe.

·           The social dimensions/consequences of climate change were not drawn out in the draft consultation document. This needed to be flagged, as the most vulnerable groups in society would be the hardest hit by climate change.

·           There needed to be a balance between preservation and reducing emissions in respect of listed buildings.

·           Air quality – statements and words within the draft consultation document need to be strengthened. For instance, ‘where possible development will be expected to improve air quality’ – remove where possible as it was felt this weakened the intent of the statement.

·           Residents needed viable alternatives to private motor cars, particularly in villages. Lack of segregated cycle ways or public transport removes choice, and these facilities needed to be designed into developments.

·           Visitor economy – stronger wording needed to prevent coach drop of visitors in the Oxford city centre, ‘discourage’ did not go far enough.

·           Specialist housing need – there are policies relating to official University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes accommodation, but nothing to address issues of students displacing potential local residents from local short-term housing – perhaps a cap was required on percentage of student housing.

·           Water quality – there was a need to expand the draft response to include the importance of consideration of adequate sewage treatment and that Thames Water act to reduce controlled discharges into rivers.

·           Long distance cycle routes between towns should be promoted alongside long-distance walking routes. 

·           Inclusive Parking – comments in the draft response on cargo bikes were welcomed. However, there should also be reference to inclusive parking within planning rules to ensure that where provision is made on developments for cycle parking this includes facilities for cargo bikes.

·           Under environmental quality, nature recovery and biodiversity gain, the response could refer to recovery zones (including areas that are currently of low biodiversity value). If these areas are not also protected, it would be easier for developers to avoid their obligations.

·           Biodiversity net gain – the response could be made stronger to ensure that developers comply with their requirements to ensure that a net gain is delivered on each site.

·           Electric Vehicles – in order to encourage take up, it is imperative that charging infrastructure is not just accessible geographically, but also user-friendly.

·           Electric Vehicles - to encourage electric vehicle take up charging infrastructure that was not just accessible geographically, but also easy to use is needed.



1.     That the Chair and Vice-Chair be delegated authority to develop a final Panel response to the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Regulation 18 Part 2 consultation taking into account the comments made at the meeting.


2.     That a copy of the response as submitted be circulated to members of the Panel.

Supporting documents: