The Future Oxfordshire Partnership Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Advisory Group


HELD on Thursday 20 January 2022 at 10.00 am

Virtual via MS Teams





Members: Councillors Emily Smith (Chair), Colin Clarke, Jeff Haine, Debby Hallett,

Alex Hollingsworth and Anne-Marie Simpson


Observer Member: Councillor Duncan Enright


Officers: Giles Hughes (West Oxfordshire District Council), Kevin Jacob (Future Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and Philip Wadsworth (Oxfordshire Plan Team)




51         Apologies for absence and notification of substitutions; declarations of interest; Chair's announcements


There were no apologies for absence, declarations of interest or Chair’s announcements.




52         Notes of the previous meeting


The notes of the meeting held on 16 December 2021 were agreed as a correct summary.


As a matter arising from the notes, members of the advisory group referred to the stated intention to bring a report on the Regulation 18 Part 2 consultation responses to the meeting and noted a written report was not part of the agenda. The Chair acknowledged that finalising of the written report was taking longer than had been hoped and accepted that this was frustrating for members.




53         Presentation on Housing Need


Giles Hughes, Chief Executive West Oxfordshire District Council provided a presentation setting out:


·           Current Oxfordshire Plan 2050 timelines agreed by HM Government.

·           The objectives of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050

·           The spatial context of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050

·           Initial assessment work and options around housing needs and housing numbers arising from the Regulation 18 public consultation based on below standard method, standard method, business as usual and transformational scenarios, and the request for an OGNA review. 

·           Implications for Local Plans

·           Immediate next steps in the preparation of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050


The advisory group was informed that although the results of the initial analysis had been presented, further work and reflection would be needed and there remained unknown potential external impacts on the Plan, for example HM Government planning policy changes and the Oxford to Cambridge Arc Spatial Framework. As the plan developed, it would be necessary to discuss and come to a shared view on future housing numbers and a scenario that each council would be able to support.


Members of the advisory group discussed the initial assessment work presented and a range of views were expressed regarding what were felt to be the advantages and disadvantages of the various scenarios and next steps. It was acknowledged that further work and technical reflection was required and that whatever decision was finally made, it would need to be technically and legally sound so that it met the standard required at examination. 


The Chair stated that it would be useful to be update further on the housing need scenarios and the spatial options at the next meeting including maps and visual representations so members of the group could determine what the different options looked like. It was important to discuss the spatial options work so that the very important work needed on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050’s policies could be progressed. 




54         Update on Consultation report including reporting arrangements and Work Programme'


Phil Wadsworth, Plan Lead for the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and Giles Hughes, Chief Executive West Oxfordshire District Council provided an update on the Plan’s evolving work programme. A key immediate focus would be for officers to reflect on the detailed comments made during the meeting in order to come back to the advisory group with a further developed programme.


As stated, as a ‘matters arising,’ it was noted that a report to district and city council’s scrutiny committees setting out a summary of the Regulation 18 Part 2 consultations and next steps for the Oxfordshire Plan was close to completion. The advisory group was also informed of ongoing discussions amongst officers across the county regarding a number of technical issues associated with the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 and its timeline. This involved consideration of such issues as the impact of the timing of the adoption of the Oxfordshire Plan and the next iterations of Local Plans. Members of the advisory group requested to be able to have input into the report prior to consideration by scrutiny committees, but it was acknowledged that given the tight timescales required this would not practically be possible. It was agreed that advisory group members should have sight of the report before it was published.


In discussion, members of the advisory group referred to the ongoing importance of public consultation, communications, engagement, and that published website information and plan documents should be as up to date as possible. It was noted that consideration was being given to the update of the Statement of Community Involvement and Local Development Scheme documents which would form a part of the Plan’s evidence base, but these were not currently considered to be of highest priority in terms of the overall Plan work programme.


Members also discussed and acknowledged the challenge of meeting the planned overall timetable for consultation on the Regulation 19 draft plan submission scheduled for July 2022. Officers indicated that they recognised the scale of challenges and reiterated that they would continue to liaise with HM Government about key dates in the Plan work programme as required.




55         Future meetings


Future meetings of the advisory group as set out in the agenda were noted.





The meeting closed at 11.50 am