Liberal Democrats now running the Vale of White Horse District Council have criticised the current Local Plan process for expecting the district to decide where to accommodate Oxford’s ‘unmet housing need’ before the Oxford Local Plan has been agreed.
The Vale’s Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2) has already been through public examination and the Planning Inspector has written to the council saying the he believes it to be ‘sound’.
However, a large amount of housing in the Vale’s Local Plan is to provide for Oxford’s unmet need, which hasn’t actually been determined yet.
“The Vale has been put in the position of being expected to allocate land, including Green Belt land, to meet a level of housing need that hasn’t been established yet,” said Cllr. Debby Hallett, who is proposing a motion on the issue to the Vale Council meeting this Wednesday 17th July.
“The process doesn’t make any sense. We don’t want to allocate sites for housing on top of our own already high numbers that is probably not actually needed.”
Liberal Democrats are asking the Government to allow more flexibility so that the Vale can make its final decision on LPP2 after Oxford’s unmet need has been fully determined.
They are arguing that Oxford City Council needs to demonstrate that it has done everything it can to accommodate its own housing need before expecting neighbouring councils to allocate sites to meet Oxford’s need.
“The rules around Local Plans have resulted in the cart being out before the horse as far as our Local Plan is concerned,” said Liberal Democrat Cllr. Catherine Webber, who is responsible for planning policy on the Vale Council.
“We were elected, in part, because Vale residents are unhappy with the high rate of house building which is not providing for the needs of many local residents and is not bringing adequate infrastructure with it. We will continue to push for a planning system that delivers for local residents.”