Below, we can see John Cobb’s letter to the Oxford Times 4th July 2019.
The front page of last week’s Oxford Times describes an agreement to build two thousand homes on Green Belt land around Oxford. Over the past year there have been many column inches, and much correspondence, devoted to the Districts’ plans to build on Green Belt and green field sites. A large part of these plans has been driven by Oxford City’s – supposed – unmet housing need, some of which must be accommodated by the Districts.
The figures for Oxford City’s unmet need have never been substantiated. Now the government inspectors charged with examining the City’s local plan have challenged the City’s figures for unmet housiang need as being gross – perhaps forty percent – overestimates and express concern about the amount of Green Belt and green field land required from the Districts to satisfy the City’s needs. In plain English, they say that the numbers are wrong.
The Districts’ local plans, which are in the process of being adopted are based on wrong assumptions about Oxford’s needs, as well as equally doubtful assumptions about the needs of the Districts. One case in point is Part 2 of the Vale of White Horse local plan which was designed entirely to satisfy Oxford’s – supposed – housing need.
It is now time to suspend the adoption of the local plans and to review them in the eventual light of credible figures for the needs of both Oxford and the Districts. Rational, rather than ambitious planning based on unjustified numbers, would save precious Green Belt and green field land, and the Oxfordshire countryside from the pillage which will undoubtedly result from the current local plans.