Policy 14: - Health Infrastructure

  1. As the population of Oxfordshire grows and changes, so does the need for the right buildings in the right locations to meet the differing health needs of the different locations of the county. Reorganisation and reconfiguration are complex and tend to impact on more than one local authority area.


  1. Over the next 20-30 years it is highly likely that further reorganisation of the health estate across Oxfordshire will be proposed. It would be prudent to consider adopting a policy to provide a land use planning framework for Oxfordshire within which future health estate reviews might be considered.

Policy Options


  1. The preferred approach is an enabling policy that aims to set out a framework in which the land use and planning elements of future health reorganisations might be considered, recognising that many of the issues arising will be matters that impact across more than one local planning authority. 


  1. One alternative policy option is to leave these considerations to future local plans, but there is a risk that the cross-boundary nature of health estate changes will be lost. A strategic approach that brings together more than one local planning authority is likely to be more effective in securing influence over the actions proposed by the NHS. Our preference is to put a framework policy in place to enable forward planning by the local planning authority, with the health bodies and their developers in conjunction with the local community and Parish/Town Councils affected.

Preferred Policy Proposal

Policy 14: Health Infrastructure

In considering reviews to reconfigure the health estate of Oxfordshire the following factors should be considered:

Where changes to the health estate are considered and will impact upon more than one District, an integrated, coordinated and comprehensive planning approach will be taken and a masterplan prepared, in collaboration and agreed with the local planning authority/ies, Oxfordshire County Council and other statutory undertakers covering the development of the whole site or sites. This would be especially important where the catchment crosses administrative boundaries.

This comprehensive masterplan setting out the strategic justification and rationale with a realistic timetable would be essential to establish the case for the review and to show the proposals for each location.

New health infrastructure should be designed with changing medical technology and innovative approaches in mind where relevant, (for example, by ensuring building materials used in development will not block internet connectivity signals that can be needed for medical uses).

In Oxfordshire, public access and good connectivity is central, so new locations must prioritise the ease of public transport and active travel access for both public and workforce needs. Equal access for all and those with disabilities must be designed into the proposals.

In considering how best to modernise the health estate, both the quality of buildings and their functional effectiveness will be key. New buildings must be well-designed with renewable energy provision at its heart to help reduce use of carbon in the new buildings, with strong energy management policies to reduce their operational cost and enhance their efficiency and effectiveness.

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