Policy Option 25 - Visitor Economy

Policy Option 25 - Visitor Economy

We recognise the importance of sustainable tourism for Oxfordshire's economy and the jobs it creates. As the economy recovers from COVID and the visitor economy looks to new provision, we anticipate opportunities to grow this important economic sector in Oxfordshire.

Policy Options

The Oxfordshire Plan is considering major developments that have an impact beyond more than one district or the city. Large tourism proposals that can have an impact county-wide or across more than one district or the city would be covered by this policy. The Plan aims to set out a positive approach to encouraging new sustainable tourism development in appropriate places, to benefit urban and rural Oxfordshire based on a coordinated approach to infrastructure to support sustainable tourism development and investment.

The Oxfordshire Plan recognises that Oxfordshire's heritage is a key aspect of its tourism industry, likewise the business use of facilities such as through hotels at business parks plays a significant role in generating footfall.

One alternative policy option is to leave these considerations to future local plans, but our recommendation is to put a framework policy in place to enable forward planning by developers in conjunction with the local planning authority and the local community and Parish/Town Council affected

The preferred policy option seeks to set in place a strategic framework to address those proposals that are likely to impact on more than one local planning authority.

Preferred Policy Proposal

We want to encourage new development to advance the visitor economy designed to have a national and international draw. Proposals for such purposes could be supported under this option, subject to the following criteria to guide development, including:

The provision of new conference facilities, high grade hotel accommodation, resort hotels and museums, new stadium-scale sports facilities designed to have a national and international draw.

The development of new leisure complexes and the provision of associated specialist sports equipment.

New adventure-based tourist attractions and sports-based leisure and visitor facilities.

Active tourism in rural Oxfordshire that supports the rural economy and diversification.

We would expect all new visitor facilities to meet the following criteria:

They must be located either a) within the built-up areas of the city, towns and villages, and in the villages, development must be proportionally scaled and in keeping with the character of the settlement, or b) development outside of these areas in rural Oxfordshire would be supported where it supports rural diversification and is proportionate to the rural location.

Being sensitive to the local and historic context.They must be located at sites which can provide excellent transport and connectivity, that are easily accessible by walking, cycling and public transport.

Use of sustainable travel is encouraged and a sustainable travel plan would be required that sets out the details of the bus and rail connectivity that is to be secured.

They must be designed with renewable energy provision and others to help reduce use of carbon.They must have minimal traffic, environmental, visual and landscape impact.

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