The Oxfordshire Plan aspires to meet the housing needs of current and future generations.
The cost of housing continues to be a major issue across Oxfordshire and impacts on where people can live and what they can afford, whether they purchase or rent property. This is a particular challenge faced within Oxford City but it affects the neighbouring four districts too and impacts on the economy by leading to lengthy commutes and an inability to retain younger people leaving University.
The Oxfordshire Plan proposes to support the use of new construction technologies to both reduce cost of building new housing but to ensure it uses less energy too.
The Oxfordshire Plan proposes to support innovation over the next 30 years, be it in housing design, build quality and incorporation of measures to help tackle climate change.
The national push for 'zero carbon ready' homes has been embraced by the Oxfordshire Plan as part of its ambitious set of measures proposed in Theme One: Addressing Climate Change and builds on the innovation achieved on current development sites such as NW Bicester.
The Oxfordshire Plan proposes to set a framework for housing quality (see Themes One and Three) and undertaking health impact assessments (see Theme Three) to improve the quality of life for residents. The Oxfordshire Plan places an emphasis on tackling climate change and securing environmental betterment. That emphasis has led to the proposed emphasis on achieving high design standards, which are recognised as being essential for reducing inequalities as well as having environmental impact and helping to achieve improved health & wellbeing of residents, as well as reducing energy costs.
The Plan seeks to secure the retention of young people and the less well-off through the proposed adequate provision of affordable housing and to secure sufficient provision for older people too, through extra care, care villages and other types of provision. The Plan proposes to support people who can't afford access to the housing market, those in low paid jobs, and newly forming households with the need for accommodation. The Oxfordshire Plan also supports the delivery of First Homes, a new national form of affordable housing. The Plan proposes to support new approaches to Community Led Housing, the use of Community Land Trusts and the contribution that public land has to play in enabling new innovative approaches to housing provision.
The Oxfordshire Plan proposes a strong brownfield land focus with support for programmes of urban renewal which means a reduced level of greenfield release with valued green space protected. The Plan looks to support the renewal of town centres.
The Plan will seeks to support achieving higher densities by building residential property higher, three or four storeys, in appropriate locations, to improve the overall land use and to reduce the need for more greenfield release.
Finally, the Plan looks to support the role of small and medium sized developers who tend to build the majority of smaller sites, to a high standard and more quickly than is achieved on larger sites. The planning authorities in Oxfordshire will explore the introduction of an accelerated consenting process.
In planning for housing, the terms 'need', and 'requirement' have specific meanings. The Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment (OGNA) assesses the growth needs for Oxfordshire to 2050 to identify the range of what might be reasonable levels of growth to test through the Plan. It will then be for the Plan-making process to arrive at a growth requirement figure for the Plan policies. OGNA is a technical document and must provide robust evidence to support our policy making. The draft assessment identifies three need scenarios which are shown in the table below (further to a national ‘standard method’). We will consider any consultation comments before the assessment is finalised. For comparison, the current level of housing need, as embedded in the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, is shown indicatively for the same period.
The OGNA modelling focusses on three levels of growth: Standard Method adjusted, Business as Usual, and Transformational. These three show the range. The Oxfordshire Plan cannot go lower than standard method (or it would fail to comply with Government guidance), and it would be unrealistic to aim for higher growth than the aspirations in the Local Industrial Strategy (LIS), associated with the transformational trajectory given the need to balance homes and jobs, as well as the challenge of delivery and the environment and infrastructure constraints that exist. Further explanation of these housing need scenarios is provided in the OGNA.
Standard Method (adjusted) trajectory
Business as usual trajectory
Growth Deal comparator
Whilst the OGNA has set out a range of housing needs figures it has not advised on a target or requirement that the Oxfordshire Plan should take forward. Through the Plan making process (including this Regulation 18 Part 2 consultation) we are testing the level of growth options. The decision on the final housing requirement will need to balance the OGNA with other evidence studies, and other decision-making tools such as Sustainability Appraisal, consultation, and the strategy set out in this Plan. This process will follow the outcome of this Regulation 18 Part 2 consultation on the proposed strategy of the Plan, the proposed policy options and the proposed Strategic Spatial Options.
The next tranche of growth has already been committed in the 2020 – 2031/5/6 period of the Oxfordshire Plan through the City and District's planning consents. In a number of Districts, committed growth associated with consents continues into the period after 2031/5/6 due to the delivery period of strategic development sites and windfalls. In the next phase of Plan making the total of these commitments will be taken off the OGNA scenarios to present the 'residual' figure. This is the housing requirement that we will need to plan for.
Oxfordshire has adopted local plans in place with committed growth for the next 10-15 years. The table below shows the number of homes that these plans presently provide for, the number built at 31 March 2020, those left to be built and additional homes that the plans provide for beyond their plan periods.
The next table (as of 2020/21) illustrates this.
This committed growth (taken from local plan trajectories to illustrate the issue at this stage) should be taken into account. The table below illustrates the ‘residual figure’ that arises by taking the OGNA scenario figure minus committed growth to leave a 'residual' figure:
So, the range of new growth we intend to test in the preparation of the Regulation 19 Plan is of the order of 18,000-70,000 homes (not 101,000-153,000). This lower range is the basis for looking at broad areas of growth through the Oxfordshire Plan 2031/5/6 to 2050. i.e. over a 20-year period, after the end of the current adopted local plans. Note: In considering this issue in the preparation of the Regulation 19 Plan we will use the most up to date data from AMRs from each local planning authority to ensure we use a common basis for the calculations.
The decision on where in the range the housing requirement for Oxfordshire should sit will be informed by the outcome of the evaluation and evidence in the next phase of plan-making in preparing the Regulation 19 Plan.
The Oxfordshire Plan has identified five strategic spatial options for consideration in the next section of the consultation document. These options take into account the locations for growth set out in the adopted local plans.
The next stage of the development of the Oxfordshire Plan will consider the application of the growth need numbers to assess the most appropriate locations for future growth to be identified in the Regulation 19 Plan version.
Through this consultation on the Regulation 18 Part 2 stage of the Oxfordshire Plan, the scenarios for the total housing requirement figure 2020-2050 (the OGNA) need to be considered and views are sought.
The Regulation 19 stage will consider the OGNA range taking the level of committed growth into account using AMRs, its ongoing delivery as well as the identification of a residual figure that is broken down into tranches (e.g. 10 years).
It is proposed that the Regulation 19 Plan is prepared on the basis of what is already committed in the five Districts using the most up to date AMRs, deducted from the OP2050 requirement identified through the OGNA.
Homes and jobs to be delivered in strategic locations following a process of assessment.
District-level figures will be provided for the remaining requirement (i.e. OGNA minus committed growth level).
As the Strategic Spatial Options section shows, as part of the site assessment process to take the proposed options forward in detail, we propose to use a step-by-step process, drawing on our extensive Plan evidence base to assess capacity and delivery in broad locations.
A range of evidence will be required including a HELAA, to assess capacity and availability of brownfield land, as well as constraints analysis on flooding, landscape and other factors, plus input from the SA/HRA and considerations of climate change.
The aim is to establish a final list of prospective locations for future growth that secure the objectives of this Plan and especially, sustainable outcomes, net zero carbon growth and environmental enhancement.
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