Policy Option 22 The Creation of Jobs

Policy Option 22 - Supporting the Creation of Jobs

The Oxfordshire Plan is aligned with the Oxfordshire Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) and seeks to maintain the economic success of the county over the long-term. A central piece of evidence for the Oxfordshire Plan is the Oxfordshire Growth Needs Assessment (OGNA) which considers the housing need figure across a range of scenarios, including options that consider the relationship to economic growth.

Like many issues affecting land use planning, the UK approach to regional and local economic growth is changing. This is partly due to COVID-19 and Brexit, as well as securing the economic aspirations of the Oxford to Cambridge Arc, and the Government's focus on 'levelling up' across the UK and its ‘Plan for Growth’, launched alongside the March 2021 budget. The current Oxfordshire LIS responds to the UK Industrial Strategy which aims to increase growth and productivity, creating more prosperous communities, much of which is core thinking in the emerging Government approach.

The Oxfordshire LIS is underpinned by three guiding principles: i) Invest in Oxfordshire, deliver for the UK; ii) Oxfordshire – the UK's 'innovation engine'; and iii) Global Oxfordshire, Global Britain. The key sectors and technologies in which Oxfordshire excels has global reach, meaning Oxfordshire is a critical driver for UK economic growth post-Brexit. The Oxfordshire Plan is one of the tools by which this economic success is to be maintained.

The LIS identifies key assets in the innovation ecosystem which underpin that strategy; the LIS looks to build on these strengths and assets to drive R&D and innovation across the region. The Oxfordshire Plan seeks to strengthen the economic activity taking place in our town and city centres, plus the business and science parks located across the county, as 'priority locations' and supports those priority sectors where strategic jobs growth is focussed as identified in the LIS.

The Oxfordshire Plan supports the creation of jobs across a range of sectors and in various locations, particularly to achieve the shift to ‘good growth’ as the economy begins to transition to address climate change.

One of the purposes of the Oxfordshire Plan is to consider the level of employment growth and the links to housing need over the Plan period. There are a number of ways to identify the requirements for job growth figures, but there is considerable uncertainty later on in the Plan period, from 2040 onwards.

The following figure is taken from the OGNA and highlights the range of forecasts for job growth 2020-205020.

Policy Options

There are a number of policy options that have been considered including whether to encourage appropriate forms of development which would lead to the creation of jobs, without placing any numerical requirements on any of the local planning authorities. The Oxfordshire Plan could provide the strategic framework for emerging local plans and neighbourhood plans to work with.

One other alternative would be to use a floor space calculation of new B Class employment instead of a jobs number for the Plan as a whole.

The challenge with both these alternatives is that the Oxfordshire 2050 Plan is looking to secure a progressive change to business working practices to 2050 and such approaches are traditional rather than transformational. In addition, recent changes to Use Class orders (new Class E) has made calculating floorspace requirements difficult. Therefore, we consider that the proposed policy option is likely to be the better option as it provides an overarching positive strategy which local plans and neighbourhood plans can build on, responding to local circumstances.

Preferred Policy Option

The proposed policy option could be to consider the level of jobs growth using the OGNA trajectories to identify the employment growth figure for Oxfordshire for 2020-2050. Economic growth and housing growth would need to be aligned and take into account a range of other factors. The decision on the appropriate level of jobs growth would be taken alongside the final decision on the housing growth figure that will draw on the OGNA scenarios.

The OGNA calculations could then be broken down into tranches for the local planning authorities to use (e.g.10 years) in the preparation of local plans. Figures provided for each tranche would have to be indicative, and subject to review by local plans due to the complex nature of job creation and to allow for individual circumstances to be taken into account.

Preferred Policy Proposal

Policy Option 22: Supporting the Creation of Jobs

The Oxfordshire Plan encourages the creation of jobs which align with the objectives of the Plan.

The Oxfordshire Plan could use the OGNA scenarios to consider the level of jobs growth and identify the employment growth figure for Oxfordshire for 2020-2050.

This would align job creation calculations with the housing growth scenarios that the OGNA considered.

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