On 19th March 2017 SODC released a “Second Preferred Options” document rather than a “Draft Local Plan” as previously indicated.
This document includes three major sites for strategic development:
- Chalgrove Airfield, as previously proposed with a 3,000 allocation.
- A major new development at Culham – 3,500 allocation.
- A further major development at Berinsfield –2,000 allocation.
There is a further small strategic development at Wheatley – on the to-be-vacated Brookes University Campus – 300 allocated houses.
The proposed Culham, Berinsfield and Wheatley developments are on Green Belt land and justification is provided in the document as to why the Council believe that this is acceptable.
The document indicates that the plan will deliver a total of 23,468 new homes in the period to 2033. It also states that the requirement to support the existing and future needs of South Oxfordshire plus a proportion to assist Oxford City’s unmet needs is 20,800. To justify this, the document says “Whilst the overall level of development required to support the existing and future needs of South Oxfordshire, and a proportion to assist Oxford City’s unmet needs amounts to 20,800 new homes, we are providing development to exceed this requirement. This provides additional flexibility to enable the management of our housing land supply trajectory going forwards and to respond to changing circumstances.”
The document includes an extensive list of proposed improvements to the transport infrastructure.
- The predominant focus on this is to improve the road transport in the Science Vale area: From the A34 Abingdon and Didcot Junctions, a new bridge across the Thames south of Culham, and a Clifton Hamden bypass.
- There is also provision for bypasses at Stadhampton, Watlington and Benson presumably to cater for traffic from the Chalgrove Development, plus a significant new park and ride at Standford-on-Thames – adjacent to Grenoble Road.
The main document makes no mention of the other potential strategic sites presented in the previous Council consultation documents and provides no rationale as to why the three strategic sites have been preferred over any alternatives. However, one of the many appendices to the Plan contains expanded and revamped set of sustainability appraisals covering all of the sites addressed previously, including Grenoble Road and Harrington.