South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) and Vale of White Horse DC (Vale)have produced a new Joint Local Plan 2041 (JLP41).

The deadline for responses is this Monday, 26 Feb, 2359 hrs

This is our last chance to try and persuade the council/s to reduce the number of houses planned for the land adjacent to Culham Campus (formerly Culham Science Centre).

[For those who do not already know, every local authority is required by Government to produce a Local Plan which sets out the development plans for its area (housing, employment, infrastructure etc), with policies that set standards expected of developers.]

3500 homes is a huge new settlement.  It was a most controversial allocation in the currently adopted Local Plan and is now even more so as it is by far the largest site allocated in either district. It is 20 times the size of Culham’s whole parish (we have 176 houses).

WHERE TO FIND THE PLAN DETAILS?

The Local Plan can be found online by googling ‘SODC Joint Local Plan’.  https://jlp.southandvale.gov.uk/  and a hard copy is in the local library and in the foyer at Abbey House.

You might like to know that housing NEED is calculated following a formula set by the Government, called the Standard Method (SM). For SODC the SM calculates a housing need of 605 homes x 20 years of the plan = 12,100.  On top, SODC is supposed to build 4950 for Oxford City, making a total of 17,050.

The SM is only advisory, and can be reduced to take into consideration constraints such as Green Belt and flood plain. However, the Joint Local Plan 2041 shows the expected housing SUPPLY from sites identified will be 21,759.  This is an excess of supply over need of 4709This ‘buffer’ is nearly 10,000 excess when Vale’s over-supply is also taken into account.  They simply don’t need to build as many houses as they plan.

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HOW TO RESPOND?

A) Via the council survey.  This is a 15 section survey with 80 questions (but you can skip sections). You can find it here: https://theconversation.southandvale.gov.uk/corporate-services/jlp_nutshellsurvey/consultation/intro/

B) if you only have 10 minutes or so to spare, you can simply send an email (don’t forget your name and postcode) to: jointheconversation@southandvale.gov.uk   If you are doing this and only making comments about Culham you must quote POLICY AS2 / Land Adjacent to Culham Science Centre.

If you already know what you want to say, that’s great.  If you would like some help, we can suggest that you propose (in your own words) something like:

• Policy HOU1 & HOU2: The supply of homes should align with housing need and not include excess homes.

• Policy AS2 / Culham: All the land west of the railway should be returned to Green Belt which should not be sacrificed for more houses than are needed.  700-800 homes are built on ‘Culham No 1 site’ in a modern, eco style, attractive to a science community adjacent to Culham Campus and encourage use of the railway and active travel (and discourage car use).  It should have the Local Centre currently proposed.    700-800 is still c. 5 times the size of Culham parish, but it is more proportional and sustainable, with facilities in Abingdon and Didcot. Bus and rail travel would need to be improved, but at a fraction of the cost and destruction of the planned roads and new bridges.