Need not Greed Oxfordshire has for some time now been promoting the idea of a joint planning framework for Oxfordshire.
We believe a joined-up approach to planning on an Oxfordshire-wide basis could resolve many of the planning issues which we are currently facing in the county and allow the overall environmental and social impacts of development to be taken into account.
We therefore welcome the recent announcement by all our Oxfordshire local authorities that they will work together to create a ‘Joint Spatial Plan’ for the county as a whole.
On 30 October, the Oxfordshire Growth Board tabled its Business Case for a Joint Spatial Plan. According to the report ‘Having full development plan coverage for Oxfordshire would provide a strong foundation for development to happen in a planned and sustainable way, aligned with infrastructure provision’.
NNGO attended the Board meeting and took the opportunity of tabling a question – we were keen to know more about the Board’s plans for public engagement at the relevant stages of the emerging document.
The Oxfordshire-wide Joint Spatial Plan will set the development framework for the whole county for many years to come. So it is vital that the public have its say in how the plan develops!
We were advised at the meeting that the process would be ‘subject to consultation and engagement with the general public and stakeholders.’ The Board also confirmed that if the plan should take a statutory route, then ‘it would be subject to an examination by the planning inspectorate.’
NNGO believes the plan should be statutory, so that it is subject to independent examination and is binding on all Oxfordshire Councils.
We will be keeping a close eye on the emerging plan and making sure promises of public engagement are honoured.