POETS (Planning Oxfordshire’s Environment & Transport Sustainably) have called for plans to build an Expressway between Oxford and Cambridge to be scrapped immediately. Instead, opening of the rail line between the two cities should be brought forward and be electrified from the outset.
At the same time, new housing in Oxfordshire should be located where it can be best served by public transport, and should also be more closely targeted to meeting existing housing need.
These are some of the recommendations put forward by a group of transport and planning professionals with many years’ experience of working in the county.
Noel Newson, formerly chief assistant engineer at Oxford city council, said: “The plans for Oxfordshire must take account of the climate crisis. It is folly to be building major new roads which will only add to carbon emissions. Instead we should be planning to locate new housing where people don’t need to use a car for their every need. And of course you don’t need HGVs to transport ideas between leading universities.”
The group is writing to all of Oxfordshire’s MPs and county and district councillors. It is recommending a re-think of the plans for Oxfordshire currently being developed by the Oxfordshire Growth Board.
Amongst their other recommendations are changes to the way in which new housing is built and allocated. “No-one can deny that there is real housing need in Oxfordshire” says David Young. “But that will not be addressed by building expensive houses in the green belt around Oxford that will be snapped up by London commuters. There needs to be a change in government policy to provide genuinely affordable housing to rent or buy.”
NNGO understands that the draft Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) is currently with Government for consideration. The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) has prepared the Local Industrial Strategy for the county. The aim of the Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) is to create an economy that boosts productivity and earning power, a long-term plan that provides a policy framework against which major private and public sector investment decisions are made.
NNGO says local people and sound planning principles, not an unaccountable quango and developers’ aspirations, should have a say on a strategy that will dictate future economic strategy for the county.
Sue Haywood, Responsible Planning in Burford (RPiB), says:
“The document makes startling claims about the ability to create 108,000 net new jobs in the county by 2040. Since Oxfordshire effectively has full employment, this inevitably means a significant increase in population to take up these new roles.”
NNGO has written to Oxfordshire MPs asking that Oxfordshire’s Local Industrial Strategy is subject to full public consultation and environmental assessment (preferably through the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 process) prior to adoption?
Which candidates will put NEED above GREED?
Local elections are taking place in Cherwell, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire districts.
Visit your District Council website to find out more, including candidates, Wards and number of seats (see links below).
Need Not Greed Oxfordshire have put together some questions you may want to put to candidates to determine their position on: housing; Oxford-Cambridge Expressway; East-West rail; ecology; environment; heritage; local democracy; population of Oxfordshire & growth; Oxfordshire Plan; transport; climate change; employment.
Importantly, we’ve also given the reasons WHY these questions should be asked.
Download Local Elections 2019 Candidates Q&A .
Consultation on the vision for the Oxfordshire Plan (Oxfordshire Joint Statutory Spatial Plan) closes 25th March 2019.
This is a once in a generation opportunity to influence the development of Oxfordshire and ensure decisions are not wholly made by Government and developers.
Visit Oxfordshire Plan 2050 website: https://oxfordshireplan.inconsult.uk/consult.ti/Oxfordshire_Plan_Intro/consultationHome
Please respond, there are three ways to have your say:
1 Respond by making comments on the consultation document https://oxfordshireplan.inconsult.uk/consult.ti/Oxfordshire_Plan_Intro/viewCompoundDoc?docid=10669236
Respond quickly: copy and paste the suggested text below into the introduction section.
Create your own response: see the NNGO response above to learn more and prepare your own response.
2 Respond by filling in the online questionnaire
3 Send the suggested text below direct to firstname.lastname@example.org
The proposed level of growth would be transformational to Oxfordshire and have huge environmental and social impacts, and yet there is no open public debate – the growth targets for this Plan are already assumed.
* Growth must be justified in terms of the benefits it will bring, and how, and not as an end in itself.
* This Plan is predicated on getting large numbers of people to move to Oxfordshire. Where are the social equity implications for Oxfordshire and other parts of the UK being considered?
* Sustainability should be embedded more firmly as a core objective in the strategy, with environmental and social sustainability given at least equal status to that of economic growth.
* The complex timetabling of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, and its relations to key decisions about the Expressway, need urgent clarification.
* The governance and accountability for the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 needs to be more transparent and locally accountable.
* There must be transparency on how the responses to this consultation are to be used and how the next stages of the Plan process are subsequently revisited, improved and refined.
* A publicly accessible interactive map of the whole County should be prepared showing the impact of all the proposed developments.
* The requirements of our ‘climate emergency’ are underplayed throughout the document and should be given much greater prominence.
* There are a number of differences between the consultation document signed off by our local councils and the final publication version. This process requires explanation.
* We need a commitment to a fully funded and robust green infrastructure strategy and action plan.