RESPOND TO THE ONLINE OXLEP CONSULTATION HERE
OxLEP – Oxfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership – the unelected quango that is driving the economic growth in our county – is holding a public consultation on the ‘Refresh’ of the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).
The consultation runs until Friday 27 May and is being hosted on the OxLEP website.
The public were not consulted on the original SEP – the economic strategy for Oxfordshire. When it was drafted in 2014, OxLEP promised a public consultation on its growth plans, but cancelled this due to ‘lack of time’!
But while the public are finally being given the opportunity to comment on some aspects of the Plan, the overall growth targets are not up for debate.
This isn’t good enough! We believe local people should be given a proper opportunity to have their say on the future of our county.
Despite the grave inadequacies of the consultation process, Need not Greed Oxon are calling on the general public to respond to the online consultation.
We are also encouraging people to copy their responses to Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, their respective District Council Leader, and their MP (contact details here).
This may be your last opportunity to stop the juggernaut of forced economic growth in Oxfordshire; your final chance to protect our rural county from irreversible damage!
RESPOND TO THE OXLEP ONLINE CONSULTATION HERE.
Or simply email your consultation response to: email@example.com
Below are the questions posed by the OxLEP public consultation and our suggested responses, in italics (you should include your own comments where possible):
1. Does the SEP capture the main characteristics of the Oxfordshire economy, its challenges and opportunities? If not, what else could be included?
This plan leads to the imposition of a dreamt up 85,000 jobs by 2031 in a county that already has virtually full employment.
The environmental and social impacts of this all-out growth strategy have not been considered.
2. People – do we have the right priorities and commitments in place? If not, what is missing?
The plan doesn’t address the real need: providing the right kind of houses, in the right place, for the right people (those in real need), and at the right price.
3. Place – do we have the right priorities and commitments in place? If not, what is missing?
Oxfordshire needs to remain an attractive place to live and work; this plan threatens the rural character of Oxfordshire.
We want to see focused development, prioritising brownfield sites, respecting the views of local communities and recognising the value of our environment.
4. Enterprise – do we have the right priorities and commitments in place? If not, what is missing?
The plan should provide support for a range of sectors, including rural businesses, tied to local employment needs.
5. Connectivity – do we have the right priorities and commitments in place? If not, what is missing?
How can the SEP be properly assessed without knowing what infrastructure is required to support it and whether this is deliverable? We want to see a commitment to ongoing infrastructure improvement, delivered prior to further growth.
6. Does the SEP articulate clearly the roles and responsibilities of OxLEP – both in itself and in relation to other processes?
OxLEP (a limited company) is unelected and undemocratic, and exists solely to promote growth. We want to know why it is in charge of making decisions about the future of our county?
There was no public consultation on the first SEP; this review should therefore be a full scale re-examination of the overall growth figures for Oxfordshire, not just a token consultation on the bits around the edges.
7. Please feel free to make any additional comments in the box below.
The SEP Refresh should be an opportunity to introduce lower growth targets for the county that are more realistic and appropriate.
We want environmental and social considerations to lie at the heart of such decision-making, not be ignored or bolted on afterwards.
The growth targets are being used to justify development on the Oxford Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – how can this be considered ‘sustainable’?
We believe the SEP should be subject to a full Strategic Environmental Assessment.
Notional job targets are leading to actual housing figures. There are no brakes, caveats or checkpoints – this means that valuable land is being released now, without really knowing whether or not it will be needed. The SEP needs to assess how likely it is to meet these growth targets.
Growth should be phased, to ensure delivery of housing and jobs is in tandem. Measures need to be put in place to mitigate the risk of half-finished housing estates and projects that don’t join up and are not supported by the necessary infrastructure.
We want sustainable development focused on meeting the needs of existing residents, with growth more in line with a 10% increase in population by 2031 (based on national population projections). This means the right houses, in the right place, at the right price and supported by the right infrastructure.
Find out more:
See the draft SEP Refresh.
For more information about OxLEP and the public consultation:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 01865261433.
See further OxLEP contact details here.