CPRE says building on Oxford green belt should be a ‘last resort’

Cherwell Local Plan review. CPRE. NNL-170725-113501001
Cherwell Local Plan review. CPRE. NNL-170725-113501001

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has objected to housing being built on Oxford’s green belt as part of plans by Cherwell District Council (CDC) to help the city meet its unmet housing need.

CDC is consulting on a partial review of its local plan to accommodate the extra 4,400 homes needed to help Oxford meet its housing targets.

Around 3,990 of those houses are proposed for the Oxford green belt with the rest to be built at Woodstock.

Colin Clarke, Cherwell’s councillor for planning, said: “Due to a lack of development sites and boundary constraints, Oxford City Council is unable to fully meet its housing needs. As such, all of the districts in Oxfordshire have a duty to work cooperatively with each other to accommodate the overall shortfall and meet the housing targets for the area.

“A total of 147 potential sites have been put forward for consideration in Cherwell to accommodate our share of this shortfall. We have concluded that to meet Oxford’s needs, the sites must be closely related to Oxford. We have therefore proposed seven sites for housing that will enable convenient, affordable and sustainable travel opportunities to the city’s places of work, study and recreation and to its services and facilities.”

But the CPRE said government policy required building on the green belt to be the last resort and there were more sustainable sites in the district to build housing.

CPRE Oxfordshire’s director, Helen Marshall said: “CPRE is opposed in principle to the release of green belt land – as is national planning policy. A very strong case has to be made to establish the exceptional circumstances required for the release of green belt land. The Cherwell Plan goes nowhere near making such a case; Cherwell’s electorate strongly supports retention of green belt land, as does government policy.”