Oxford City Council has published a new report which sets out the technical evidence to support its case that Oxford’s unmet housing need is best addressed through urban extensions closest to the city.
The report provides authoritative evidence of the exceptional circumstances justifying the need for a review of the inner boundaries of the Green Belt to allow strategic housing allocations on the edge of Oxford. It also assesses the comparative sustainability benefits of the various options for urban extensions to the city.
A key conclusion of the report is that an urban extension to the north of the city in Cherwell District, providing 2,800-3,600 homes, and an urban extension to the south of Grenoble Road, providing 5,500-7,500 homes, would be the most sustainable and most readily deliverable options for addressing the need.
The Council has also assessed the transport opportunities and constraints associated with the preferred options and put forward high level mitigation strategies to effectively address the transport impacts.
Other urban extension options that may receive further consideration include Wick Farm/Elsfield estate to the northeast of the city, a strategic housing site at Begbroke/Yarnton, or an enhanced strategic allocation north of Abingdon.
The City Council has published the report as part of its responses to the Local Plan reviews of neighbouring local authorities.
Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning, Transport and Regulatory Services, said:
“Successive Planning Inspectors have concluded that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ that justify reviewing the Green Belt boundaries mainly due to the severe housing crisis and the lack of suitable land for development that threatens the viability of the city.
“Our evidence shows that properly planned urban extensions are an efficient and sustainable solution to housing need. They provide opportunity to extend existing public transport and cycle networks as part of an integrated transport strategy, and reduce the need to travel longer distances.”