OXFORD City Council leader Bob Price resorted to an ironic choice of words in depicting the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) as “crying wolf unnecessarily”.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England rightly illuminated transparency concerns regarding the Oxfordshire Growth Board’s repeated “shadow” meetings preceding inaugural public session.
The extent of public trepidation became evident from the range of written questions submitted by a diverse array of groups and individuals seeking clarifications on the matter.
During the meeting, some growth board members were proactive in encouraging transparency and opportunities for public input in future.
But Cllr Price appeared to be a “lone wolf” among council leader counterparts who were calling for review of Oxford City Council’s Local Plan.
Vale of White Horse District Council leader Matthew Barber asserted the importance of identifying land availability for residential development in Oxford City, and determining the level of unmet demand there.
Cllr Barber proposed a successful motion: “Districts councils note the clear direction of the Cherwell Local Plan Inspector that Oxford City’s unmet housing needs be ‘fully and accurately defined’.
“The districts believe that fulfilment of the duty to co-operate would be further strengthened by Oxford City also committing to an early review of their Local Plan in common with all the other districts…”
South Oxfordshire District Council leader John Cotton referred to advantages of testing policy and capacity in a public forum through the Local Plan Inquiry process.
Alas, Cllr Price dissented and contended it was not “necessary or desirable” for Oxford City Council to review its Local Plan.
While “duty to cooperate” (on filling Oxford’s purported levels of housing need) is imposed upon counterpart districts council communities, a lone wolf council leader steps back and lets slack be taken up by the rest of the pack.
Town Councillor for Woodstock