RESIDENTS will feel ‘the greatest benefit’ after West Oxfordshire District Council’s local plan cleared a major hurdle, according to the local authority’s leader.

The council announced on Wednesday that the Government’s Planning Inspectorate had accepted the plan, which could be formally adopted by councillors at a special meeting later this month.

The plan sets out how the district can meet its housing target of almost 16,000 new homes between 2011 and 2031, while protecting against speculative and inappropriate developments.

It will identify sites the council believes are best suited to new housing and accompanying infrastructure and district council leader James Mills said local communities will gain from this the most.

He said: “Quite a few developments in West Oxfordshire in the last couple of years have been put forward as speculative developments, not local plan led.

Oxford Mail:

“This means when someone puts in an application we can look at the plans based on local reasoning.

“It helps the district council give the greatest benefit to local communities where the housing is built.

“We need more homes but they must be in the right place with appropriate community facilities.

“Having a local plan in place puts us in the best possible to position to achieve this.”

The Local Plan was re-submitted in March 2017 with 15,950 homes proposed after it was suspended due to the Inspector’s concerns around the previous target of 10,500 in 2015.

Developments in Witney, Hanborough and Eynsham are included, with 2,750 homes earmarked for land around the latter.

Eynsham residents have fiercely criticised the number of homes set for the village, with parish council vice chairman Peter Emery describing the Local Plan as 'flawed'.

He said: “I’ve never doubted the district council needed a local plan, I’m just very disappointed it’s as flawed as it is.

“It may be that a sub-standard plan has crept through due to the pressure to build housing.

“My only hope is that when it comes to granting planning permission there’s some logical sense.”

The plan will contribute to the Oxfordshire growth deal’s target of 100,000 new homes in the county between 2011 and 2031.

All five district councils must submit their local plans for examination by April 1 2019.