A LONG delayed plan setting out where new homes can be built in South Oxfordshire will be discussed in a series of public meetings starting tomorrow.

The South Oxfordshire Local Plan could see thousands of new homes built across the district by 2034.

As part of the process of it becoming the area's legal blueprint for where new homes and offices can be built, a series of public discussions on it are being held from tomorrow (July 14), and could last for another three weeks after that.

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The secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, Robert Jenrick has ordered the council to adopt the plan by December this year after months of turmoil over its future.

The council's Lib Dem leader, Sue Cooper has said many residents and councillors share 'concerns about building on the Green Belt' and that the plan 'does not go far enough to address the climate emergency'.

Where would the new homes be built?

In the plan includes room for 28,500 new homes across the area, as well as room for new office and other employment spaces in towns and new developments.

Some of the homes and offices would be built in extensions to historic towns and villages, including Henley, Thame and Wallingford.

There is also provision to build new pitches for travellers.

But the bulk of the new homes would be built on seven 'strategic sites', each of which have room for hundreds or thousands of homes.

The first strategic site listed in the plan is west of Culham Science Centre and could provide 3,500 homes plus land for new offices connected to the estate.

The land is owned by the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

The second site is land east of Berinsfield, which could lead to a 1,700 home extension to the village, with shops and other facilities.

SODC council leader Ms Cooper said she personally though this site, the Berinsfield Garden Village, 'would be good to get underway, if done sensitively'.

Oxford Mail:

Culham Science Centre

The third site is Chalgrove Airfield, which is owned by government agency Homes England.

The agency recently put in a planning application outlining its plans for the site, which could create up to 3,000 homes, plus schools, a new town centre.

The fourth site is Northfield, several fields on the edge of Oxford near the Cowley Mini Plant.

This land could become 1,800 new homes.

The fifth site at Grenoble Road, south of the Oxford Ring Road could become up to 3,000 homes and together with Northfield has been tipped to help the city meet its 'unmet need' for housebuilding.

There are also plans to build 500 homes on Oxford Brookes' old campus in Wheatley.

This development had been turned down in the past, but has recently been allowed after the government stepped in.

The final site is two parcels of land north east of Oxford, known as 'Land north of Bayswater Brook'.

The larger piece of land is owned by Christ Church College, and the smaller by the landowning Aubrey-Fletcher family, of whom Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher is the current lord lieutenant of Buckinghamshire.

In 2017, the family had spoken of their hope to build homes for workers at Oxford's hospitals on the land, as well as new car parking.

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On these sites as many as 3,250 homes could be built.

Parts of this land have recently been excavated for an archaeological survey ahead of building work.

What do residents think?

There has been opposition to the Local Plan by residents from areas of South Oxfordshire within the city's Green Belt.

They do not want to see rapid expansion of their villages and towns.

Council leader Ms Cooper said: “Speaking personally, I think the feelings of residents ought to carry plenty of weight during a local plan examination, and I hope during the hearings the inspector heeds the strength of feeling from local residents across South Oxfordshire.

"Concerns about building on the Green Belt, along with significant concerns that the plan does not go far enough to address the climate emergency, are shared by many residents and several councillors alike who hope the inspector will consider recommending changes that will take these concerns into account."

Oxford Mail:

SODC leader Sue Cooper

The council has already put forward a number of amendments for consideration

South Oxfordshire's Lib Dem and Green-led council had wanted to throw it out because of worries about too many homes being built in Green Belt land and a desire for tougher environmental standards for buildings.

But it was prevented from doing this by the Government, which had considered giving control of the district's planning to Oxfordshire County Council.

At a meeting in February, SODC was told by the government to adopt the plan by December.