OXFORD Civic Society welcomes the Government’s offer of an additional £215m of funding for the preparation of a strategic development plan for the county, to facilitate the provision of affordable housing, and to enable associated infrastructure development.

We also welcome the conditions in the offer, principally that all the county’s authorities should collaborate on the preparation of a joint, properly-coordinated, countywide spatial development plan.

We believe that the proposal represents a great opportunity to strengthen planning processes, so that better plans and programmes can lead to better outcomes for our environment and the well-being of current and future residents of the county.

Oxford Civic Society has been advocating a central Oxfordshire development plan (a version of the proposed Joint Spatial Plan) for a number of years (see our report: Oxford Futures, 2014).

Our report argued for the proper coordination of housing and transport planning, so that homes get built where good transport facilities are available, or can feasibly be provided.

We also called for excellence of design and much enhanced public consultation.

We hope very much that opportunities will be seized: to strengthen the process of integrated strategic planning; to open up the discussion of design standards (perhaps through a ‘super design panel’ for Oxon); and to ensure greater involvement of citizens in strategic planning.

We encourage early discussions on the communications plan for the Oxfordshire Joint Spatial Strategy.

We also urge the integration of the communications plan into the plans of other local authorities involved in the development of the E-W Economic Corridor, ensuring that the voice of citizens is heard along the length of the corridor.


Vice chairman

Oxford Civic Society