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Oxford publishes report which 'justifies' green belt urban extensions

Published: Thursday, 9th June 2016

Council report calls for a review of Oxford’s green belt inner boundaries to allow strategic housing allocations…

Oxford City Council has published a new report which supports its case that its unmet housing need is best addressed through urban extensions closest to the city involving the loss of some existing green belt.

The local authority said the report, commissioned from planning consultancy Turley, provided 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 the University City.

The report concluded 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 were the most readily deliverable options for addressing the need.

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.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning, said: “Successive planning inspectors have concluded that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ that justify reviewing the green belt boundaries.

“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.”

View the press release

Roger Milne