A COUNTRYSIDE campaign group has welcomed West Oxfordshire District Council’s draft Local Plan but says the council should further reduce the proposed number of new homes.

The Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said it believed the council was right to reduce the number of new homes indicated by the latest Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) for Oxfordshire.

The SHMA said 11,880 homes needed to be built in the district by 2029, but the draft Local Plan says this that figure should be 9,450 homes.

The director of CPRE Oxfordshire, Helen Marshall, urged other districts to follow West Oxfordshire’s lead but said that the council’s lower figure was still too high.

She said: “While we welcome this lower housing figure, it is still a significant increase on the figure previously set out in draft proposals of 306 homes a year.

“The new figure relies on high in-migration and is above national rates. This could result in unnecessary loss of the countryside and erosion of the rural character of the district.

“The CPRE believes the SHMA is unsound and unsustainable and should not be used as a benchmark in setting the district’s housing policy.

“We therefore urge the district council to further reduce the housing target, especially in view of the district's past over-delivery of housing.”

Public consultation on the draft plan is taking place until Friday, September 19. Comments will be taken into consideration and a final version of the plan will be published and submitted to an independent Government planning inspector for examination in spring next year.

  • Three public exhibitions to outline proposed housing allocations in the draft Local Plan will be held at the start of next month. The events, which will run from 2pm to 7pm, will be held at
  • Chipping Norton Town Hall (lower hall) on Monday, September 1
  • Carterton Town Hall, in Alvescot Road, on Thursday, September 4
  • Witney High Street Methodist Church (Wesley Room), Friday, September 5.