THE COUNTY will work together to reassess up to 15 sites for thousands of homes in South Oxfordshire.

The councils are due to put their heads together to avoid ‘falling at the first hurdle’ of a £215m Government growth deal.

Last month South Oxfordshire District Council decided to rip up its Local Plan, scrapping months of work, and reassess housing sites across the district.

And yesterday Oxfordshire Growth Board said the county’s local authorities had to support SODC.

The re-evaluation will look again at proposed sites at Culham, Wheatley, Berinsfield and Chalgrove Airfield as the council needs to build 20,000 homes by 2033.

But the review will also see previously rejected sites such as Wick Farm, Thornhill, Grenoble Road, Lower Elsfield and Harrington – a proposed new town off the M40 – brought back to the table.


The sites that will be reconsidered by South Oxfordshire District Council are:

Sites proposed in draft Local Plan:

  • Culham
  • Berinsfield
  • Chalgrove
  • Wheatley

Sites that were assessed and rejected in previous Local Plan work:

  • Harrington Land
  • Great Western Park
  • Northfields
  • Grenoble Road
  • Lower Elsfield
  • Wick Farm
  • Thornhill

New sites to be presented since the development of Draft Local Plan are:

  • Land off Thame Road, North Weston
  • Playhatch
  • Reading Golf Club
  • Emmer Green, Reading

Concerns had been raised that beginning the process again would scupper the £215m Oxfordshire Growth Deal, which made local authorities commit to building 100,000 homes by 2031.

But Oxfordshire Growth Board has now been reassured that the plan can still be finalised by the April 2019 deadline to keep up the county’s end of the deal.

West Oxfordshire District Council leader James Mills proposed that the Growth Board support the recommendations and said: “It’s in all our interests to help South have a successful Local Plan, not just for the residents but we want the Government to see we are working together.”

Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “It really is important that we work together on this – it’s a critical part of the growth deal agenda.

“If we can’t work together at the first hurdle we face, it shows a very poor performance.”

Giles Hughes, WODC’s head of planning, provided the board with an update and said: “As part of the growth deal all local authorities need to make sure they have submitted their Local Plan by April 1, 2019.

“That is an issue for South Oxfordshire and also for Oxford City.

“But South has indicated it will complete the reassessment by the end of July, and it does then look achievable to make that deadline.

“They are also putting in place fall-back positions to make sure that is the case.”

However the ‘fall-back position’ agreed by SODC would see the controversial Chalgrove Airfield kept in the Local Plan if the reassessment process looks to be dragging on beyond the April 2019 date.

The 3,000-home airfield plan has already cost taxpayers £1.8m in consultancy fees spent by Government agency Homes England.

More than 1,000 residents from Chalgrove are opposed to the development and Martin-Baker, the ejector seat manufacturer currently based there, is against any move from the land it has a lease on until 2063.

Mr Hughes said SODC should focus on sites which support people working or using services in Oxford City.

He added that sites which can be brought forward within the timescale should be examined ‘closely’.