Agenda item

Agenda item

West End and Osney Mead SPD

The Cabinet will, at its meeting on 16 November 2022, consider a report on the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund: Wave 2.1.  Cllr Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery, and Tom Morris, Senior Planner, have been invited to present the report and to answer questions.

The Committee is asked to consider the report and to agree any recommendations it wishes to make to Cabinet.


With the agreement of the Committee, Agenda Item 8 was taken prior to the following items in the agenda.

Cllr Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery introduced the report which asked Cabinet to consider the public comments made to the Draft West End Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and the proposed changes in response, and then to adopt the revised SPD and supporting documents.  He drew the Committee’s attention to the report which highlighted that the SPD would be a material consideration in the determination of any planning application made on sites in the West End, as per the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (paragraph 8(3)) which states that ‘Any policies contained in a supplementary planning document must not conflict with the adopted development plan’.  The purpose and status of the SPD would be to provide further detail and advice on the implementation of existing adopted policies.

Tom Morris, Principal Planner, provided further information on the purpose and status of the SPD and highlighted the particular policies of importance in the West End, and drew attention to the fourth recommendation which sought Cabinet approval for the revocation of the Oxpens Masterplan SPD and Oxford Station SPD which would take place following the adoption of this SPD.

During discussions, the Committee noted the following:

·       Planning policies are contained within the Local Plan, the purpose of the SPD would be to show in greater detail how these would be applied in the local area.

·       The individual strategies within the SPD and the spatial framework form the key principles and any submitted application would be required to show how their proposals address these specific strategies.

·       The strategies are underpinned by three golden threads of sustainability (including reducing and adapting to climate change), social value and the economy.  It includes building an inclusive economy on the route to zero carbon, and would need to be addressed as a key principle of those strategies as part of any planning application.

·       Whilst planning decisions are often subject to different views, subjective decision making should be allowed for reasonable decisions be taken during the application process.

·       The formal period of six weeks for public consultation was extended to seven weeks to ensure adequate time for responses, of which a positive number were received.  However each individual response was considered and given the same weight.

·       Housing numbers are set out in the adopted Local Plan and were based on the capacity of site and potential for delivery and tested at the Local Plan hearings, the SPD would not change those policies.

·       Bus only routes have not been identified for requirement by Oxfordshire County Council, however there are opportunities for routes to be extended to Osney Mead, with layover opportunities within the site.

·       Car sharing could be incorporated within a travel minimisation plan as part of Oxfordshire County Council’s Active Travel Plan.

·       Biodiversity was maintained and enhanced through the adopted Local Plan, and any proposals would need to demonstrate those proposals.

·       A list of indicative infrastructure projects was contained within the spatial framework, which provided a realistic impression of those schemes, supported by an infrastructure delivery plan which provides greater up to date certainty for costing and resources.

·       Details regarding the OxWED site planning application would be picked up as part of the planning application and would not form part of this document.

·       Whilst these developments are in proximity to Osney Mead, the development sites would not be accessible from Osney Mead.

·       Any new Local Plan would make reference to this SPD to ensure it would remained a material consideration.

The Committee resolved to make the following recommendations to Cabinet:

1.    That the Council gives consideration to making clearer the relationship between this SPD, the development of future Local Plans, and future iterations of the Local Plan within the document.

2.    That the Council considers whether a second phase of engagement and consultation would be of benefit and how such a phase might connect with tenants in the community.

3.    That the Council reports on progress in discussions with the Environment Agency on the ‘blue network’ and on the opening up of the Environment Agency depot and, also, to setting out the agency’s formal responses, if any, thus far.

4.    That the Council clarifies within the document that activation of the riverside edge need not mean the site is no longer predominantly green.

5.    That the Council includes reference to car clubs and shared cars under the Movement Strategy within the SPD.

6.    That the Council gives consideration to referencing the importance for improved connectivity of the path along the River Thames that leads north to Gibbs Crescent and to Mill Street.

7.    That the Council provides a progress update on the feasibility of opening up Osney Abbey and Osney Mill Cottage.

Supporting documents: