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New homes for South Oxfordshire in danger

It would mean the £214 million from the government is lost.

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul with contributions by Local Democracy Reporter David Lynch at 7:50am 19th January 2020. (Updated at 7:34am 20th January 2020) 3-minute read.

New homes for South Oxfordshire in danger

A council has called for face-to-face meetings to resolve a dispute about plans for 100,000 homes with the UK government.

South Oxfordshire District Council is currently being prevented from discussing its Local Plan 2034 by housing minister Robert Jenrick, because of fears the plan could be scrapped, leading to £215m government funding for housing across Oxfordshire’s six councils being lost.

Last week, Mr Jenrick wrote to SODC to say he was considering the next steps for the Local Plan, which could include handing control of where new homes could be built in the district over to Oxfordshire County Council.

In his letter, he gave SODC the deadline of January 31 to provide evidence which could influence his decision on what will happen to the local plan in the future.

The council’s chief executive Mark Stone wrote to the ministry of housing, communities and local government on Friday last week, asking for face to face meetings between the housing minister, and SODC leader Sue Cooper.

In his letter, Mr Stone said:

“The council remains committed to delivering a sound local plan and considers it of the utmost importance to uphold the vital principals of local democracy.

“It may be beneficial for the Secretary of State to meet personally with Councillor Sue Cooper to discuss these matters in an informal setting.”

SODC’s plan was due for discussion in October, when it appeared it would be scrapped due to controversial proposals to build on green belt land.

Before the council meeting about the local plan took place, Mr Jenrick issued a ‘temporary direction’, an order which prevented the council from discussing the plan.

Every council in the UK must produce a local plan to show which land is set aside for new houses or other kinds of buildings.

Local plans usually cover a 15 year period of time.

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