Cherwell Local Plan


The Local Plan is suspended. Housing targets go through the roof!

This is probably the most important current issue for citizens of Banbury right now.. Back in November 2013, Cherwell District Council’s (CDC) submitted the Local Plan for Examination in Public in June 2014. The EIP Inquiry was suspended in its second day, as the Local Plan was not in conformity with the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), published in April.

The council has thus had to go back to the drawing board to accommodate a significant numbers of new homes which the SHMA says the District must accommodate in order to allow for Oxford City’s expanding population and economic growth in ‘Science Vale’ (Culham, Harwell etc). The Inspector in charge of the Examination instructed CDC to aim for a target of 22,800 new homes across the district by 2031 – an additional 6050 homes over those already allocated in the Local Plan. The Local Plan has now been modified, to incorporate the SHMA targets and is currently undergoing public consultation until Friday 3rd October.

The modified Local Plan proposes the same overall strategy as previously, with all development targeted at brownfield sites and sites in Banbury and Bicester, with almost no development at all in the countryside and villages. Including sites already consented and ‘windfalls’, no less than 7,319 new homes are proposed for Banbury and 1700 additional homes at the former RAF Upper Heyford.

The major new development sites which had already been earmarked in Banbury have been revised to take additional homes. Four completely new sites are also proposed as a result of the SHMA:

Major development sites proposed in the Local Plan




Bankside Phase Two



North Hanwell Fields



Bolton Road



Salt Way West


New proposal

Salt Way East


New proposal

Drayton Lodge Farm


New proposal

Higham Way


New proposal




Of the new target of 22,800, some 1,100 homes have already been built, and permission already granted for a further 6,500. The new target is over a shorter time period than in the original plan (2011 – 2031). The Executive of the Banbury Civic Society is shocked by the latest turn of events, which will require Banbury to grow by more than 33% in fifteen years, with no additional infrastructure. Further, we are far from convinced that the private sector has the appetite to deliver a new ‘Bankside’ in Banbury every year for the next 15 years. If the house-builders fail to deliver at the proscribed rate, the entire District will be plunged back to ‘planning by appeal’, with obvious ramifications for the Bloxhams, Adderburys and Hook Nortons.

Whilst it would to be futile to object to the housing targets emanating from the SHMA, we are dismayed that Cherwell’s response to providing more housing for Oxford City overspill and for ‘Science Vale’ is to continue to pile up housing in those areas where house prices would indicate that demand is weakest: Banbury and Bicester (and now RAF Upper Heyford), rather than in the south of the District, where demand is strongest. The failure to respond to the SHMA with any substantial site allocations in the south of the District, in or near Kidlington, is frankly astonishing, given that Kidlington has historically been one of the District’s three ‘sustainable centres for growth’.

Clearly Banbury will need to consider the infrastructure required for the growth that it is being required to accommodate. The Civic Society is thus preparing a document to revive the ‘south-to-east link road’ proposal, for submission to OCC and CDC prior to the 3rd October deadline. Ian Hudspeth, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, has also agreed to visit Banbury to look at potential routes for the link road. The view of the BCS Executive Committee is that this proposal is not only a realistic and viable proposal in the medium term, but that it is absolutely essential if the town really has to grow by over a third in the next fifteen years.

If you would like to make any comments on the modified Local Plan, please contact us urgently Tel: 07818 091862, E-mail – and do of course submit your views directly to CDC, if possible using the Local Plan Representation Form (see and Alternatively, comments may be emailed to

Original Comments:

Cherwell District Council has been consulting on Changes to the Cherwell Local Plan Proposed Submission, amended Proposals Maps and an updated Sustainability Appraisal.
The documents were published for consultation for 8 weeks from Thursday 28th March 2013 to Thursday 23rd May 2013 prior to submission to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
The Society's Built Environment group's response can be viewed here. Should our members have additional comments, please contact the acting chairman (send to / 07818 091862).

The Local Plan will, upon adoption, set the broad planning framework for meeting the future needs of Cherwell, and replace the Cherwell Local Plan 1996. The Plan will: develop a sustainable local economy ensure sustainable development build sustainable communities The Changes to the Cherwell Local Plan Proposed Submission and supporting documents are available here