Local Plan 2031 Examination

Submission of proposed modifications - West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2031

In July 2015 Planning Inspector Mr Simon Emerson BSc DTp MRTPI conducted the Stage 1 Examination into the soundness of the plan, however during the suspension of the Examination Mr Emerson retired as a Planning Inspector.

Mr Malcolm Rivett BA (Hons) MSc MRTPI has been appointed to conduct the remainder of the Examination.

The 'Main Modifications' to the Local Plan were submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 10 March 2017 in accordance with the planning regulations. Stage 2 and 3 of the examination hearing sessions were held in May and July 2017.

*Consultation on additional technical evidence*

During the examination hearing sessions held in July 2017, the Council agreed to prepare additional evidence in support of the Local Plan. That additional evidence has now been completed and is available to download via the links below.

The Inspector is willing to accept comments on these documents.

Comments should be as succinct as possible and should be an absolute maximum of 3000 words in respect of each document, although the Inspector envisages that most comments will not need to be as long as this.

Three paper copies and an electronic copy of your comments should be sent to arrive no later than 12:00 noon on Wednesday 20 December 2017.

Paper copies should be sent to:The Programme Officer

C/O Planning Policy Team
West Oxfordshire District Council
Elmfield
New Yatt Road
Witney
OX28 1PB

Electronic copies should be sent to:

 programme.officer@westoxon.gov.uk

In the light of these technical evidence documents, Council officers also prepared topic papers in respect of the AONB and Woodstock which included some possible further modifications to the plan for consideration by the Inspector. However, the Council’s cabinet has not endorsed in full the contents of the topic papers and, therefore, they have not been formally submitted to the Examination.

Consequently the Inspector is not seeking comments on these two documents. Instead, the Inspector has indicated that he would be willing to accept a formal response to the consultation from the Council in which it may wish to indicate its preferred way forward with the plan in the light of the technical evidence.

Once the Inspector has considered any comments, he envisages publishing his thoughts on the most appropriate way forward for the remainder of the Examination.

If he concludes that, subject to further main modifications, there is the likelihood of the plan being found sound, it is likely that formal consultation on the modifications would take place early in 2018.

Previous stages of the examination process and relevant documents are set out for information below.

Examination Programme - stage 3

Stage 3 of the examination hearings took place from Tuesday 11 July until Thursday 20 July 2017.

On 25 July 2017 the Inspector wrote to the Council requesting a timetable for the further work which the Council has agreed to carry out as well as a consolidated list of possible further modifications to the plan and a timetable for their preparation. The Inspector’s letter and the Council's response, including a summary of potential further modifications can be viewed via the links below.

In accordance with the suggested timetable set out in its letter of 3rd August (WOLP63) the Council submitted a schedule of suggested further modifications to the Local Plan in September 2017. This is available to download below. However, it should be noted that these suggested further modifications are essentially a ‘work in progress’. They have not been formally considered by the Inspector, they may be subject to change and as such, comments on them are not being sought/nor will be accepted at this stage.

Any modifications which the Inspector ultimately concludes may be necessary for the plan to be found sound will be made available for public consultation in due course. 

During the Stage 3 examination hearings, the Council agreed to prepare a note for the Inspector setting out how a ‘staged’ housing requirement might work in practice. This note has now been provided to the Inspector and made available as part of the examination library. It can be downloaded via the link below. 

A number of documents associated with the Stage 3 hearing sessions including the timetable and hearing statements from participants are available to view below:

The Examination proceedings were filmed for a documentary due to be screened in 2018. The film crew have confirmed that any of the Examination participants or observers that do not wish to be seen or heard in the documentary will not appear when the show is aired. This is confirmed in the correspondence below.

Examination hearings - additional papers

During the Stage 2 examination hearing sessions, the Council agreed to produce three additional papers in preparation for the Stage 3 hearing sessions in July. Further details are set out in the following document available to download:

The Council published additional papers on the site selection process for Local Plan housing allocations, the legal compliance of the sustainability appraisal and options in the absence of a 5 year housing land supply. All documents are available to download below:

The Local Plan Inspector Mr Rivett provided some additional clarification on these papers. This is available to download below and also in the examination library.

A number of responses were submitted to the note on legal compliance of the sustainability appraisal by 23 June and to the site selection paper by 30 June, as requested by the Inspector.

The Council's responses to these are available to download below:

Examination programme stage 2

Stage 2 of the Examination was undertaken from Tuesday 9 May until Thursday 18 May 2017.

The Inspector prepared an examination guidance note as well a draft hearing programme and matters and questions for Stage 2. These are available below:

Hearing statements - stage 2

A number of individuals and organisations participated in the hearing sessions for stage 2 of the examination in May. These participants submitted a series of 'further statements' in response to the Inspector's matters and questions. To view these statements, please:

Updated submission Local Plan documents

The Council have sent documents to the Secretary of State for consideration in accordance with the planning regulations. The core submission documents and the evidence base reports are available to download below and are set out in full in the Examination library. 

You can view all the documentation at various locations around the District. For details of these deposit locations, including addresses and opening hours please:

Core Submission documents

View Local Plan Examination Library

Programme Officer contact details

To help with the examination process, the Council has appointed an independent Programme Officer. Their contact details are: 

Rosemary Morton, C/O Planning Policy Team
West Oxfordshire District Council
Elmfield
New Yatt Road
Witney OX28 1PB

Tel: 01628 672181
Email: programme.officer@westoxon.gov.uk

Consultation on proposed changes to the draft Local Plan 

Consultation on the proposed changes to the draft Local Plan ended on Friday 23 December 2016. The representations received were sent to the Planning Inspectorate, along with the proposed modifications to the local plan and supporting evidence on 10 March 2017.

To view comments that have been made on the Local Plan and registered on our online database, please:

A small number of additional representations have been submitted to the Council since the consultation on proposed changes closed in December. These have been sent to the Inspector who is aware that they were submitted outside of the 6-week consultation period. The additional representations can be viewed below.

To view a summary of the proposed Local Plan changes, please:


The West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2031 was initially submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 14 July 2015 for independent examination.

A copy of the letter sent to stakeholders confirming submission is available to download via the link below

As part of the examination process, a number of pre-hearing statements were submitted in September 2015. Please view:

Inspector's preliminary findings and suspension of examination

The first Local Plan hearing session dealing with strategic matters, including the duty to co-operate and housing and employment requirements, was held between Monday 23 November and Thursday 26 November 2015. The Inspector's preliminary findings were published in December 2015 and are in two parts:

Based on his initial findings, the Council wrote to the Inspector asking him to suspend the Local Plan examination so the Council can prepare and consult on necessary changes to the plan, known as 'main modifications'. Please download a copy of the letter below:

In response, the Inspector agreed to suspend the Local Plan examination until December 2016. For more information, please download a copy of the Inspector's response:

The suspension was necessary to allow the Council to undertake further work and address the issue of 'unmet' housing need arising from Oxford City.  

Pre-submission Local Plan consultation

We consulted on the Local Plan 2031 for a 6 weeks from Friday 27 March until Friday 8 May 2015. To view the comments received during this consultation please visit:

Comments are arranged in plan order and the document includes respondent details and 'Comment ID' numbers.

Further information can be found on the Council's consultation database using the link below. You may search the consultation database using 'Comment ID' number, for further details on whether the plan is considered sound, legally compliant and whether the Council has complied with the 'Duty to co-operate'.

West Oxfordshire Draft Local Plan

Preparation of the new Local Plan started in 2007. Since then a number of stages have been completed and a lot of research and consultation has been done. For more information please: 

West Oxfordshire District Council
Elmfield
New Yatt Road
Witney
OX28 1PB