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Salt Cross Garden Village

A key element of the West Oxfordshire Local Plan 2031 is the establishment of a new garden village to the north of the A40 near Eynsham.

The Salt Cross garden village will make a major contribution towards homes and jobs in a high quality living environment. It will unlock funds to improve infrastructure and boost the case for improvements to local transport links, including upgrades to the A40.

It will be a new standalone settlement, self-contained with its own village facilities, such as schools, community resources and employment opportunities. Taking proper account of environmental considerations and planned infrastructure improvements.

The initial garden village proposals set out in the Local Plan include 2,200 new homes and a new science business park which will give local people an alternative to driving to work in Oxford. Nearby Hanborough railway station together with a new Park and Ride facility to the north of Eynsham will give people an alternative to using their cars.

The delivery of Salt Cross will be guided by a new Area Action Plan (AAP).

The AAP was initially submitted for examination in 2021 and the Inspector’s report was published in March 2023. However, a subsequent legal challenge means the District Council has been unable to adopt the AAP and the examination has now been reopened on a focused basis to consider Policy 2 relating to net-zero carbon development.

Details of the re-opened examination are set out below along with information on previous stages.

AAP re-opened examination – 2024

As a result of the legal challenge to the Inspector’s report of March 2023, the Area Action Plan examination has been re-opened to consider Policy 2 – Net Zero Carbon Development and any other consequential revisions to the AAP. No other matters or policies will be examined.

Inspector Helen Hockenhull BA (Hons) B.PI MRTPI has been appointed by the Secretary of State to carry out the independent re-examination of Policy 2 of the Salt Cross Area Action Plan.

The Inspector wrote to the Council on 22 April 2024 to confirm the scope of the re-opened examination and a copy of her letter is available below.

The Council responded to the Inspector on 8 May 2024 and a copy of the Council’s letter is available below.

Programme Officer

Louise St John Howe has been appointed as the Programme Office. She is an independent officer of the examination and works on the Inspector’s behalf, organising and managing the administrative and procedural matters of the examination process.The Programme Officer is the point of contact for any queries concerning the examination and any matters that anyone wishes to raise with the Inspector should  be submitted through the Programme Officer.

Contact details:

Louise St John Howe, Programme Officer, PO Services, PO Box 10965, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 3BF

Telephone:      07789-486419

Email:[email protected]

To ensure all relevant documents are available in one place, we have created a new web page specifically for the re-opened examination which can be accessed via the link below.

This includes a new examination library where all relevant documents will be made available as the examination progresses.  

AAP re-opened examination - 2024


Salt Cross Garden Village Area Action Plan - Inspector’s Report and Subsequent Legal Challenge

On 1 March 2023, the Council received the final report of the Planning Inspectorate into the examination of the Salt Cross Garden Village Area Action Plan (AAP).

A copy of the Inspector’s report is available to download below.

After the Inspector’s report was received, a legal challenge was submitted by a third party organisation called Rights Community Action. The challenge focused on the conclusions reached by the Inspector in relation to the soundness of AAP Policy 2 – Net Zero Carbon Development.  

The case was heard in the High Court in November 2023 and the written judgement was handed down on 20 February 2024. A subsequent agreed draft order dated 4 March 2024 confirmed that the Inspector’s report and proposed Main Modifications are quashed insofar as they relate to Policy 2.

The written judgement and agreed draft order are available to download below.

The District Council wrote to the Planning Inspectorate on 2 April 2024 in light of the legal challenge to the AAP Inspectors’ report. A copy of the letter is available to download below:

How we got to this point

We have been working on a new Area Action Plan (AAP) to guide the future delivery of Salt Cross. The AAP establishes a vision for Salt Cross and once adopted, will be used alongside the Local Plan and Eynsham Neighbourhood Plan to determine future development proposals.

The final pre-submission draft version of the AAP was published for an eight week period of public consultation from 28 August to 23 October 2020. Salt Cross Pre-Submission Draft AAP (August 2020)

The AAP was submitted for independent examination in February 2021. A copy of the covering letter sent to the Planning Inspectorate is available to download.

As part of the examination process, the District Council consulted on a series of proposed Main Modifications (MMs) to the AAP. The consultation ran for 6-weeks from Friday 23 September to Friday 4 November 2022.

The responses received were provided to the Planning Inspectors who took them into account in producing their final examination report.

Further information on the AAP examination process that took place from 2021 to 2023 is available on the Area Action Plan Examination webpage.

Background to the garden village

We submitted an expression of interest to the Government in 2016. 

In January 2017, the Government announced that it would contribute funding towards the new Oxfordshire Cotswolds Garden Village alongside 13 other garden villages and three garden towns.

Government backing for the Garden Village allows detailed planning to begin and the opportunity to access infrastructure funding programmes across government, such as the new £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund announced through last year’s Autumn Statement.

Outline planning application

Grosvenor Developments Ltd. working on behalf of the land owners at the garden village site submitted an outline planning application in July 2020. The application proposals are on Public Access with the reference number 20/01734/OUT.